Friday, January 11, 2008

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato

"This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits."

To read the rest of this truly amazing, beautifully written post, the content of which was the last thing I expected to find when I followed a link there, check out Obsidian Wings.

5 comments:

Spadoman said...

That was an interesting piece of work. I didn't know the man when he wrote a blog. So, to read the thoughts he had and wanted to share when he died didn't have the same impact on those that knew him in the blogworld.

So, this guy was a soldier and stationed in Iraq. He volunteered to go back again. He states his case that he alone chose this path. I was a soldier. This guy is right. Being in service to your country as a soldier, you can't just pick and choose what orders you must obey. He is dead now from the war. Since he wrote the piece and asked that it be posted in the event of his own death, we don't know if he changed his mind at any time between when the last line was written and when he took his last breath.

To me, the bottom line is that he had his opinions and ideas. He acknowledges that everyone didn't agree with him. I also sensed the courage to not care if others believed as he did. What I don't know about him is if he tried to persuade others to believe as he did and admonish them if they didn't. This concept is a fine line.

On one hand, to tell someone your opinion is trying to give them information to think about. Is it given in an attempt to suggest they think as you do?

On the other hand, some simply attack another when they don't agree, like when I'm called names for standing out on the Peace Vigil in my hometown.

Any life lost in, or because of, war, is needless loss. No exception, even if I don't agree with their opinions.

Peace to All.

fjb said...

He was always respectful of the opinions of others and not once tried to persuade anyone to believe as he did. If you're interested, you can read his reports at Rocky Mountain News. After the military cracked down on soldiers blogging, he sent in posts to the paper's blog and was one of the group of contributors at Obsidian Wings.

Like yourself Joe, he was one of those rare people I just instinctively knew I'd like.

azgoddess said...

thanks for sharing..hugs!

hilzoy said...

Hi -- I'm the friend who put Andy Olmsted's last post up. He always respected the line between making arguments that other people might find useful and trying to force his opinions on them. He was completely committed to respectful, open dialogue, and thought it mattered in general, because people deserve respect, but especially on crucial questions like whether or not to go to war, since only by letting every argument be made and examined do we have any hope of getting it right.

He and I had completely different views on politics, and what made us friends was that we both absolutely believed that this meant that we just had that much more to learn from one another.

He was an incredibly decent person, with complete intellectual integrity, and it was an honor to be his friend.

fjb said...

hilzoy,
Thanks for visiting my blog. You were indeed honored to be this man's friend. After finding your site via link, I spent quite a bit of time reading Andy's posts and the comments. What a gem.

As you can probably tell, I'm very much a liberal and don't mind making my views known to anyone who cares to listen. I also believe in respect and human dignity, as you and Andy along with so many others do, even though our voices tend to be drowned out by the loudest and most obnoxious individuals mankind has to offer. But then we aren't all the same with similar opinions, beliefs, and mannerisms, and I certainly would never want us to be so. How boring, let alone an Orwellian nightmare!

Thank-you for sharing Andy's last post with us. One tends to go the extra mile for a true friend, no matter how difficult that mile may be, and you were obviously the one he trusted to do so.