Other Writing

Back in April 2007, prior to mak­ing the deci­sion to run for Con­gress, I wrote this let­ter to Rep. Sue Myrick ®, NC-09. Her con­tin­ued deci­sion to sup­port never-ending war in Iraq, and refusal to take respon­si­bil­ity for the Marissa Strock’s of our nation helped me decide to chal­lenge Rep. Myrick for her con­gres­sional seat in 2008.

The Char­lotte Observer (NC)
Sec­tion: MAIN; Edi­tion: ONE-THREE; Page: 10A
Col­umn: For The Record
Harry Tay­lor
From Char­lotte activist Harry Tay­lor, who last year chal­lenged Pres­i­dent Bush on the war in Iraq dur­ing his visit to Char­lotte, in a let­ter to U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C.:

I am enclos­ing the cover of the March 5th Newsweek. The 21-year-old sol­dier is Marissa Strock. A quick look will reveal that she is miss­ing both legs from just below the knees. They were ampu­tated after she sus­tained mul­ti­ple injuries when the Humvee in which she was rid­ing rolled over an explo­sive device in Iraq. For awhile, Marissa may be hon­ored as a wounded sol­dier, but the applause will fade as the real­ity of her life takes shape — a life of per­pet­ual dis­com­fort, chal­lenge and awk­ward­ness. Can you imag­ine what it takes for her to man­age the sim­ple tasks of daily liv­ing? How does she move about in the shower? Did you know that the loss of so much body sur­face has impaired her body’s ther­mo­stat — that her built-in cool­ing sys­tem will never again func­tion prop­erly? We take so much for granted.

Marissa...500 dpiI’m send­ing this to remind you what this war is really about — what it’s doing to our young peo­ple, and for what? Pro­tec­tion of our coun­try? A bet­ter way of life for the Iraqi peo­ple? Surely by now it is clear that these dread­fully mis­cal­cu­lated objec­tives have scat­tered beyond our grasp. All we can try to save now is face, but at an intol­er­a­ble price.

Many try to mit­i­gate their hor­ror at the human cost of war by not­ing that ours is a vol­un­teer army — those who sign up know they may be asked to make the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice, and they do so will­ingly. But you and I both know that young peo­ple tend to think they’re bullet-proof and invis­i­ble; or worse, they’re ide­al­is­tic enough to imag­ine their gov­ern­ment would never send them on a mis­sion that wasn’t vitally impor­tant — and achiev­able. These kids sign on for a vari­ety of rea­sons, not the least of which is the notion that 9–11 is a threat by a real enemy they can help track down and destroy. But ide­ol­ogy isn’t a uni­formed army march­ing across a field, and it doesn’t dis­ap­pear into the craters of our destruction.

This night­mar­ish mis­ad­ven­ture must end. We can­not keep on tak­ing lives and limbs from the Marissa Strocks of our coun­try — or from inno­cent Iraqis.

You, Con­gress­woman Sue Myrick, can help stop this, and you can do it before the next 21-year old Marissa Strock loses her legs.

Under­stand, please, that I send this let­ter via the media not to embar­rass you, but because every­one needs to know about Marissa. Every­one needs to care about her. Every­one who has not stood against this mil­i­tary action has a part in her hor­ri­ble infir­mity. Please, Sue, for your­self, for your fam­ily, for all the Maris­sas, help end this tragic conflict.

* For The Record offers com­men­taries from var­i­ous sources. The views are the writer’s, and not nec­es­sar­ily those of the Observer edi­to­r­ial board.

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