When will it end

Every day we hear about more deaths in Iraq. It's entirely to easy to ignore the news. Indeed, for the most part, I've simply stopped following the story.

But it was hard to ignore the news about the two young soldiers who were tortured and murdered. Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker stand as a horrific -- and tragic -- reminder of the real "story" out of Iraq (and Afghanistan): Which is that the longer we stick around and "fight terrorism," the more terrorists there will be to fight. Our presence there is the fuel that feeds the rage that leads young Iraqis (and Palestinians and Saudis and Egyptians) to join the "insurgents" and so add still more fuel to fires that will likely burn for decades. Fuels the rage that leads otherwise sane people to torture, mutilate, and murder other human beings.

If we'd gone into Iraq (or Afghanistan) and built power plants and schools and water purification plants, things surely would have turned out differently, less tragically. But we didn't do that and now there are far more terrorist "insurgents" than there were on September 11, 2001.

I don't see how this can ever end. And why do I find myself thinking often -- and with regret -- of life in these United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s?

And no, none of this is meant to detract from or politicize the deaths of Pfc. Menchaca and Pfc. Tucker. I cannot begin to imagine how their families must feel right now. Not only have they lost a precious family member, but they must live with the knowledge that Menchaca and Tucker were so brutalized in the last moments of their lives that their remains could not immediately be identified. I grieve for them, and for all the families -- American, Iraqi, or otherwise -- who have endured the tragedies that this hatred and rage have spawned.