Magazine article The Humanist

The Issue at Hand

Magazine article The Humanist

The Issue at Hand

Article excerpt

A PERSON'S LIFE comes to an end, and suddenly the span of that life is complete. For a time those closest to the deceased live in a warp flooded with memories and the mind's attempt to fill in gaps. More so when death comes quickly, as in the case of a fatal accident or a casualty of war, questions abound regarding decisions made, degrees of control, and the nature of causality.

As we approach the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, the issue at hand in the March/April Humanist points directly to life lost in military action and begs the questions: How do we value life? What, if anything, is worth dying for?

The United Nations recently reported that 34,452 Iraqi civilians died in 2006. Since the March 2003 invasion of that country more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed. For what?

This issue's cover story, titled "The Long Game" offers an answer to that question that's chilling to say the least. Here, Kenneth Anderson examines the evolution of an Iraqi oil law and presents mounting evidence regarding the rationale for the invasion of Iraq and the president's desire to continue sending troops to the region. Those reasons may also help to explain outrageous changes to the U.S. military's recruitment standards as detailed in Robin Morgan's piece on "The Surge: Moral Waivers and Legal Triage."

For those of us who don't believe in an afterlife, life is rich and death is the ultimate sacrifice. The life of the individual matters, and if humanism is to matter humanists must weigh in when people's lives are devalued. …

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