Premature memorial

As you drive south along Freeport Boulevard, passing Land Park, you’ll see to your right an imposing 15-foot-tall monument to the men from Sacramento County who died in World War I. On top sits an impressive sculpture of an eagle, and below are the 100-plus names of the men “who gave their last full measure of devotion.”

If you look very closely, off to the side, you’ll see a 1-foot-high plaque surrounded by cement. It is dedicated to the Californians (unnamed) who gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This commemoration is both premature and telling.

As time goes on, it seems to me that the war was both unnecessary and now unsuccessful. This will not be remembered as a high point in our country’s history.

The Army’s leading general said recently that the insurgency in Iraq is as strong now as it was a year ago. A series of attacks during this past week killed dozens of Iraqis and a number of American soldiers. Eleven car bombs exploded in Baghdad in one day. President Bush said last week that the Iraqis don’t want to go back to a time of “mass graves.” Just a lot of single ones, I guess.

Bush believes that bringing a country like Iraq to democracy will bring peace in the region and so war and the resulting deaths are necessary evils.

A Sacramento political consultant also believes that democracy will win out, and he has a perspective on the issue that few do. (See “War-zone pollster.”) Steven Moore spent months inside Iraq polling the people to find out how strongly they wanted democracy and what they wanted from their new leaders.

Many people, who are not supporters of the war or of Bush, believe that it is actually being fought to provide cheap oil for our dependent economy. We were surprised to find Congressman Dan Lungren among that group (see “No oil for war”).

The really sad part of this will come when someone erects a monument to the war dead and includes the names who gave their full measure for … ?