John Kerry famously asked, as a Vietnam vet leader while that war was still going, "Who will be the last U.S. soldier to die for that mistake?" In regards to the Iraq war, which began more than eleven Veterans Days ago, we knew the answer back in December 2011, but we've already forgotten.
So here he is.
David Hickman was a 23-year-old African-American from North Carolina.
"The pain is fresh for people who knew Hickman. But the years have not eased the anguish of those who lost loved ones in the war's earliest days, when funerals were broadcast live on local television, before the country became numb to the casualty count."
And there's this: "According to an Associated Press analysis of casualty data, the average age of Americans who died in Iraq was 26. Nearly 1,300 were 22 or younger, but middle-aged people fought and died as well: some 511 were older than 35."
Of course, in a real sense, Hickman was not "the last," for the deaths--beyond the nearly 4500 military personnel from the U.S. killed in Iraq (along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis)--go on, from lingering injuries, brain trauma, and the many suicides, which I've chronicled for more than decade.
And now, we are back in Iraq--yes, with "boots on the ground," despite President Obama's denials, with more "boots" added this week. Jon Stewart had a great slam on that just last night.
Expect, sadly, that Hickman will lose his place in history, sooner or later.
Greg Mitchell's book "So Wrong For So Long," on media misconduct and the Iraq war, was published this week in an updated edition and for the first time as an e-book, with preface by Bruce Springsteen.