Dear Mr. Sekzer--Some highlights from the film:
I'm so sorry for the loss of your son. I can't imagine what that's like. I've lost family members but never to a violent attack, and never my own children. Parents aren't supposed to outlive their kids. I remember having the same response as you when I saw the news coverage--wondering why they kept showing the buildings falling down over and over again and wishing that they'd just stop out of respect for the dead, the dying, and for thier families and loved ones.
I think I can understand your desire to have some sort of revenge--in part because I don't think it was purely a desire for revenge. It was a desire to make some sort of a tribute to him and to his loss. At the time you asked for his name to be placed on a weapon you thought it was a meaningful tribute, that it was a way for him to strike back at his attackers.
When the Iraq war first started I took the administration at face value too. I knew there wasn't a connection with Al-Queda they hate each other. But I beleived them when they said Saddam Hussein was a threat to us, and that he had weapons of mass destruction. I believed (and still believe) he was a tyrrant to his own people, and beleived Cheaney when he said the Iraqi people would welcome us with open arms.
You didn't make a bad call. Like you say in the movie, you acted on what you were told. I think the thing that chills me to the core is part of the email chain you read during the movie. It came from someone at a Marine Air Division in response to your request and read "Can Do, Semper Fi." My brother has been in the Corps for 20 years now, and served in Desert Storm and the Iraq War (several times). He is always faithful, the marine from your email is always faithful and so are all the men and women in our armed forces (even if they don't use the same motto). They have to be. Our democracy has to stop at the recruiting station or else the military will never be able to act. They have to follow orders that from their perspective appear to be legal or else the whole thing will collapse. If those stealth bomber pilots who dropped the opening salvo questioned every target, or even a single target then they wouldn't be able to function. The problem can come with who they have to be faithful to.
Your choice doesn't tarnish the name of your son, or reflect badly on you. I respect that you're a man of action--that when the news coverage was so devastating to you, that you called up the network and asked them to stop showing the buildings collapsing. I respect that you wanted to memorialize your son. Our military men and women aren't tarnished either. They made commitments and they're honoring those commitments. What is tarnished is our president and his administration.
Thank you for talking so openly about something so hard, for sharing your loss with us, and for your justifiable outrage.
- A 2,000 pound smart bomb with "In loving memory of Jason Sekzer" written on it was dropped on April 1, just a couple of weeks into the War.
- Of the 50 smart bombs dropped in the opening weeks of the war, all in an effort to hit leadership targets--none of them achieved their goals.
- Civilian causualities during the opening weeks were about 90%. The smart bombs are not so smart.