You can focus on the awfulness of having dead soldiers and their families used as pawns in political fights, which is happening now in our national political scene, where nothing is sacred and everything and everyone who has contact with the current administration ends up tainted and stained.

But the problem with treating deaths of soldiers in combat as sacrosanct is that silence is the default mode of respect. People don't talk about the losses, or they get talked about only with calming cliches. People don't talk about the agony the families of the killed soldiers endure.

Yesterday, my wife and I were watching CNN when they interviewed a husband and wife who lost their son in combat earlier this year. They talked about their son, and they talked about the depth of their pain. It seemed to go on and on and finally, my wife demanded I change the channel. We were both in tears. 

We should have to sit through such interviews more often, all of us. I have interviewed local families who have lost children in one or another of what seems like the endless wars we have been fighting. Their pain is overwhelming.

It's good for us who are not fighting ourselves or sending our children to fight to see what a terrible cost there is to these wars. That cost is usually expressed only in subdued, respectful ways and not in the raw, wrenching agony that the families feel. We should all have to feel that agony, at least a little, before we support policies that cause it.

Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at

@trafficstatic.

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