Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Black Border for Major Olmsted

Major Andrew Olmsted, who posted a blog since May 2007, was killed in Iraq on Thursday, Jan. 3. Major Olmsted, who had been based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, began blogging after his unit was sent to Iraq with the mission of helping to train the Iraqi Army. No official details have been released on his death, but reports say that he and a second member of his unit were killed during an enemy ambush in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. Olmsted was determined to make a difference in Iraq. "The sooner the Iraqi government doesn't need U.S. support to provide security for its people, the sooner we will probably be asked to leave."
Obsidian Wings: Andy Olmsted: "Andrew Olmsted, who also posted here as G'Kar, was killed yesterday in Iraq."

Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I'm glad Andy -- generous as always -- wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all. Beyond: Andy, I will miss you.

My thoughts are with his wife, his parents, and his brother and sister.

What follows is Andy's post: a bit here; the rest below the fold. [UPDATE: I'm adding links to Andy's last post at his Rocky Mountain News blogs, from about a week ago, where friends and family are expressing support in comments; to an article from yesterday that I believe is about his death; and to a post he wrote on his reasons for going to Iraq last June.]

There are so many blogs so many things worth reading and so many people who write them that it's impossible to know everyone, and it is therefore inevitable that sooner or later, someone you wish you had known dies before you have the chance to know them in even a virtual sense.

Whatever my feelings about the Commander In Chief or the wars he has chosen, this is not the time for that, and I choose to honor Maj. Olmstead's wishes that his death NOT be politicized.

I shall do only this - to take the time to read the words of a man who has damn well earned our attention the hard way.

And second: I ask that whatever status and situation in life, whatever view you have about wars and soldiers, that you honor his choices and do him the courage of "Piping him Out" as he would have wished. I have no Coke on hand, so my toast will be in good Kentucky whiskey. I have plenty of eighties music, though - and so first I shall spin up Leonard Cohen's "Closing Time," and then re-read a bit of Kipling, who should be read more often, and not always at times such as this.

[My comment at Obsidian Wings is perhaps the post I should have made here, but let it stand.]

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