Civilians (and Children) in Guerrilla War

By Brian Wojtalewicz.
Originally published in The Appleton Press on December 16, 2003.

It seems like just a few summers ago that I was throwing baseballs as a little league coach in Holloway. It’s easy to remember a big, good-natured kid named Jake Enke. He is now an Army infantryman, and I am so happy to learn that he is back safe from the war in Iraq. Being a parent, I can only imagine the daily stress that his parents, Dan and Cindy, and other parents and families of our military live with. 

I can’t imagine the depth of fear for a soldier in a guerilla war, knowing at any minute that a planted bomb or someone with a rifle may maim you or end your life. Then there is the horror of killing another human being. In a guerilla war, the chances of civilians dying are so much higher.

Six Afghani children were crushed to death when a wall in their village collapsed on them during an attack by American Special Forces.  In a field near another dirt-poor village, nine more Iraqi children were slaughtered with bombs by American A-10 jets. Both times our military were pursuing suspected terrorists.  Must it be done this way?  Imagine if six or nine of the kids in our little village were killed by the bombs of a rich foreign country?  Pick out any children in this village you personally know.  Do you think the parents, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, and others from that area might be thinking revenge? Will those people in Afghanistan be good terrorist recruiting ground? Even if our only concern was American lives and interests, shouldn’t we be extremely concerned and demand better conduct on policy? It’s those kids in Afghanistan that keep rolling back in my mind. I don’t have to have thrown baseballs to them to know that they never deserved this. What would they think of us, as we so spectacularly celebrate the birth of the man who taught us to “do onto others as you would have done onto you?”


3 thoughts on “Civilians (and Children) in Guerrilla War

  1. Thanks Brian for posting your newspaper column. In my Swift Co. country school, in the late 50’s up through the year JFK was sworn in as President, one of two friends- Thomas Gunderson was just such a friend- one year & wiser than me. One summer he & I plus one other classmate built a small log cabin along the Chippewa River, near Hagen. 14 months later- most of it was dismantled by beavers for a nearby dam…those animal carpenters! A few years later he was killed in Vietnam- at 21 yrs. His gravestone, at Big Bend Church is a special spot. Thanks- Larry


    1. Thanks Larry. I remember my classmate Phyllis Gunderson crying in school. The depth of loss at the hands of arrogant warmongers is staggering, incomprehensible, yet millions of decent folk will “go tribal” and be so easily led with fear and lies into more needless war! Brian


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