Two soldiers who wrote NYT op-ed killed in Iraq

Since their op-ed criticizing the administration’s strategy in Iraq began with the words, “Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment,” one has to assume that nearly a month later the seven soldiers who authored the piece were achingly close to returning home.

Two of them won’t be coming back alive. Yance Gray and Omar Mora, both of the 82nd Airborne Division, were killed on Monday. Gray leaves behind a wife and infant daughter. Mora is survived by a wife and five year old daughter. They demonstrated personal bravery in their service and integrity by speaking publicly about their views. They will, as will all those killed in this misbegotten war, be missed.

I want to rage against the injustice of it, the senselessness, the horror; but sometimes, as with yesterday’s anniversary, I just want to note with sadness the loss.

The words of Gray and Mora, published just last month, speak for themselves:

To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day …

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere … In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act …

As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

There are no words.

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