Andrew Olmsted died yesterday in Iraq. He blogged here for a time, wrote for the Rocky Mountain News, and served his country admirably. I can’t say I agreed with his views all of the time, or even 50% of the time but I respected him as being genuine. Not reading from a cue card or list of talking points but rather as someone who took his life experience and self education and turned it into some great writing.
He gave his death letter (or blog post) to hilzoy at Obsidian Wings to publish:
Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able
to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper
and put them where people can read and respond to them has been
marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven’t agreed
with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy,
it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their
political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them. While the
blogosphere has its share of partisans, there are some awfully smart
people making excellent arguments out there as well, and I know I have
learned quite a bit since I began blogging.~~~
I do ask (not that I’m in a position to enforce this) that no one try
to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and
did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn’t a chit to be
used to bludgeon people to silence on either side. If you think the U.S. should stay in Iraq, don’t drag me into it by claiming that somehow my death demands us staying in Iraq. If you think the U.S. ought
to get out tomorrow, don’t cite my name as an example of someone’s life
who was wasted by our mission in Iraq. I have my own opinions about
what we should do about Iraq, but since I’m not around to expound on
them I’d prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital
to support a position I probably didn’t support.~~~
I wish I could say I’d at least started to get it right. Although, in
my defense, I think I batted a solid .250 or so. Not a superstar, but
at least able to play in the big leagues. I’m afraid I can’t really
offer any deep secrets or wisdom. I lived my life better than some,
worse than others, and I like to think that the world was a little
better off for my having been here. Not very much, but then, few of us
are destined to make more than a tiny dent in history’s Green Monster.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit I would have liked to have done
more, but it’s a bit too late for that now, eh? The bottom line, for
me, is that I think I can look back at my life and at least see a few
areas where I may have made a tiny difference, and massive ego aside,
that’s probably not too bad.
The man is a hero and will be missed.
Yes, he IS a hero and I will miss him.
A good man & a great writer, from what I can tell… (I wish I’d read more of his work before now, of course…) Thanks for posting it.