:: stepping onto soapbox ::

Eighty-nine. Eighty-freaking-nine Wisconsin soldiers have died in Iraq. The most recent killed this week. Of course that number pales in comparison to the over 4,000 who have died across the country.

FOUR-THOUSAND. Jesus. That amount of people could populate an entire town, for crying out loud.

I've worked for a few different newspapers across the state in the last five years - FIVE YEARS OF WAR, fyi - so I've been privy to spreading the news to communities, and familiar with military funerals and memorials and weeping families.

And every time I read about another soldier's death, I discover it was just a kid. I mean no belittling by use of the word "kid," because at 26, I consider myself a kid sometimes, but to read about 21- and 22-year-old soldiers getting killed by roadside bombs makes me angry.

How the hell does someone die at 22-years-old? It's not fair. They're young. They always have fiances or husbands or wives or children. A person isn't even old enough to rent a car at 22, so what makes it OK for them to die in war?

I realize nothing does. And people die all the time, especially in war. But damn.

The irrational part of me hates this war. The irrational me thinks it's a waste of time and life, especially when our own country is flailing. The irrational me blames our president, blames 9/11, blames ignorance.

If I were rational, I might view it differently. I might see the positive changes it's making in other countries. I might see the deaths of soldiers in a courageous light, instead of considering the countless deaths unnecessary losses of precious life.

But I'm irrational. In case you were wondering.