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A Matter Of Opinion

Mon., Sept. 24, 2007, 12:23 p.m.

Iraq: Up Close and Spokane Personal

On Wednesday, for one hour, Lt. Darel Maxfield and his wife Lesley visited editorial board members. Maxfield is on leave from Iraq. Maxfield, a social studies teacher at Ferris High School in Spokane, is a member of the Army Reserves and is training Iraqi soldiers in a base where there are only 28 other Americans.

The hour was powerful, poignant and Jamie captured it so well in her Sunday column. Treat yourself and read it all.

Here are two excerpts:

Between the pages of a newspaper, it's easy to reduce the war in Iraq to an intellectual exercise. Across the table from an American officer and his wife sharing 18 precious days of leave together, a discussion of this war expands with the human emotions of anger, sorrow and joy.

...As a journalist, my role is to pursue truth and frame commentary. But as a colonel, Maxfield must execute the plan of the president and the Pentagon. His stance must be unquestioning. My questions rarely end.

On Wednesday afternoon he patiently answered one after another. In the end, I came to understand just how difficult this war is for those who devote their lives to it. I recognized why military members deserve to hear their work described in tones of gratitude and deep respect. And I came away still convinced thoughtful people must ask important questions of the leaders who decide to wage it.

Listen to audio of Col. Maxfield explaining what people can do for the troops.

Listen to Lesley Maxfield talk about her feelings about her husband's tour in Iraq.

(Rebecca Nappi photo)

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