RIP, Andrew Olmsted

Andrew Olmsted, one of the calmer and clearer heads to ever blog as well as a genuinely great guy and professional soldier, was killed while serving in Iraq. Hilzoy has a posthumous letter from him.

I think I am just going to cry.

*** Update ***

A round-up of reactions can be found here. It says a great deal about the man how diverse his online friends were…

And the RMN, wherre he blogged, posts their goodbye.

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67 replies
  1. 1
    CaseyL says:

    I went against his wishes, a bit, in my post there, saying I was angry at how his life was thrown away (though not angry at him, which I hope was obvious).

    We need more people like “G’Kar,” we can hardly afford to lose the ones we do have.

  2. 2
    jeffreyw says:

    Just read his last missive over at obsidian wings.

    Damn…just, damn.

  3. 3

    Like I said over there, I’m numb about this, and I didn’t even know him. God, I hate this damn war.

  4. 4
    TheFountainHead says:

    I don’t read Obsidian Wings regularly, and didn’t even know him as a blogger, but based on his final post, my God, what a loss.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Billy K says:

    Im so sick of this shit.

  7. 7
    lutton says:

    see the comments of his final blog post on the Rocky Mnt News site:

    http://blogs.rockymountainnews.....l#comments

  8. 8

    unbelievable

    stupid fucking war

  9. 9
    Sean says:

    Fuck.

    I don’t know what else to say. This sucks.

  10. 10
    filkertom says:

    Jayzus. Oh, this sucks so hard.

  11. 11
    Barry says:

    f*ck. I alt-tabbed to BJ to see what trivial issues were being eagerly debated, and this.

  12. 12

    God, that is horrible. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. That is horrible.

  13. 13
    myiq2xu says:

    To paraphrase something from an earlier war:

    “Who will be the last to die for a failed policy?”

    Unfortunately, the answer isn’t Andrew Olmstead. He’s just the latest addition to a list that is already way too long.

    Fuck the Neocon dream of Empire. And fuck the neocons, every last one of them.

  14. 14
    Tsulagi says:

    I haven’t read Obsidian Wings too many times. I think I may have seen one G’Kar post before. Seems I missed out.

    It was a privilege reading his last post. Every word. Godspeed Andy.

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    this war is a stupid fucking waste of everything.

  16. 16
    Tony J says:

    What a fucking waste.

    Never read anything he wrote before, but I’m saving that last post to disc and prowling the archives at ObWings for the rest of the night.

    Really, really pissed off right now.

  17. 17
    Jon H says:

    What was Red State’s Thomas just saying about the Ob Wings bloggers, in his farewell rant?

    Dammit.

  18. 18
    Z says:

    I cried. At work and all. What a loss.

  19. 19
    Andrew says:

    What was Red State’s Thomas just saying about the Ob Wings bloggers

    compare and contrast

  20. 20
    Jay C says:

    Here are some links to Andrew Olmstead’s writing: well worth a remembrance visit:

    All Alone in the Night : some of his “G’Kar” posts.

    Andrew’s Iraq blogging for the Rocky Mountain News HERE

    And his old blog (suspended when he went to Iraq) – which also now has his “farewell” post.

    Damn, this is sickening…..

  21. 21
    sparky says:

    damn.

    and what John and myiq2xu said.

    why can’t we ever remember that war is awful?

  22. 22
    dslak says:

    why can’t we ever remember that war is awful?

    Because we have short memories, are susceptible to the propaganda of war profiteers, and believe absurd things like “we’ll be greeted with candy and flowers.” This has been another addition of SATSQ.

  23. 23
    Ninerdave says:

    Wow, I’m speechless, a huge loss.

  24. 24
    Neal says:

    Reading at work. Tough to do.
    I had never read his posts over there prior to this one. I’ll be sure to make time to do so this weekend.
    It personalizes the war, humanizes the statistics.
    People need to be exposed to that.

  25. 25
    canuckistani says:

    What a fucked up world.

  26. 26
    srv says:

    the neocons, every last one of them.

    No, I don’t expect better from them. F the Dems who piled on and still won’t get us out.

    Remember, vote for Hillary or Barack if you want more of this.

  27. 27
    Jon H says:

    “Remember, vote for Hillary or Barack if you want more of this.”

    And vote for John “bad judgement” Edwards?

    No thanks, I’ll take Obama.

  28. 28
    Pooh says:

    I feel somewhat profane even writing about this, but this is really a gut punch reminding us that no matter how wonderful we may feel about the “future” and Barack Obama, this is still going on, almost 5 years later.

    And for what? In his farewell letter, Andrew notes that he does not think his life was wasted. In a way, he was certainly right, because from his perspective, I’m sure he died for something both ‘smaller’ yet infinitely more important than these neo-con dreams. But as laudable as such a sacrifice is on a personal level, it does not disrespect Andrew or his memory one bit to say that despite his personal honor, this was, in his case just like every other person, completely unnecessary.

    This shame must be born in some measure by all of us. No, I didn’t ‘do it’, but did I really do anything to stop it? Did you? Maybe if we all weren’t so damn comfortable we would have.

  29. 29
    Wilfred says:

    Tens of thousands of men, women and children have been killed, the vast majority of them Iraqis who didn’t want anything to do with this war. Olmstead had a choice, they didn’t.

    Olmstead writes:

    Because it is pretty clear that the average American would not have supported the Iraq War had they known the costs going in. I am far too cynical to believe that any future debate over war will be any less vitriolic or emotional, but perhaps a few more people will realize just what those costs can be the next time.

    The next time is Iran, and people had better learn how to turn what they feel right now into opposition to that.

  30. 30
    tBone says:

    No, I don’t expect better from them. F the Dems who piled on and still won’t get us out.

    Remember, vote for Hillary or Barack if you want more of this.

    Hey fuckhead, did you happen to miss the part where Andrew specifically asked people not to use his death as a tool for advancing political agendas?

    I’m breaking out the pie filter for your tiresome ass, something that no other troll here has warranted since Darrell left.

  31. 31
    4tehlulz says:

    Hey tBone is that pie filter a script, because I think I need it for Wilfred.

  32. 32

    We should all remember President Bush’s words regarding the loss of Americans, and remember the best way we can remember them is to go shopping.

    Even if you just buy a magazine, you are doing your part to remember the freedoms we all still enjoy.

  33. 33
    ThymeZone says:

    { silence }

    R.I.P. indeed.

  34. 34
    Fwiffo says:

    Goddamit. Fuck fuck fucking dammit. Fuck.

  35. 35

    Nothing we say on balloon-juice is going to change what happens in Iraq. Can we all please remember that and respect Andy’s wishes to refrain from using his death to score political points?

  36. 36
    AnderJ says:

    Here here!

  37. 37
    tBone says:

    Hey tBone is that pie filter a script, because I think I need it for Wilfred.

    Antitroll Greasemonkey Script

    Enjoy.

  38. 38
    Doug H. says:

    Thirded. A good man died, let’s leave it at that.

  39. 39
    cleek says:

    Hey tBone is that pie filter a script, because I think I need it for Wilfred.

    mine is.

  40. 40
    over_educated says:

    I hate this fucking war.

  41. 41
    Wilfred says:

    Well, I’ll save you the trouble and censor myself, at least it’s an act of political agency.

    I don’t do maudlin sentiment, especially after everything that’s already happened, ‘after the first death, etc.’

  42. 42

    Thanks for letting us know about this, John. Maj. Olmstead was one of the good ones. His writing, minus the Babylon Five references, made me think of the First Minnesota’s Isaac Taylor’s diary entries during the Civil War; he, too, was not fated to come home from the field.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    OK, figured out what I wanted to say.

    Andy, I pray you go find some terrorist’s 72 virgins; ruin his paradise before the fucker gets up there! Don’t leave until they’re stunningly slutty.

    I’m sure you deserve each and every swallow.

  44. 44

    It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain …
    –Abraham Lincoln, 18 November 1863

    *Salutes*

  45. 45
    srv says:

    I’m breaking out the pie filter for your tiresome ass, something that no other troll here has warranted since Darrell left.

    Why don’t you have it tune out the rest of the war for you also?

    This next part not for John, who may have known him (in that case, condolences).

    Not that you or any of the fainting lilies here would know it, but the one thing Olmsted did write often about was how one party did a lot of talking

    Every day they choose to pussyfoot around the issue is another day when American troops are killed or maimed in performance of their duties in Iraq. John Kerry infamously asked how you ask a man to be the last person to die for a mistake. If the Democrats really believe remaining in Iraq is a mistake, how can they reconcile that with asking more American soldiers to die because ending the war is politically inconvenient for them?

    No, let’s just say the man was politicizing the war.

  46. 46
    demimondian says:

    What srv said. I didn’t know Olmsted, and pretending that I have particular feelings about it because he was a blogger is…well, wrong. I’m sorry he died, but to say more is to intrude on the private grief of those who did know the man. They have a right to that grief, and I do not.

    I don’t happen to think that Kucinich or Edwards would bring the troops home, and I believe with every fiber that Paul would not, so I deeply resent your claim of moral superiority, though.

  47. 47
    Michael D. says:

    This is horrible. Every day, I think about an acquaintance of mine in Iraq and hope that he won’t meet the same fate.

  48. 48
    libarbarian says:

    And for what? In his farewell letter, Andrew notes that he does not think his life was wasted. In a way, he was certainly right, because from his perspective, I’m sure he died for something both ‘smaller’ yet infinitely more important than these neo-con dreams.

    I’m not really sure how to say this but here goes….

    There is an old adage. It can be said in many ways but the point is what matters: No soldier fights and dies for his country. No soldier fights and dies for abstract notions like “Freedom”. A soldier fights and dies for one reason – the man next to him.

    According to a comment on the Rocky Mountain News:

    Major Andrew Olmsted and Captain Thomas Casey were both killed when we were ambushed. They both displayed tremendous courage under fire. I am proud to have served with them. They will be greatly missed. We were all blessed to have known them. They will always be my brothers in arms.

    Captain John Thompson
    Nightmare 3

    So, I it looks like you are absolutely right. He died fighting to protect his men, the life of each of which is both “smaller” and infinitely more important than any Neocon imperial dream.

    But as laudable as such a sacrifice is on a personal level, it does not disrespect Andrew or his memory one bit to say that despite his personal honor, this was, in his case just like every other person, completely unnecessary.

    How many men in this world have ever died “necessarily”. If dying “necessarily” is to be our standard then most people have fallen, and will fall, far short of it. Life is uncertain and sometimes frail. We are all going to die, many of us “unnecessarily”, somehow – in a car accident, a victim of crime, a heart attack cause by the food we kept telling ourselves we would stop eating but never did, etc.

    It is rare where a person gets the chance to face death for a reason – even if that reason is simply to keep someone else from becoming the victim of an “unnecessary” war.

    When a man gets that chance and takes it, of his own free will, than I can mourn his death and feel for his loved ones, but I cannot judge his death “unnecessary” or in any way “pity” him. He did the right thing in the circumstances he was in.

  49. 49
    Vlad says:

    This sucks.

  50. 50
    Darkrose says:

    How exactly does the pie filter work?

  51. 51
    tBone says:

    How exactly does the pie filter work?

    You give it the name of a commenter you want to filter, and it replaces the text in all of their posts with the phrase “I like pie!”

    Actually, srv is so one-note already that it doesn’t make much difference.

  52. 52
    Wilfred says:

    And who made you the thought police, Tbone? Thanks for the link, btw.

  53. 53
    newtonusr says:

    Chilling, and oh so sad. Best to the family and friends.

  54. 54
    Tax Analyst says:

    Sad news.

  55. 55
    Lee says:

    I’m not going to wade into Redstate to find out what they wrote.

    Anyone want to paraphrase for me?

  56. 56
    capelza says:

    Oh this just breaks my heart…I’m speechless.

  57. 57
    IanY77 says:

    It says a great deal about the man how diverse his online friends were…

    No kidding. I just about shat myself when I saw Goldy’s name there.

  58. 58
    garyb50 says:

    A terrible loss.

  59. 59
    tBone says:

    And who made you the thought police, Tbone? Thanks for the link, btw.

    So sorry, Wilfred. Clearly my posting of a link to an (entirely voluntary) antitroll script means I’m vying to wipe out thoughtcrime here on Balloon Juice. Who knew the slide into fascism was so easy? I guess Doughy Pantload was right.

    Anyway, you’re welcome, I guess.

  60. 60
    Don Quijote says:

    Such is the price of war…

    It’s what people voted for.

  61. 61

    I’ll respect his wishes and only note that it would be wise to remember what capital we spend when we go to war.

  62. 62
    LiberalTarian says:

    My condolences, JC. And my heartfelt sympathy to his family and community.

  63. 63
    dbrown says:

    Sad,
    the true creed of voting for the enemy (or is that enema?) – cheney/bush: the Iraq war does come home in a terrible way; consider the many, many Iraq’s who have lost close friends, family, loved ones, children … the list goes on; who were the sick SOB’s that supported this lie? Look to your to yourself and see the enemy. At least you have learned your lession but the sad state of america, home of cowards who accept these animals is what is truely sad.

  64. 64
    grumpy realist says:

    Resquiat in pace, frater mihi.

  65. 65

    I barely knew him but I cried. His last post just broke my heart. A great loss for Blogtopia and civil society.

  66. 66
    Krista says:

    I haven’t read Obsidian Wings too many times. I think I may have seen one G’Kar post before. Seems I missed out.

    It was a privilege reading his last post. Every word. Godspeed Andy.

    Seconded. The humour, intelligence and heart that were evidenced in that last post — well, it shows us what we’ve lost. My thoughts and sympathy go out to his loved ones, especially his wife (reading the section to her brought on some serious waterworks.)

  67. 67

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