A lonely father, Carlos Arredondo, a native of Costa Rica, stands in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Portland, Maine, next to a battered green Nissan pickup truck. Its tailgate folded down, carries a flag-draped coffin adorned with pictures of his only son, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, age 20, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004. The truck and the trailer it pulls have become a mobile shrine for his boy. Driving around the United States with the aid of donations, he evokes a mixture of sympathy and hostility. White crosses with the names of other boys killed in that useless war, and combat boots nailed to the side of the display, also show a wheelchair covered with colored ribbons fixed to the roof of the cab. There is Alex's military uniform, and boots, poster-size pictures of the young marine on the streets of Najaf, and then the fallen soldier himself, his hands folded in white gloves, in his coffin. "This is what happens every week to some family in America", says Carlos. "This is what war does, and this is the grief and pain the government does not want you to see." Alex, from a working-class immigrant family, was lured into the military a month before Sept.11, 2001. The Marine recruiters made the usual appeals to patriotism, promised that he would be trained for a career,go to college and become a man.
Please click on my heading to read the rest of this story on truthdig, by Chris Hedges, an outstanding war correspondent.