Flt Lt Pardoel, I salute you

I would like to take a moment to recognise Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel.

AN Australian airman has become the nation’s first military casualty in Iraq, killed while serving with Britain’s Royal Air Force.

Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, a 35-year-old father of three from Melbourne, died when a British C-130 Hercules transport plane crashed or was shot down north of Baghdad overnight (AEDT), killing 10 troops, an Australian Defence Department spokesperson said.

Flt Lt Pardoel leaves behind a wife and three kids, who’s photos we are already seeing plastered all over the papers and TV. He was working for the RAF, as he held dual Australian-UK citizenship.

While nothing can lessen the grief for his family, they should know that he died for a reason. That he should die during the elections should highlight the importance of the cause. Kids, your father did not die for oil or Halliburton profits. He died trying to make sure these elections could happen, so that the Iraqi people could be free. Something like this.

If I see one anti-war protestor, commentator or journalist try and use Flt Lt Pardoel’s death as emotional leverage for their ’cause’ there will be hell to pay. To exasperate this family’s grief by lessening the value of his sacrifice for cheap politics would be unforgivable.

(Note: This, obviously, doesn’t include Pardoel’s family. They can grieve anyway they want, and I’ll be equally angered by any supporters of the war who criticize Margaret Pardoel for her statements.)