On the television a casually dressed President Obama honoured the ultimate sacrifice paid by these boys in soldiers' uniforms. He re-emphasised the connection between Afghanistan and potential terrorist atrocities in London or New York. Yet - did it never occur to him or any other western leaders that simply by being in the region waging war or on the Taliban - they are very probably adding fuel to the forces of evil that have struck in Manhattan, London, Bombay and elsewhere. Battling with the Taliban probably makes terrorist atrocities more likely - not less.
This isn't about equipment, helicopter support, tough political language, bullets or how we armour our vehicles because those are certainly not the tools of peace. Peace is about love, it's about seeds and handshakes, education and understanding, giving and friendship, investment and support. What would John Lennon say of this conflict if he were alive today?
When I was eighteen I was off to see the world - not with a rifle but with a bag full of hope, a guitar and a book of English grammar. They sometimes say that in our hearts we have an age where we feel we belong - our real age - not the one that is marked by birthdays. My age has always been eighteen, the same as James, Joseph and William. Surely, the best monument we could build in their memory is an end to the pointlessness that is the mission in Afghanistan. Before more eighteen year olds die there, let's shout out - BRING OUR BROTHERS HOME!