I read this letter reproduced in part below courtesy of And Rightly So and realized how old fashioned I truly am. You see, I have something of an outdated sentimentality about patriotism, love of country, and an admiration for the United States military.
It’s hard being patriotic in public. Write something nice about the United States on your blog and you’re likely to get a Ward Churchill wannabe telling you what an evil dupe you are…or worse. This is fine. We call this free speech. Even if that speech is hurtful and deliberately designed to inflict pain (giving the lie to the term “compassionate liberal”) the kids referenced in the letter below are fighting and dying for their detractor’s right to spout their bilious hatred to their heart’s content and not have to worry about being lined up against a wall and shot or sent to a gulag-like prision for “re-education.”
This only makes me admire them more.
There are times when all of us have had second thoughts about this war. Mine have had to do with the young men and women we’re asking to fight. On more than one occasion I’ve taken George Bush to task for trying too hard to carry on “business as usual” as our people are fighting and dying over there. I can understand the political necessity of the strategy. After all, when you enemies are so bitterly hateful and are looking for any opening at all to tear you apart like a piece of raw meat in a shark tank, you tend to downplay your political vulnerabilities. That was John Kerry’s problem in the last election. Bush made Kerry’s position(s) on Iraq the issue, not the war itself or Bush’s handling of it.
Good strategy…but done partially at the expense of our warriors over there.
By not calling on us to sacrifice much, I believe in a way, the President demeans the sacrifices of our men and women in Iraq. But what kinds of sacrifices could be relevant? Many liberals want to raise taxes to pay for the cost of the war. If the present pace of spending on Iraq keeps up and if the threat from Iran and North Korea doesn’t lessen in the next 18 months, the moonbats are going to have company. I can guarantee that fiscal conservatives will be up in arms if we keep spending $18-20 billion a month on the war effort as we are now without an equal cut in expenditures on the domestic side. And those cuts will cause pain and involve real sacrifice.
Which brings me back to these kids and the sacrifices they are making:
I have never seen anything like this. Trucks and Humvees that looked like they had just come through a shredder. Their equipment was full of shrapnel blast holes, and missing entire major pieces that you could tell had been blasted by IEDs. These kids looked bad too! I mean, sunken eyes, thin as rails, and that 1000-yd. stare they talk about after direct combat. Made me pretty damn embarrassed to be a “rear area warrior”.
All people could do was stop in their tracks and stare… and feel like me…like I wanted to bow my head in reverence. A Marine Captain stationed with me, was standing next to me, also headed to the gym. He said, “Part of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 8th Marines, sir. Took the heaviest losses of any single unit up north as part of Task Force Danger, sir.”
As the convoy rolled up, all of us watching just slowly crept toward these kids as they dismounted the Hummers and 5-tons. Of course, we were all shiny and clean compared to these warriors. This kids looked like they had just crawled from Iraq. I had my security badge and ID around my neck, and started to help them unload some of their duffle bags.
A crusty Gunny came up to me and said “sir, you don’t have to do that…” I said, “Gunny…yes I do…” They all looked like they were in high school, or younger!! All held themselves sharply and confident, despite the extreme fatigue you could tell they had endured. “You guys out of the triangle?” I asked. “Yes, sir.” 14 months, and twice into the grinder, sir” (both fights for Fallujah).
Read the whole thing here.