Wednesday, October 26, 2005

2000!!!! Do Liberals Care?

The predicted media frenzy over the two thousandth death in Iraq has arrived. The question occurs to me: Where really is the moral high ground? The anti-war movement, the war protestors, and liberals assume they have it. They base this on the value of human life. They talk about the value of each and every life. They talk about how bad they feel for the fallen soldiers, and their families. And the media just eats it up

Do these protesters somehow place more value on these lost lives? More than those who want to see the war in Iraq continued to defeat the insurgency? Do they care more about these lives than their fellow soldiers? More than I do?

A year ago today, I almost became one of that two thousand. Riding in the back of a soft skinned Iraqi National Guard pick up truck, after a our extraction helicopter failed to appear, a heard and felt the blast of an IED at the head of the convoy. As we un-assed the truck a second one went off. One of those blasts, from a 155mm shell drove a fragment through an armored humvee door into the arm of one of our forward observers.

As I treated that solider for the long ugly shell fragment piercing his forearm, a third shell exploded a few meters away. Sgt Olin was bleeding, going into shock and screaming in pain from the broken bones in his arm. Sgt. Olin was awarded one of five purple hearts earned that night, the rest were for relatively minor injuries. We were all lucky that night.

Two days later some of our luck ran out. Our first platoon was ambushed by an IED and small arms attack. Spc. Segun Frederick Akintade was struck in the base of the skull by a shell fragment that impacted in the gap between his vest and his helmet. The wound was catastrophic. Still two soldiers, infantry riflemen responded, trying to stop the massive bleeding. With the rest of the unit engaged in a fire fight, a senior battalion medic worked his way over. The three soldiers worked desperately, to save Akintade. Air medivac was enroute.

On a routine patrol 12 or 15 miles away we heard the radio call for the helicopter. Racing down Iraqi highway one at 90 miles an hour we heard they were doing CPR. We arrived just before the bird, still unaware of who was dying. A squad leader looked at me and mouth the name Akintade. The insurgents had broken contact. We started expanding our perimeter. Three angry platoons scoured the nearby farms, but they were gone. The medic had Akintade loaded on the helicopter where he was finally pronounced dead.

This Friday, I’m going with other soldiers to visits Akintade’s grave on LI. How many of the protesters will do that? How many of them have knelt exposed to dangerous enemy fire, treating a wounded comrade while the world exploded around them? How many of them have signed up for the kind of commitment that being a soldier requires, for that kind of sacrifice?

Sure some of them have been soldiers. But lot’s more haven’t. But their moral attitude is predicated on their belief that they care more about life than I do. But was does that mean. Are they better people? Are anti-war liberals nicer to their neighbors? Are they better citizens? I live in New York. I run into dozens of anti-war tyoes daily. Sure some of them are decent people, but their attitude of moral superiority, through their renunciation of violence, for their exaltation of life doesn’t ring true.

The soldiers I know all believe in the sanctity of life as well. None of us are, to my knowledge, are psychotics. The soldiers I know who’ve taken lives have regretted it. And they have all grieved for their fallen comrades. Even the ones they didn’t know.

I’ve spent time in Somalia and Iraq, and seen the wages of lawlessness. When all good men shun any resort to violence, bad men are free to do as they will. The crimes of Saddam and his cohort are a matter of record, horrifically so. Soldiers, and the rest of us who are not overwhelmingly opposed to all war simply have an understanding of this. If that makes me morally inferior, than it is such moral inferiority, that allows the liberals to preen with their moral advantage. They say that 2000 is not just a number. But how many of them cried at Akintade’s funeral?


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7 Comments:

Anonymous Carin said...

Very well said. Thank you for your service to this country. My heart goes out to all the familys and friends of all of our lost men and women I hope they understand that most of us back home think that what they are doing is a brave and noble thing and that we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

Wed Oct 26, 06:52:00 PM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We liberals care - alot.

It's hard to see the Iraq War being implemented so poorly, while courageous soldiers are injured, fatally and non-fataly.

I applaud our troops! But I wish we went into this war both knowing the full truth, and fully prepared.

We rushed into this war, because Saddam was said to be close to having nuclear weapons.

Well, we were lied to about that, but they still pressed for a quick start to the war.

I think it's a horrific shame that this was based on such miscalculations, and still seems to be.

And thus the loss of life, and the life-altering injuries, are higher than they could have been.

No moral high ground -- just saddened that our first rate troops were put into horrible situations, by poor execution from the top.

Wed Oct 26, 06:55:00 PM 2005  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

Actually as far as I can tell no one said Saddam was close to getting nukes, merely that he was trying. As far as poor execution goes, there has absolutely been some of that. Just as there was in "good wars" like WWI, and WWII, as well as in "bad wars" like Vietnam. Modern War is an immensly complicated endeavor, to execute without flaw is impossible. Ultimately history will determine the "worth" of this war, if Iraqi democracy succeeds and brings stability, then the death toll will be sad, but not particularly high, in historical terms. I am not aiming at every liberal opposed to the war, but at thse like Move On or Code Pink's members, who shout there overwhelming respect for human life, but then sneer at the very soldiers they claim to stand for.

Wed Oct 26, 07:10:00 PM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

War - like all of life - has lies. Some REMFs get Silver Stars for doing nothing; other people fight and die and only get a headstone. If absolute accuracy and truth were the only possible justifications for war, then this nation would not exist. Our Republic was founded on the idea that people can be trusted to do the best they can and that the mistakes they freely make are less dangerous than the enlightened wisdoms of any aristocracy or elite.

Liberals really don't believe that. They know that they know better than the rest of us poor fools. That is why they have no feelings for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who suffer and die. They may claim to be sympathetic, but their sympathy always comes with two conditions: (1) the rest of us must acknowledge that they understand war-fighting better than the people who do it;, and (2) they alone are qualified to judge what is an appropriate cause for war.

Beware of the "vets" who oppose the war. They are hopelessly corrupted by their smugness. If you should run into one, ask him or her for the name, rank and home town of a buddy who suffered in their war. (Most can't name one.) For those who can, ask a 2nd question: when is the last time you spoke to their widow or children?

In 60 years of life I have never yet met an anti-war vet who could answer both questions.

Thu Oct 27, 06:00:00 PM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a liberal.

I donate money to Moveon.org, Optruth.org, and various Democratic campaigns...including those of Paul Hackett and Bryan Lentz.

i don't like Bush, and I don't believe in the war in Iraq.

I don't believe that this number 2000 means anything more than just a sadness that this many young Americans have died fighting in a war we will have a difficult time "winning" -- because the problem is no one can really define what that "winning" is and when a '"victory' can be declared. (certainly that May2003 "mission accomplished" was a meaningles spublicity stunt. surely you must be able to admit that?)

I guess you want everyone to join up and support this war and this administration in the midst of the lies they've fed us. You are intelligent enough to know that's not the way America works. That we "liberals" have every right to question the policy and will continue to do so.

And you might want to know that many of us "liberals" have supported and loved friends and family who have served in Iraq. And the support for our soldiers in unwavering.... you didn't make the decision where your commander in chief would send you, you just went when called. that is what we "liberals" respect about you and the other soldiers.

I don't know anyone, liberal/conservative/Republican/Democrat that assumes they "value life" more because they disagree with the war.

Oh, and we all know that the WMDs were the basis for our appeal to the UN, and the appeal to the American public. And why for weeks before the war, we all waited for Hans Blix report. So for you to say it wasn't imminent....that's simply untrue. And if you go back and run a few google searches, that will become obvious to you.

Fri Oct 28, 01:51:00 AM 2005  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

I've always found it hard to accept the stance: "I(We)support the troops but oppose the war." It stinks of sophistry, and self delusion. While you may very well believe everything you say, and have the best of intentions, I have to doubt your analyses.

I personally have never met anyone who belongs to Move On or simiular groups, who didn't condescend to soldiers and soldiering. I live and have gone to college in NYC, and the reaction all such people had upon hearing I was in the military was to assume a moral and intellectual superiority.

Groups like Move On and Code Pink have a vicious anti-mlitray outlook. It is hard to believe that someone supports you, or even accepts who you are, when they are blatantly opposed to what you do, and what you believe in.

I don't expect everyone to "Join Up" and support this war. But the sentiment that we can't win is a liberal smokescreen. I have a pretty clear idea what victory looks like. I find it both amusing and scary that so many people with no military training, who've never set foot in Iraq can claim to know what we can do there. As far as I can tell the real message is: "We don't want to win."

I guess your someone who can read the Tea Leaves. The President repeatedly said that Saddam's threat was not imminent, merely that we should not wait until it became so. Liberals continue to insist that this was a Jedi mind trick.

The facts remain that most liberal antiwar types, those who are leading he charge are anti-military. They assume that they DO have a moral superiority over people like me who are willing to kill. They think they are somehow more evolved based on their unwillingness to do violence. My viewpoint is that such people are merely freeriding on the sense of honor and duty that troglodytes lkike myself carry.

Fri Oct 28, 08:40:00 AM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"self delusion. While you may very well believe everything you say, and have the best of intentions, I have to doubt your analyses"

There's no "analyses" - there is the very simple fact that I disagree, and have disagreed with this Iraq endeavor since before we set foot there. However, I have friends and family members who have served in the United States Army, and various National Guard units throughout this nation. There is "delusion" about how much my family and myself have supported my uncles, cousins, and friends whereever our government has sent them across the globe. What analysis is needed about that fact?

Further, while I cannot speak for move.on as a whole, I believe in many things the organization stands for...and I know friends and family members who donate money to this organization. No one that I know takes any moral high ground, or holds a downward view of any soldier. We simply disagree with the foreign policy as currently directed by this administration.

There is no opposition to "what you do" as a soldier, simply the basis of this war. These are very different things, and I'm sorry that you cannot see that.

As far as moral superiority over soldiers, this is simply ridiculous and it is unfortunate that you feel you've been treated that way. Clearly, from your writings on this website, you are an intelligent man and some of my most intelligent friends are members of the United States Army. I don't understand the concept of assuming moral or intellectual superiority over you or any soldier, simply by virtue of the fact that person is in the military and I am not. The way someone may have treated you is hardly fair for you to assess to all so called "liberals."

I really don't understand the anti-military stance you attribute to "liberals." Its not true of the organizations I subscribe to, nor is it true of most people that I know who consider themselves liberals.

You need to stop holding so much blame and anger towards people that hold differing opinions than you. It is certainly fair for you to hold your own opinions about the purpose/reasons/goals in Iraq....but you have an animosity towards those who's views don't align with your own. In this country, I think its very rare that you'll find a consensus on any major foreign policy, but you should try to lighten up and give people more credit.

Fri Oct 28, 08:04:00 PM 2005  

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