My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Two Critically Important Letters

Hugh has posted two letters on his website. The first is from a 26-year active duty combat veteran; the second is from an Army Lieutenant who gave the last, full measure of devotion just last week explaining his reasons for volunteering to go to Iraq (technically, it's not a letter--it's a MySpace page, but whatever). Here are two key excerpts:

Republican Senators such as Chuck Hagel, John Warner and Olympia Snowe have publicly stated that the president’s planned strategy adjustment will not work and that they will not support it. I challenge each of these august public servants to go over to Bethesda Naval Hospital TODAY, find a seriously wounded Marine and say to him, “Son your sacrifice was in vain.” GO TODAY Senator. Stand up and be counted. If your vote for the war was wrong, say so today and do what any decent officer would do, resign. Resign immediately. What we are witnessing is a replay of the Vietnam War NOT on the battlefield where we continue to have successes albeit slowly, but in the gelatinous spines of our public servants and political masters. Remember Senator we serve but we are not YOUR servants. We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and the survival of America, not your political career which far too many of you associate with defending America. We serve because we believe in America, its founding principles and we believed our leaders, mostly Republicans but some Democrats, would support us and use our capabilities well. Now Republicans risk shredding the trust that fully 66% of servicemen and women have given them since 1968. They risk the future of their party but far more importantly they risk the all-volunteer force and with it America’s security future.

And then this:

My fellow "humanists" and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday. Others would point to America's historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America's initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America's moral crusade. And maybe it is. Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein. One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are. So that is why I joined.

I would submit that the same Senators confronted in the first letter have done no more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights than any of Lt. Mark Daily's comrades-at-arms, but their incessant preening before the cameras do vastly more to fuel our enemy's impression of us as weak, corrupt, and self-important than any entire brigade of our nation's finest.

God Rest Your Soul, Lt. Daily: some of us believe your sacrifice was NOT in vain.

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