I'm not a political person. I vote in just about every election, I have opinions, I pay attention...But that's about it. I don't often talk about political matters (you know what they say about politics and religion) and I blog about them even less often. I accept at face value the fact that I was blessed to be born into a free country where people are allowed to hold and voice their support of or opposition to the practices and policies of the powers that be. But sometimes you just have to step out of your norm and venture into the world of punditry. And so it is that this particular post will probably lack any measure of eloquence or my normal "word-smithery" because of the angst I feel over the topic at hand.
Over the past few days there has been much in the news about the death toll in Iraq. Fox News, CNN, even AFN News are discussing and spinning the magic number 2000 to the point of nausea. Frankly, one is too many. But this is a war, after all. Blood will spill, lives will be lost, and families will mourn. It is the nature of what we do. The problem is that every news source that I have access to is focusing on our casualties. One of the results is that the American soldier is demoralized. Not because one or more of his buddies may have given their all, but because he feels like the American people do not really understand what he is doing and are therefore not truly behind him. There are two sides to every story, but the American people only seem to be getting half of it. A basic understanding of Operational Security (OPSEC) forbids me from divulging details of some of the things I've seen and heard. However, there are some things I can mention.
First, 99 out of 100 soldiers I have spoken with understand that we are involved in something substantial and meaningful over here. They are not the mind-numbed robots many make them out to be. They are well educated, highly trained, well equipped professional warriors who know their job and want to do it.
Second, the men we are fighting here are evil, blood-sucking vermin. They kill indiscriminately and without remorse. Their goal is power, and they seek to gain it even if it costs the lives and spirits of all their fellow countrymen.
Third, while we have lost 2000+ of our patriot sons and daughters, the number of terrorists who have assumed room temperature is estimated to be anywhere from 5 to 20 times that number (depending on who you talk to). We are taking the wood to the bad guys on a regular basis and in spectacular fashion. I never cease to be amazed at the warrior ethos that drives this great generation of American men and women or their willingness to fight and die for the freedom of people they will never meet.
And in the middle of the violence, blood, gore, and mayhem, the American fighting man stands as the paradigm of brotherly love, seeking the best for others. He kills when he must but never without cause. He fights to free others rather than to gain something for himself. He sacrifices daily to ensure that this country of sand and dust and people will not be subjected to this kind of lifestyle forever. He offers the Iraqi people a chance to taste the freedom he enjoys. And for what? So that those with a public voice can point a finger of blame and disgust while decrying his efforts and belittling his mission?
I'm not a political person. But my soldiers deserve to be heard and respected. They are a new generation of American and have earned the title "great".