Rich people enjoy watching and playing polo. Don’t ask me why. Other people like golf. Both have rules and are considered a gentleman’s games. You can spend a lot of money on your equipment, but, in the end, it’s still men with sticks hitting a ball.
War on the other hand, isn’t a game. People die. Both combatants- those with guns, and anyone else who happens to get in the way. No matter what the Geneva convention says- there are no do-overs when you are using an M-16 (sorry, I still call it that- even though it’s the M4 now). Either you shoot them, or they shoot you.
More often than not these days- we still wear uniforms and the “bad guys” don’t make it that simple. War isn’t symmetrical and it’s far from a gentleman’s game.
Last week the international community became outraged about a viral video of four dumb marines who took a video of themselves urinating on 3 dead Taliban. No one is outraged about the fact that these young men killed the three bad guys- nope, they are mad because they are “desecrating the bodies.” Uh, I’d rather get pissed on, than shot, thank you very much- and I hope you’d agree that even though getting peed on isn’t anyone’s idea of fun- you can wash it off and move on.
I don’t seem to remember any outrage about the time some of our people have been beheaded on video- Daniel Pearl? Or had their bodies were dragged through the streets. It’s war. It’s not pretty. If you don’t like what happens- the easiest way to stop it is to stop the war- not make a bunch of noise about desecrating dead bodies.
A class of 2010 congressman I’d never heard of before, reportedly sent an e-mail to “The Weekly Standard”- although I can’t find it on his Facebook feed or official site:
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a former Army lieutenant colonel, sends THE WEEKLY STANDARD an email commenting on the Marines’ video, and has given us permission to publish it.
“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?
“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full U.S. Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.
“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”
I’m in full agreement with LTC West. For all those people who grew up like I did, watching Walter Cronkite show us nice little daily body counts during Vietnam- which seemed to make it all OK as long as our score was less than theirs- helped desensitize us to the horrors of war. It’s also easier when the people doing the bidding increasingly come from poor families and disproportionally from families of color. The arguments have been made throughout history, that no war should be able to be declared by anyone who isn’t going to have to go and actually fight in it. So far, logic has yet to win on this.
In doing a little more research on Congressman West, it seems that he’s a very capable fundraiser, bringing in millions for his re-election campaign. That only tells me that he’s just another one of the people who are part of the problem that is destroying our country- the influence of money in politics. It’s too bad, because with his candor I wanted to like him.
What I find even more disturbing is that if this in fact was something he said- the fact that it, or any of the thousands of articles mentioning it online, don’t appear on his facebook page, his blog or his official sites- make me really wonder if this isn’t another Internet hoax.
It’s time that all of our elected representatives take the responsibility of publishing their opinions in their own hand, on their own site- so we don’t have to rely on citizen journalists like me- or “professionals” like the NYT- which has no mention that I’ve seen of this. It’s one of the things that I promise to do differently when I’m elected to Congress. You will have direct reports daily of what happened in Washington on your behalf.
To be clear- yes, I’m a veteran. But, I never served in combat or was deployed. I have the utmost respect for those who have, and while I went through some of the most rigorous training the Army had to offer- none of it compares to being on enemy soil. I volunteered because I believe it is our civic duty to serve- and that in order to repay this country for all it has done for me and my family, it was the right thing for me to do. It’s the same reason that I continue to run, despite being told that what I believe is possible isn’t. Call me a patriot- or call me naive, but, when you elect me, I will no longer be a Dem in office- I’ll be an independent Representative to the people of the 10th District. You have my word on it.