Archive for Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Soldier should inspire U.S.

February 14, 2007

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With the House debating this week how much "non-binding" grief to lay on President Bush about Iraq, I e-mailed a soldier friend of mine for his impressions of the increasingly amplified protests.

Army Sgt. Daniel Dobson, 22, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is on his second tour in Iraq. I asked him what he thinks of the growing opposition to the war. Writing from Mosul, he says he appreciates the freedom Americans have to protest, but adds:

"The American military has shown a stone-cold professional veneer throughout the seething debate raging over Iraq. Beneath that veneer, however, is a fuming, visceral hatred. We feel as though we have been betrayed by Congress."

Sgt. Dobson believes the military is being hamstrung against an enemy with no reservations or restrictions:

"It is our overwhelming opinion that we have not been allowed to conduct the war to the fullest of our capability; neither do we feel that we should pull out because of a lack of 'results.' War is not a chemistry set with predetermined outcomes or complications. With a great army matched with an equally cunning enemy, we find ourselves in a difficult, but winnable fight. We do not seek results; rather, we seek total and unequivocal victory."

It's been a while since anyone spoke of "victory." Critics ask war supporters to define the word. Sgt. Dobson makes an effort: "That victory is close at hand. With nearly 80 percent of all terrorist and insurgent activity within 50 miles of Baghdad, the sheer thought of not taking out this stronghold is madness. If we can eliminate 80 percent of terrorist activity, the war is nearly won. To throw away a battle of this magnificent importance would be to waste the suffering and the sacrifice of American service members."

What of the effect on the troops from anti-war remarks on the streets and in Congress? Some assert it doesn't hurt troop morale. Sgt. Dobson disagrees:

"The question has been posed to me recently what congressional resolution hurts troop morale the most. No doubt we would be happy to come home tomorrow. But the thought is bittersweet. Most service members would tell you the same thing: There is no honor in retreat and there is no honor in what the Democrats have proposed. It stings me to the core to think that Americans would rather sell their honor than fight for a cause. Those of us who fight for (peace) know all too well that peace has a very bloody price tag."

To make his point, he tells a story: "An army once marched on the great city of Rome. The emperor, fearing for the future of the Roman Empire, sent the Empire's greatest warrior to the camp of the general to negotiate the cessation of hostilities. After several hours with the general, he asked the warrior just how much he loved Rome. Without thinking, the warrior rose and walked to a fire and stuck his right hand in the flames until it was completely burned away. 'This,' the warrior said 'is how much all Romans love Rome.' The general, struck with fear, said that if all Romans should have the same spirit as this warrior, he could not afford war with Rome, and so retreated back to his homeland.

"I fear that when questioned of their love for country, many Americans would shy from the flames. It breaks our hearts to see our nation, which was more of a Union on Sept. 12, (2001) : fall to such petty bickering. : No longer are we (one) out of many, but have fallen from one into many. We on the front lines long to see the white-fisted, purple-faced, raging hatred for our enemies that we saw on the morning of the 12th. We long to see America seeking victory as much as we do."

Sgt. Dobson has another wish beyond the desire to come home and a successful ending to the conflict:

"We need to drop the politics and get back to what really matters: Our nation and its future. The question, therefore, lies in what will leave scars on our national spirit; a war in Iraq or a war between Americans ..."

To the recurring question about patriotism and policy, Sgt. Dobson replies: "I would never presume to call anyone's love for country into question : I ask the same of you. Truly our nation's honor is at stake, and we have been given the opportunity to put our hand to the flame. Should we now, in our moment of testing, shy from it? When asked how much we love our country, should we call retreat? No, we stand at a moment of great truth, let us now show our enemies just how much we love America and our way of life. Let us show them our love of country is as great as it ever was."

Pro- or anti-war, you've got to admire Sgt. Dobson and the other virtuous and committed young men and women our military attracts.

- Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

drewdun 8 years, 4 months ago

"The Democrats are using the MSM to sew discord."

Uhh, perhaps you haven't noticed, BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE AGAINST THIS WAR. THEY ELECTED THE DEMOCRATS TO TAKE MEASURES TO END IT. Just because you blindly support whatever 'plan' Mr. Disaster (aka your Political Messiah) puts forth doesn't mean you are right and those opposed are guilty of sedition. It means you are a fanatical right-wing nut. 70% of Americans oppose this escalation. SEVENTY PERCENT. And you claim that in holding this position the vast majority are guilty of sedition or are 'loons.' Perhaps you should take a long look in the mirror Mr Fascist Swine, but with a name like 'Obamillary' you're clearly on flame detail, so self-reflection will be as foreign to you as an IQ above 90.

And regarding Cal's latest 'effort:' He got an Army friend to denounce the Democrats NONBINDING resolution as 'betrayal.' That's okay. We (aka the majority) can cite other soldiers, for example a poll nearly a year ago that stated that "72 percent want to withdraw within a year"

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0301/dailyUpdate.html

And what's funny is what Cal leaves out: the fact that MANY Republicans are voting FOR this resolution; and the whole public-overwhelmingly-opposed-to-not-just-surge-but-war facet of this. In other words, Cal Thomas is strikingly dishonest and disingenuous. Then again he is radical right-wing slime so that is part and parcel of his 'ideology.' For Cal, it all boils down to politics: the Democrats take the side of the nation, and begin to do what they were elected to do, and he cries 'betrayal' (nevermind the fact that the first part of the resolution honors the troops and pledges to uphold funding). No examination of the ridiculous thought that adding 21K troops will somehow 'win' the war, or the spiraling violence there, just pure partisan politics. 'People' like Cal Thomas and his brethren on the right are truly the most despicable people in this nation. No concern for the lives of the troops they profess to love and honor so much, just political considerations for their religion, the Republican Party. Sorry for the rant, but this sh** makes my blood boil.

drewdun 8 years, 4 months ago

Your post is very revealing. It shows that you can't stray far beyond Rush and O'Reilly inspired talking points. You don't address any of the points I made, only that I am for "Democratic party politics" and a "leftist." Good one there.

As for your points, you claim that the Congress of the United States is somehow committing sedition against ITSELF by expressing the will of the citizens of this nation. Uhhh, yeah.

You also make this statement: "When you have served in a time of conflict then we'll take your remarks as thoughtful." Disregarding the fact that this viewpoint is contrary to the ideals of this nation and against what our troops are supposedly fighting for, let's take it at face value; if only troops who have served have valid opinions, what do you make of the poll I cited above? You can find it very easily by scrolling up and clicking on the link. Better yet, I'll post it again...

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0301/dailyUpdate.html

That's from nearly a year ago, and SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT OF THE TROOPS SURVEYED SAID THEY SHOULD BE OUT OF IRAQ WITHIN A YEAR.

What of these Iraq war vets:

http://www.votevets.org/

Oh, that's right. Only opinions that agree with what you already 'know' are valid, even if the opposition is that which you claim to take seriously.

And perhaps you haven't read the resolution that the Democrats AND many Republicans are supporting (actually of course you haven't; you needed to have Rush filter it for you first). Here is the full text:

"Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that:

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional U.S. combat troops to Iraq."

Please explain how this is sedition and betrays the troops again, Einstein. Oh, that's right, you and the other wingnuts GOT NOTHIN' so you have to make wild accusations and unfounded claims. Typical fascist.

drewdun 8 years, 4 months ago

Dambudzo: throw in the American people with the 'terrorists and Democrats,' you savvy political poster you.

Actually you are a piece of human excrement. Just so you know.

jonas 8 years, 4 months ago

The question is, why would Cal Thomas be "friends" with a 22 year old soldier. The answer, it's going to be a soldier who probably contacted Cal at some point or another, and agreed with him enough for Cal to use him as front-line quotes that "represent the viewpoints of the soldiers."

While Sgt. Dobson is clearly articulate and intelligent, I see no reason to assume that his opinions are anything other than just that, his personal opinions.

Not to mention, the line-soldiers themselves should be just about the last people we really ask in regards to policy decisions. It's hard to get more biased than the people right in the thick of things.

We should do what's best for the Iraqi people, and if we don't know what that it, we should look into it.

jonas 8 years, 4 months ago

Agreed, the pullout method is definately the chanciest in terms of fertilization avoidance. Iraq should really go on the pill.

drewdun 8 years, 4 months ago

Okay, I'll go slowly for you: you basically said that only combat vets are allowed to contribute their opinions here. I showed you a group of Iraq vets strongly opposed to the war. But since they didn't agree with you or the other 21% that still support Bush's war policy, they are obviously lefties. I also notice that you don't address the poll I posted TWICE, you know, the one in which 72% of soldiers disagree with you and your political messiah. It appears that you are the one in need of many clues.

And the Christian Science Monitor a leftist rag? Man, you really are out there. Basically anything that strays from the GOP party line, aka the reportage of REALITY, is leftist to you. It must be a pretty bizarre existence to live in a self-imposed right-wing bubble. And on a related note, people like YOU (blind, rigid partisans who brook no facts that contradict what you 'know') were THE target audience of Pravda. In actuality, you probably...scratch that, definitely are a regular viewer of American Pravda, Fox News.

Its really apparent that the crumbling of the Bush presidency has been especially hard on you. And now, with the defection of many Republicans, you are looking to lash out, of course in the only way you know how - call political opponents leftists, traitors, unAmerican, etc. However, none of your bleating can disguise the fact that you were wrong about Iraq, are wrong about Iraq, and will continue to be wrong about Iraq, just like all the other MENSA charter members in your RW chorus. Its sad but this political beating your side is taking probably hurts you more than the fact that hundreds of thousands have died in this catastrophe. And that's truly pathetic.

Mike Blur 8 years, 4 months ago

Uh oh, I believe that the relative newcomer "Obamillary" might be, in actuality, a certain individual that's been booted off the LJW boards at least 4 times already using separate aliases.

Let's see if Obamillary can last until March 1 without getting "disappeardeded" by the LJW mods.

Obamillary bait: W.J. Clinton=best president of our lifetimes! See how that runs up yer flagpole!

drewdun 8 years, 4 months ago

scenebooster and defender - thx. This guy's a joke.

I've come to believe that arguing with true believers like him is really a waste of time, but I do it anyway. My MO is use facts, statistics, and what I consider logic, combined with a generous helping of insults (as that's all these people seem to understand); that being said, its apparent nothing will change their minds. Not even reality.

And am I to understand that Oba is conman/bearded gnome? Or even better, our very own rt?

Mike Blur 8 years, 4 months ago

No drew - I might be mistaken, but obamillary's old LJW forum handle used to rhyme with "scar binnious."

armyguy 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow, Cal found a good recruit who tows the company line.

In my Kansas unit that was deployed to Iraq, I don't think there were more than 10 to 15% who thought we should be there. After that fact, I bet there are about 95% who wonder why we were ever there. Yes we did our jobs to the best of our abilities with the tools available.

Talk to Vets who have been in Iraq or any other war and I would bet, that the vast majority don't think we should still be there.

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