One of my problems with the discussion of the War in Iraq, is that it has taken on such a political tone that it is impossible not to see opposition to the war as purely cynical. As I noted below, the Democrats were for the surge when Bush was against it, and when he agrees with them, they immediately flip flop. But my greatest concern is with the effect of the cynicism on the troops.
Approximately 1000 soldiers signed a petition for redress about the war and that was trumpeted all over the news as showing even the troops were against the war. Okay, 1000 out of 140,000 serving. What if 2000 troops signed a petition that said they were for staying and finishing the mission? Would that receive the same level of coverage? I don't think so. But the fact is, in spite of rapid return of units to Iraq, the soldiers keep re-enlisting. When you check out the Milblogs you find that the military as a whole still supports our endeavor.
But the reason for this post is the title. Quoting Jesus from the Bible, "Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his life for another." 3,000 of our best and brightest (despite what Rangel "vicitms of the economy" or Kerry "study hard or you will end up in Iraq," think) have demonstrated that love.
Understanding why men and women fight is not that difficult, it's just not what you think. Soldiers, being human beings, are complicated creatures with many and varying motives for doing anything. But in this context, soldiers fight for their brothers and sisters in arms. They may start out with some lofty ideal or political goal, but as S. L. A. Marshall found, it is the soldier to your left or right in the fight that matters. So, first and foremost, they fight for each other.
Beyond that, the milblogs show that the soldiers still have hope. They see progress that isn't being reported. They would like to see the Iraqis take more action for their own defense, but they have not given up. They know that the terrorist attacks are aimed at the American public through the willing cooperation of the media, and know that these terrorists attacks, while having no military value, are working on us here at home.
But their real love is for America, the ideals, and hopes that we all have for the world. A world that is peaceful and respectful to each of us that live here. A world where parents don't have to watch their daughters raped in order to coerce a confession. Or see their sons thrown into a vat of acid for the same purpose. Or to see anyone killed simply for having the wrong religion. They believe in America. Unfortunately, it appears that America is not keeping faith with them, nor honoring their loving sacrifice of their friends and brothers and sisters. For them, to quit now is the same as America spurning their loving sacrifice.
I wish we could communicate to them, that the introduction of politics into the debate is done for purely partisan purposes, not because of what they have done.
On the other hand, maybe we shouldn't communicate that idea. Just reading it again chills me to the bone.