Thursday, November 02, 2006
Soldiers' message to Kerry
This banner created by the U.S. soldiers is something that I actually think turned out to be a pretty good joke: laffing out lowd, as Michelle Malkin would say. ;-) Kerry's joke could have been funny for some people, too. That doesn't include me because bare criticism is not a good enough joke for me - but I respect that others may have a different sense of humor than I do.
I actually do believe that Kerry was speaking about George Bush and his otherwise standard attack against the U.S. administration was blown out of proportion. Before he said that you should do your homework because the uneducated people get stuck in Iraq, he had made several comments that have made it rather clear that Bush was his main target.
Nevertheless, the junior Massachusetts senator said that he would never apologize to anyone before he apologized. ;-)
Unlike others, I don't think that the fact that the comment was about Bush and his people justifies the spirit of Kerry's criticism. Bush is a kind of soldier, too. He is the commander-in-chief who is sacrificing a lot for his country. In fact, he is at risk, too. He should have his human rights and his human dignity much like others. Bush likes the other soldiers and they like him. Bush may have been an average student of Yale University but he has nevertheless completed his education. He is undoubtedly an educated person and some of his collaborators could be even more educated.
Some of the U.S. troops are highly educated, others may be less educated. But education is not their job so it doesn't matter much. They're in Iraq and elsewhere in order to protect America and its values. To some extent, they work to protect the values of the whole civilized world - which are also the values of many citizens of other countries including the citizens of the Czech Republic like me. Even if some of these people happen to be less educated than others, they have other comparative virtues, including courage, special skills, and physical strength. They have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of anything: they can be proud. And they have very good reasons to believe that their job will be success at the end, despite many people in both hemispheres who are dreaming about a very different outcome.
At the same moment, one should notice that it is not their job to decide whether America should intevene in one country or another. The democratic system is designed in such a way that these issues are mostly decided by the democratically elected president and his or her team. The soldiers understand it. And not surprisingly, they find it more natural to fight in another country than most average citizens do: that's a part of the reasons why they chose their job. And they are generally right: America will never give up its right to intervene in some situations as long as it deserves to be called America. In some cases, the conflicts turn out to be easy. In other cases, they turn out to be difficult. Some battles may be lost and others may look like a bad idea after some time. But this can't be a reason to abandon all responsibility for the world.
America has participated in many important wars and in most of the important cases, its contributions to the world were positive if not priceless. The success stories include the First World War and the Second World War. Many people in the world, including the citizens of my hometown Pilsen in Bohemia, are grateful to the U.S. army for the freedom - and Coke plus chewing gums ;-) - they have brought. And I do believe that most of those who are not grateful are not terribly good people - they are people who don't respect freedom and other typically American values too much. And that's too bad.
Even though I am not the kind of guy who would be overly useful in such wars - and maybe because of this fact - I am grateful to the U.S. military for doing the job that should be done by others in many cases. They're protecting freedom, democracy, and the safety of many of us including the critics against those who prefer other values - including a blind belief in dictators, religious fundamentalism, and communist "idealistic" plans to control the whole society. They're doing the difficult work while many others are doing nothing except for pretending how terribly nice they are.
But if someone only cares about himself or herself and if he or she would never make any sacrifice for the common good, he or she is not a terribly nice person. He or she may also be just another egoistic coward.
And that's the memo.