Sometimes the news from Iraq gets too close to home. The Houston Chronicle reported:
“First Lt. David M. Fraser, 25, died from injuries he suffered when the bomb went off near his military vehicle in Baghdad on Sunday. The military didn't provide a hometown for Fraser, who was identified as a Texan.”
That doesn’t say very much so I will fill in some of the blanks. David’s family lives in my neighborhood and he played baseball with my son William. In 1992 David and William played on the Cardinals together, (front row third from the left with hand on his knee on the team photo), a team I sponsored and took to the Dairy Queen for ice cream after some of their games. David went to Westfield High School and was a member of the Big Red Band. I know his parents; not directly related to my grandfather as they are from a different branch of the Fraser clan. I’d sit and talk with them during ball games as we’d vent our frustrations; we’d second guess each play from the stands. My heart grieves for their loss.
I feel bitterness when I contemplate the manner in which the military has been used as a political football while these courageous soldiers defend us from those who would do us harm. It may have started with the Korean War as our concept of winning went out the back door in favor of an honorable retreat. The Vietnam War took it to another level of unfathomable ugliness as a segment of our society decided that it would be patriotic to hope for defeat, to ridicule and deride those serving our country. Instead of an honorable retreat there was a feeling that we as a nation had tucked our tail between our legs and simply walked away.
The Iraq War is an interesting subject in that we went to war, not with the country so much as with the thugs who had used that country to establish tyranny and threatened the world with real or imagined weapons. Those thugs were removed from power; a victory of sorts, and ever since our military forces have been used in an attempt to stabilize the area while the Iraqis’ newly formed government emerges. I don’t see the police action as much different than how troops were used after the end of WWII; except that the enemy in those conflicts was easily identifiable and directly associated with the country which had been defeated, not so in Iraq. The insurgents, call them what you will, make no distinction between killing Iraqis or US soldiers in order to continue mayhem and destruction at any cost.
The means to defeat an enemy who neither wears an identifiable uniform nor represents any particular country has made conventional warfare obsolete. Terrorist units can be anything from a couple of individuals with a sincere hatred for the new government and those who represent the opposition to a well armed and trained underground insurgency maintained by neighboring nation states without the courage to declare outright hostilities. Our troops are in harms way without the ability to wage all out war because they must wait until the enemy has attacked prior to doing battle with them.
Our leaders in Washington have the backbone of a jelly fish and have no intention of taking the fight to the enemy, at least not in any way that might appear aggressive to the rest of the world. It would be terribly unfair for the only world super power to level a country so backward that their only hope of winning is if we walk away. Rather than breaking the enemy’s back and forcing them to surrender we have provided them with a promise that we will disappear as soon as the pacifists, those recently elected to office, calendar the event. In short, the United States of America has lost the will to win, it was lost so long ago that nobody knows what wining feels like.
That’s why I feel bitter and why it is so hard to accept the loss of one of my neighbor’s kids in battle. A fine young man died for those miserable pukes in Washington who can do nothing but pretend to lead, pretend to defend us and all the while they destroy a piece of our nation each time they call for us to cut and run. My jaw clinches as I hold back the words I normally would let fly. According to the scriptures I’m just as guilty for having thought such words; forgive my weakness and backsliding ways, bile does that to me.