All I can say is wow! What a post! This is one you must read in it’s entirity
?I know we speak for thousands of them (Gold Star Mothers) when we want to know what is the noble cause our children died for. What is the noble cause they are still fighting for and dying for every day?”
Mrs. Cindy Sheehan ? Crawford Press Conference August 25th, 2005.
There?s an old lawyers saying that says, ?Never ask a question in court unless you already know the answer?. Cindy Sheehan is not really asking to be told what the ?noble cause? is that her son fought and died for. However, the question from Mrs. Sheehan is a good one, but it?s a question for which she and her supporters do not really want an answer because to get one is to find out just how bankrupt her side has become. The question she asks is a two-part question, first; ?Is there such a thing as a ?noble cause?? The second part is ?did my son die in an action that can be clearly seen as noble??
So let?s deal with them one at a time:
Is there a ?noble cause? worth dying for?
Will a mother who finds her children at risk do anything necessary to save them including risk her own life if that is what is required to save her children? Sure, it happens all the time. But why? Why should someone give up their life for children? Even when it?s not your child who is in danger, people will do dangerous things to alleviate the threat to the child. Sometimes people will die as a result of what they do in saving others, such as people going into a burning building to rescue a child from the fire. While we all feel sad when a death occurs in the rescue attempt, we all agree that it?s ?worth while? and yes, even ?noble? to have died trying to save the life of others, particularly when its children or people who cannot take care of themselves.
Is the preservation of life a ?noble cause?. Of course it is. Do people die in the process of trying to preserve life? Of course they do. Its regrettable when it happens, but not as regrettable than when people die of neglect.
The lesson is that many people in our civilization ind ?selflessness? to be an attribute of what we call ?noble? and selfishness to be an attribute of the opposite or ?ignoble?. We look on those who give of themselves with awe and those who give their lives for others as the people we revere the most. Not because they died, but because they were selfless in their giving. People who volunteer to give up their life for a few years, take an oath and yes sometimes die, are people for whom our society holds the highest admiration.
Unfortunately, there are people in our society who do not agree that ?selfless-ness? is the basis for the most noble of human acts. For these people, ?selfish-ness? is the highest motivation. Christopher Hitchens refers to people that fall into this category as ?Narcissistic Pessimists?; they find no nobility in life, except in their protest against it.
On one hand, part of civilization says that selflessness is noble, while another part says the selfishness is most noble act. If I were a moral relativist, I would simply let the question lay here and ponder which was more true, but since I believe that there is good and bad, black and white, right and wrong, I know that selfishness is not equal to selflessness and thus I believe that selflessness is the more noble of the two acts.
In the second part of her question, Mrs. Sheehan is asking for the answer to:
?Did my son die in an action that can be clearly seen as noble??
What if Casey had chosen a different profession, one that Mrs. Sheehan and her supporters might see as ?more noble? than the lowly and oppressive life of a soldier?
What if he became a fireman instead of a soldier? If so, she should know that her son might have died while putting out a fire that was caused by an arsonist, a simple criminal trying to defraud an insurance company. How awful it would be for her to lose her son because of the act of someone else?s greed, for all that she had done in the selfless act as a mother only to have it all to go up in a cloud of graft and corruption.
What if he had become a member of the police force instead of a soldier? Oh come now, we all know what becomes of policemen, how could ?The good mother Cindy Sheehan? agree that her son should be a policeman? How could she send her little baby into the ranks of the oppressive brutality that is any a part of any police force? We know of the corrupt brutality and racism that is a part of the sordid history of the police force, that?s no place for the likes of the boy who once hugged her and called her ?mommy?. Not our Casey, not our little boy?
Did the firemen and policemen of New York City, who died rescuing people from the World Trade Center Massacre, die in a noble cause? Was it noble for those men to go to work one day and die in the performance of their duties? It certainly would have been ignoble to stay home while your friends needed your help on that day. To look the other way while others need the help you are trained to give is the most ignoble of all selfish acts.
If Casey had died on September 11th as a New York City fireman or a policeman, would Mrs. Sheehan have blamed Mayor Guliani for his death? Would she say that men like Atta were justified in their massacre of civilians in Manhattan because of what Israel has done in regards to Palestine? Would she cry out against the fire department and other firemen saying that her son had been lied to as to the real risks of the job of a fireman?
The men of the NYPD and the NYFD had to know on that day that it was a lost cause, that there was nothing they could do to stop the destruction. Yet, they went and did their duty anyway. They went to serve; they went to protect. To me, that was the very definition of selflessness, they saw their duty and did it, ignoring the consequences that would surely come for some of their number. On that day, death came with the job but no one turned away when it called, and as a result, many lives were saved. If you remember as I do the original estimates of deaths at the World Trade Center were in the range 20 to 30,000. It was because of the selfless and noble acts of the Fire and the Police Department of New York that many more were not killed.
Yet, the selfish, the ?narcissistic pessimists? could have easily found a way to say that their sons and daughters should not serve in the NYPD or NYPD because of the corruption, the sexism any one of a hundred excuses to insure that they weren?t in a position of having to do their duty in the service to others.
Yet, it is because men and women of the NYPD and NYFD ignored this asinine emotional sentiment that on that day where duty called many more people survived that would have, had people like Mrs. Sheehan been the ones driving the culture of this country.
Is service in the United States Military on the same noble level as that of a city Policemen and Firemen? I believe it is. Service in the US military is service to a republic, a democracy of citizens who stand equal before the law and enjoy the fruits of its liberty, an anomaly in the history of mankind. It is a volunteer force; it is a force that is headed by a civilian, who is appointed by an elected member of the government and approved for office by elected Senators of the Legislative branch of government. It is a force that is overseen by the laws of the country. It is not an organization of nepotism; it is not an organization of political power. It is an organization dedicated to service to the nation, a nation with a unique place in the history of mankind.
People in the United States Military have put their lives at risk in Tsunami relief, for which there was no territorial prerogative, no empire to protect, and the local populations were in many ways hostile to the United States. Members of the United States Military died bringing food and supplies to the people of Berlin and Somalia. Were these not noble causes? Members of the US Military died liberating the Philippines from Spain, then the Japanese, only to turn over the assets to the local population. All of Western Germany and Japan have lived under the protection of the United States Military to the point that neither country has much understanding an longer of what a military is used for, and yet, not a dime of German or Japanese tax money from it citizens has ever come to the United States. Would the same have been true if the situation was reversed?
Our nation routinely hands over its captured lands and assets to the local population after the war is over. Nations that have faced their utter destruction by the United States Military in war, often find themselves the recipients of the largess of its people after the war. While we all sit and discuss the construction of the Iraqi constitution, there is a lack of respect for the understanding that it was the men and women of the United States military that has made this miracle in Mesopotamia a reality. Where there was once a murderous dictatorship growing in influence there are now men and women constructing a democracy out of citizens all because of the work and sacrifice of the United States and the noble acts of its men and women in uniform.
Our nation stands in history as an anomaly. It is a Republic and a democracy with no history of a king or royal family, no history of feudal classes. It is a country that routinely turns the highest executive office over to rank amateurs, it?s a country that distrusts political power and has as fundamental part of its government the concept of ?checks and balances? which serve to make governance of the country more difficult, not less.
This nations bloodiest war was not fought in pursuit of empire but fought on its own soil as a civil war over the definition of the boundaries of human rights and liberties. A war that had the odd effect of making the country stronger rather than weaker as most civil wars do. Many times over the history of our nation it has been threatened from outside and within, but the citizens of the nation have always stood by to support it in times of need, despite the sacrifices to themselves.
It?s the first military force in history to engage legal staff prior to any military action to ensure that the rules of engagement meet strict legal interpretation. Members of the US Military undergo hours of review of the legal boundaries of their powers.
The United States Military and its actions in warfare have redefined the rules of engagement for military action around the world. The United States is the only country in the history of mankind to spend billions of dollars making its weapons less destructive. The United States has in its inventory, weapons that are precision guided by satellites and billions of dollars of infrastructure and are capable of hitting targets with an accuracy of just a few feet. And the explosive warhead?; not exotic high explosives but just a 1000 lbs of simple concrete! This allows a pilot of an aircraft to hit an enemy tank sitting in an alleyway and not destroy the buildings with civilians on either side. Most of the world?s military forces would simply destroy the entire block, while only we are unique in having the power to choose not to.
For those who cry the most about the loss of American life in Iraq there is a lack of understanding that our losses to Our side could be far less if we chose to use more aircraft and stand off weapons. The ?battle of Falluja? might have been fought at 10,000 ft and not a single American would have been killed as a result. Most Armies in the world would not have made the choice in how that battle was fought in the same way that we did and only the United States would have been expected to not deploy their strongest weapons in the battle and yet be criticized as ?warmongering? for it.
It is noble to fight for democracy. It is noble to free the oppressed. And this is what our Military forces do; precisely because it is this act of liberation that most protects the country. ?De Oppresso Liber? ? ?To free the oppressed?, the motto of the US Army Green Beret. In my mind, it is every bit as much a motto for the nation as ?E Pluribus Unum:?
There is another question that Cindy Sheehan and her supporters dare not ask and that is ?Should we in the western world, who live in comfort of the liberties that others have secured for us by their blood and toil, remain neutral in the battle between oppression and liberty for the rest of the world??
In my mind, those that back Cindy Sheehan and her protests against her son and his comrades are people that are dealing with a great dilemma, one that they have been wrestling with since 1989, when the modern left officially came to an end with Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall. To me it seems that the leftists are not mad that ?Bush was wrong about Iraq? its that they are scared to death that he may have been right, and as a result they will be judged again by history to have been negligent in their duty to civilization, just as they were in the war against Communism.
What they are angry about is that if the middle east finds liberation, democracy, dignity and human rights at the hands of President Bush, then that makes them the enablers of dictators and genocidal maniacs. They had eight years of a friendly president in office at the end of the ?Cold War? where they thought they could quickly change the world with the ?peace dividend?. What they got instead was the continuation of the policy of enforced negligence to the idea of human liberty and democracy. There are those on the left who really don?t believe in democracy, who say its all a lie, that ?freedom is just another word for nuthin? left to lose?. One of our former presidents, a nobel peace prize winner is routinely a supporter of dictators and thugs who routinely kill thousands of their people in the suppression of their rights. Of course, none of those who say ?democracy is a lie? are from countries where the price for speaking your mind in public is death.
What President Bush is doing is putting an end to the idea that we can look the other way while others are slaughtered wholesale by their governments, so long as we get our cheap oil all the while excusing this act as ?respect for their sovereignty?. He?s got a great deal of momentum too, We?ve had wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we?ve also had peaceful turnarounds in places like Lebanon and Libya. The wind of Democracy has picked up in the middle east and the effect has been to leave the country at less risk than it was while we followed the policy of neglect which Cindy Sheehan wishes to return to. A time when genocide and urban warfare went unnoticed by the left so long as Americans were not involved.
The ?narcissistic pessimists? that populate ?the left? are now in a real fix. Where once they had a large portfolio of ideas on which to propose to all of us on how the world should run, they now find themselves with no new ideas and the old ones having been completely discredited. All they can do now is oppose and rise up in protest in hope that it will take our eyes off the crushing failure that the left has become. My father once described people such as this as those who;? Can?t lead and wont follow? and in the mind of my father, this was amongst the worst things for anyone to be called.
What the left has chosen to do in the war against terrorism is not noble but ignoble. The left has decided that democracy is not worth fighting for, much less dying for, all the while protesting at the top of their lungs those who are bringing freedom and liberty to those who were once oppressed. They are doing this, not in the streets of Damascus or Cairo where there is no freedom and the governments are the very type of dictatorships they accuse President Bush of being, but in sunny Texas, where their rights are assured and the cameras are on 24 hours a day. The left has decided to join forces not with those who are bringing more rights to women or minorities but with the people who oppress the people who ferment democracy. The left has decided all this talk about liberation must be stopped and in particular the cultural idea of the ?liberator? must also be stopped. Once again, they cant win on the battlefield, so they are attempting to change the culture.
This is why Mrs. Sheehan comes dangerously close to referring to her son and the men who fought with him as ?babykillers? while logically bending over backwards to excuse the acts of people who really do kill babies as ?freedom fighters?.
The left is not fighting for you, they are not fighting for the thousands of people who they say ?oppose the war? they are fighting to remain relevant in the world of ideas, yet they have no ideas of their own on which to stand. They say; ?war is not the answer? while not saying what the answer is, or even pointing out what the question is. They say; ?wage peace? as if it was just that simple and had never been tried. But they never say it in a place where their freedom to speak was not purchased by the blood of a member of the United States military. Because of the sacrifices of the men and women of the US Military, Its easy to talk peace in downtown Seattle but if you decide you want to talk peace in Pyongyang or Tehran, be sure to take a Marine and a few of his friends.
We live in an interesting time. We stand within a generation of living in a world where not just the lilly-white privileged people of the western world but all mankind can be free of oppression and live in some form of democracy. There are those who are working to see that day soon come into being, and there are those working to see that it never comes. Don?t let the left and Cindy Sheehan fool you, they couldn?t give a damn if the rest of the world is enslaved or not. Remember ? they don?t believe in freedom and democracy in the first place. And that is the most ignoble thing for a citizen of the United States who lives under the protection of all the rights and privileges it gives to ever believe.