Sunday, June 12, 2011

America at War

Major weather front moved in a few days ago and produced grape sized hail at our house. When we ran out to the sun room to close the windows, the sound of the hail bouncing off the roof was deafening. When I ran outside to close my wife's car windows there were hard, cold, white bits of hail in the front and back seats. Such strange weather.

A friend of mine recently gave me two audio books to listen to while delivering papers. Both concerned instances which have occurred during the War in Afghanistan. "The Horse Soldiers" tells of the initial phases of the war when special op troops were deployed to assist the Afghan nationals in their war on the Taliban. This campaign of directed bombing of targets identified by these on the ground, special op warriors produced a series of incredibly swift and successful victories and eventually led to President Bush's infamous declaration that major warfare in Afghanistan was over. It is an inspiring tale of American warfare superiority and individual fortitude and heroism.

The second story is called "Lone Survivor". It takes place in 2005, two years after then President Bush's speech (see above). It details the Navy SEAL operation which claimed the lives of three of the four SEALS, then also led to the loss of life for a few dozen more special op forces helicoptered in during a rescue attempt of the original four. While it does not depict American military might in a winning form, it is an amazing recount of the bravery, courage and character of the Navy SEAL program in general and the four SEALS in particular who fought against overwhelming odds on that lonely mountaintop.

I enjoyed both audio books. They provided info on the war in Afghanistan of which I was not aware while also reminding me of the unbelievable men (and women) who comprise our military, and in particular our special ops forces. You see, it is possible for a liberal who believes that war is wrong and should be avoided at all costs to still admire the people who are asked to fight for our country. The horrible way we treated the Vietnam veterans as if it was their decision to fight that terribly wasteful war should never be repeated. The American soldier is your brother, sister, neighbor, co-worker, son or daughter, a band of patriots who so love our country and what it represents that they are willing to die for it, and whether the war they die fighting is popular or unpopular, their sacrifice is the same and should be recognized as such. As an American, I would hope we remember this when we feel the desire to castigate someone in the military, and as a liberal I expect I will always believe that the best way for me to support these American heroes is to get them home.

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