No, it’s not what you think.
Think, instead, about a defense.
I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Billmon. He mentioned that he had read an article by Dr. David Hilfiker, of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT). So why is this interesting, and why am I telling you about it?
Because Dr. Hilfiker visited my unit here in Balad, in a quest to see how Coalition Forces were treating detainees. His group, CPT, is one of many human rights groups that have opened up shop here in Iraq since the war began.
I’m not going to talk about CPT’s visit, or what happened. That’s not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is to talk about me.
I wrote Billmon with my account (however removed), of what happened. He posted my email to him on his blog, and the gates were opened. His commenters, for the most part, are a civil lot (unlike the guys who patrol, say, Little Green Footballs or Free Republic). Bit by bit, a pattern emerged:
1. There’s no way an Army NCO wrote that email; it’s too literate.
2. A guy who wrote that must be in PsyOps.
3. There’s no way the guy is a leftie; he must be a troll for the CIA/NSA/the Gnomes of Zurich
Well, you get the visual. Those of you in the comment thread who stood up for my, well, erudition, I thank you.
I’m not in PsyOps. I’m not in Army Intel. I’m not with the CIA/NSA, and I haven’t spoken with the The Man recently. (Kidding. I was kidding. I haven’t spoken with The Man at all. Swear.)
Look, I am who I am. I’m a soldier. I choose to post anonymously because there’s a long tradition of being apolitical in the Armed Forces, and my opinions (which I post here) are political. So I choose not to mix the two. Believe me, it’s better that way. You don’t want a political military.
I am, if anything, an RFK/JFK liberal. I’m fiscally conservative, socially liberal. I happen to think America’s a pretty nifty country, and I base my opinion on having lived and visited several other countries. I believe in a strong defense, and I’m proud to be a soldier. I happen to think that America belongs to us, just as much as it belongs to those who would cynically wrap themselves in red, white and blue. I’m not going to apologize for any of that.
I happen to believe that the Perfect is the enemy of the Good. There is a disturbing tendency, among my lefty friends, to exalt the perfect, and demonize the good, which only serves to have us wind up with the bad.
I’d like to ask my lefty friends: whose foreign policy should America emulate? Britains’? France’s? China’s? Germany’s? Russia’s? Whose? And why? Do we think that any of those countries, based on past performance, would have done any better than America in Iraq? And if so, why?
Do we really think that America is such a sinister country? If so, then what is it in comparison to? Canada? Australia? Gabon? Please tell me. I’d like to know.
I know some of you will read this, and answer the questions by listing all the many bad things that America has done. Fine. That’s your prerogative. But for every bad thing that America has done, I can think of things just as heinous that other countries have done. Canada, with its treatment of the Inuits. Australia & New Zealand, with the Aborigines and Maoris. Britain. France. Germany. On down the line.
Others will read this and remain convinced that I am but a tool of The Man’s, sent to sow fear, doubt and uncertainty among the righteous few. Again, fine. That’s your prerogative.
I hope that some of you, however, will read this, and decide that I am what I say I am, and choose to join with me. Choose to rise up with me, as we labor together to make this a better country than what it is today. We are America, all of us. We were great once; can we not be great again? We cannot be, if we are divided. We choose to unite because we love America, and the idea of her.
I am proud to serve, not a political agenda, but a great nation. I want to continue to serve. Help me serve.