Wednesday - July 25, 2007

Category Image I Know the American Fighting Man

I know the American fighting man. He is tough. He is motivated. He understands why we're fighting. He understands the evil we confront. He knows we must win.


The American fighting man is a winner. No matter the odds, I've seen him mount up on his vehicle and seek out the enemy time after time.

The American fighting man isn't stopped by anything save death. In the military hospitals you can see him, mangled, burned, mutilated, disemboweled, dismembered, wounded in every way imagineable. But I've yet to see one broken.

Talk to him, he is proud. Watch him, he is unbowed.

The only person as brave as the American fighting man is his American woman.

I am moved to tears by the women that are visiting their men in the military hospitals. Their husband, boyfriend, brother or son is mangled, burned, mutilated, disemboweled, dismembered, or wounded in any way imagineable but they are there with him. They don't recoil in horror. They don't sob and cry at the sight of their changed man. They reach down and pull out the courage to smile and be happy. The man isn't a fool, he knows his condition is serious, but the smile of the woman in his life in his hospital room helps him keep his courage. Sometimes he is lucid, sometimes he is drugged and barely conscious, but he knows his mother, sister, or lover is there and soothing his mind.

He is brave, but she makes him braver by supporting him. I've seen this many times. I see these men and I struggle to find words to say. What should you say to a man whos face looks like a ghastly skeleton because all his skin, nose and ears are burned off. I've seen the look of horror in others' faces when they walk into the room wearing sterile gowns. But their woman always seems to do or say something just right to make him keep a hold of his courage and the power he has inside him.

That he has been hurt is cause for sorrow, for him, for his woman, for us. No matter the advances of our medicine, he can never be whole again. I see these men and wonder what will become of them that survive for twenty more years. Will we remember them and what they endured? Will we shuffle them off to a rest home, alone but for the company of government caretakers? Will their woman leave them when the novelty of their condition wears off and they are confronted with the reality of unending need?

Surely some or all of these men over time will have cause to wonder at their fate. How can we as a nation tell these men that their agony was all for nothing? How can we know that we could have done more to make a difference in this world by winning this war, and yet decide to quit before winning -- knowing that we did not even try very hard.
We have two generations of bitter veterans from Korea and Viet Nam. We never made a commitment to winning those wars and thus lost them. In Korea we were afraid the Chinese might fight us, even though the Chinese were already fighting us. In Viet Nam we were worried the Soviets might fight us even though the Soviets were already fighting us.

Now we are worried that more Islamic nations will fight us, when they are already fighting us. Iran is fighting us, but we are reluctant to openly fight Iran.

The American fighting man is brave. His woman is brave. Are the American people brave enough to do enough to win? Or will we all just avert our eyes in shame when we meet those that were hurt by the enemy, afraid to admit that we as a people are too cowardly to be fighters who want to win?100_1617.png

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