Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Air Time for Casey Sheehan 

First, go to Blackfive and read about Casey Sheehan -- the kind of man he was, and the circumstances surrounding his death in Iraq. Do it now -- I'll wait.

Welcome back. I agree with Michelle Malkin's reader that Casey should be getting a lot more air time. Certainly more than his mother Cindy, this summer's anti-Bush darling of the MSM.

Some observations: For all the wailing by Cindy about how she lost her child (and I don't intend to diminish her loss or her grief here), the fact is that Casey Sheehan was a grown man, 20 years of age, when he first enlisted in the Army in 2000 -- in case you need reminding, that was before September 11. By all accounts he was intelligent, serious and level-headed. Moreover, he re-upped at the age of 24 after first-hand experience with military life. Whatever his state of mind when he first enlisted (he couldn't have been swept up in post-9/11 patriotic fervor), he certainly knew what the Army was about when he signed on for a second tour, and he certainly knew that the odds were much better than even that he would go to Iraq.

My point here is that Casey Sheehan was no wide-eyed naif when he first enlisted. There's no indication (other than his mother's rantings) that he was seduced by glowing descriptions of military life, nor that he was lied to by his recruiter or his military superiors. It is particularly noteworthy that he volunteered to go on the rescue mission where he met his death, knowing the dangers and knowing that he was not a combat-trained infantryman. Casey had courage, and it is a credit to his parents that they raised a man like him.

Some commentator made the point that the lefties backing Cindy Sheehan are always trying to portray our soldiers in Iraq as babes in the woods who signed up for military service with stars in their eyes, believing that they'd never see combat and seduced by evil recruiters with promises of glory and learning a trade. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I live near several military installations, and I grew up as a military dependent. I know from my own experience that the young people who enlist in today's military go in with full realization that they are entering a dangerous profession, and they do so willingly because they believe in the United States of America and what it stands for. They are not the conscript force of the Vietnam era -- they are smart, motivated, well-trained and disciplined (in the sense that all real discipline comes from within). Those who portray these courageous young people as romantic know-nothings who need to be protected from their own decisions do them a grave disservice, and don't deserve to be beneficiaries of their sacrifices.

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