A Band Of Brothers

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I had been inclined to not write about Andy Rooney’s column of today in which he declared that

Treating soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it. But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home,

and that

We must support our soldiers in Iraq because it’s our fault they’re risking their lives there. However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes.

But, something changed. What changed? I watched “Band of Brothers” on the History Channel. If you haven’t seen it, tune in tomorrow night at 9pm EDT.

Rooney starts off by asking several questions.

1. Do you think your country did the right thing sending you into Iraq?

2. Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed?

3. Do the orders you get handed down from one headquarters to another, all far removed from the fighting, seem sensible, or do you think our highest command is out of touch with the reality of your situation?

4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take?

5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you?

In questions two through four, I get the impression that Andy believes the second part of the questions.

Andy, as you probably know, was in World War II, as a solider or reporter — I’m not sure which. But Andy, like many on the left, has fallen for a liberal construct that is erroneous and disgusting.

They treat WWII as the last legitimate American war. All wars since that time have been, to one degree or another, illegitimate wars re-enforced by the ultimate illegitimate war – Vietnam.

Because all wars are illegitimate, soldiers who fight in them – particularly for us since this is an Ameriocentric syndrome – are not legitimately allowed to be thought of as “soldiers,” a word of glory and honor. We may call them that, but they did not and do not fight in WWII, so they are not really worthy of what that word is suppose to mean.

Once the left officially delegitimized all post WWII military actions, they were free to downplay the significance of soldiers. Here we see Andy Rooney doing it.

But, the truth remains that, as in WWII, the men and women fighting in Iraq are average Americans who felt compelled to defend the country. Yeah Andy – some of them did want to join for the extra money, not to go to war. But, they still went. They still died. They still prevailed.

There were a number of people who fought in WWII who didn’t go voluntarily. All of the men and women fighting in Iraq went voluntarily. The voluntary sacrifice of a domestic life and home to fight for the country and, possibly, to die for the country warrants the title “Hero.”

Soldiers shouldn’t be humanized like Andy wants to do because they are like us, but they stand apart from us. They are a paradox. They are no greater that us, but they are greater than us. As Andy says,

They behave like people – sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful.

But, isn’t that the point? They are people, but they are people willing to die that others might be free. They were willing to go when we were not. They are both us, but more than us at the same time.

That is why they are heroes. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

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Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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