Facts vs. Fiction
A report from the front in Iraq
By Karl Zinsmeister
(Article taken from The American Enterprise: March 2006 edition)
John Kerry recently claimed U.S. soldiers are "terrorizing" Iraqis. The #2 Democrat in the Senate, Richard Dubrin, compared American fighters to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings." Ted Kennedy suggested G.I.s torture like Saddam Hussein. What have you observed?
None of the above. I mostly see soldiers fighting with startling care and commitment. Take, for instance, Staff Sergeant Jamie McIntyre of Queens, New York, who recently had this to say:
"I look at faces and see fellow human beings, and I say, 'O.K. This is the sacrifice I have to make to bring them freedom.' That's why I joined the military. Not for the college money, for doing what's right. Fighting under our flag. That's what our flag stands for. I believe in that stuff. Yeah, we might lose American soldiers, but they are going to lose a society, lose a people. You've got to look at the bigger picture. I've lost friends, and it hurts. It definitely hurts. But that's even more reason why I say Stay. It's something that has to be done. If we don't do it, who will?"
An e-mail I received on December 26 from a friend serving in Baghdad provides two good examples of the sort of disciplined dedication one sees regularly in Iraq:
"We lost a young soldier...This soldier didn't have to be here and he didn't have to die on Christmas Day. He was wounded in action in April and evacuated to the States for recovery. After three months on the mend, he requested to come back to rejoin his team. His name was Specialist Sergio Gudino.
"Also on Christmas Day, a newly hired Iraqi interpreter pulled a gun on one of our soldiers who works with sensitive intelligence. The Iraqi spy made Specialist Steven Clark bring him to his work space so he could look at his computer work station. The interpreter briefly turned his back to Clark and our guy immediately pulled his 9mm pistol and emptied his magazine into the Iraqi. The interpreter also got six shots off, one of which hit the soldier in his left breast pocket, but a notebook and ID card stopped the bullet. When I talked to Clark he said, 'I thought I was going to die and couldn't believe it when the guy turned his back to me.' Interesting detail: this soldier has been awarded the Pruple Heart FOUR times. He's another one who doesn't have to be here. Message to all the naysayers back home: If you think these kids aren't committed to this mission, and don't believe in what they are doing, guess again."