Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not David Gregory's Kind of Courage

Must reading.

Have you ever seen a man turned to mush? A man with a wife and kids. An educated man who spoke several languages. A man who long knew the leader of his country was vicious and who joined the enemies of the leader. A man in his 40s who voted in his first election only a few months before?

It is easy to opine about abuse and torture and rules of engagement on paper, thousands of miles away from the crack of an AK or the bone jarring concussion from a shaped charge or when you have never looked into the eyes of a terrorist who has sawed the head off another human.

Have you ever stood on a narrow ribbon of asphalt on a 110 degree day in Al Anbar?

Have you ever seen your roomate bleeding out on that narrow ribbon of asphalt? Then minutes later, finding the man who detonated the bomb hiding in a building filled with South African tank rounds and pagers?

What would you do if you had?

hat tip, the Blogfather.

When I watched 'Ali', an Iraqi national working with the Marines, being pulled out of a smoking humvee, his body charred and limbs hanging by threads the world changed for me. For if the bomb had gone off a minute earlier, it would have been me they pulled out of that smoldering humvee. My limbs would have been dangling. And the Marines would have seen me turned into mush.

You see, it is easy condemn extremely tough interrogation techniques, rough handling of detainees and use of force exceeding the rules of engagement from 8,000 miles away where your decisions hold no weight and the responsibility for your decisions affect no lives.

Imagine for a moment, you were charged with protecting the lives of 300,000,000 people. Could you even handle that responsiblity?


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