Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Our Thin Green Line

I watched Blackhawk Down tonight. It is the first time I’ve seen it since it was in the theater.

Remember that we went into Somalia to prevent the Somalis from dying in the hundreds of thousands from starvation.

We sent in inadequately armored forces—the real armor scandal in our recent history.

And remember that the Somali Moslems hated our guts and killed nineteen of our troops in that battle as we tried to stabilize the country so famine would not be a weapon in that country again.

Recall, too, that this hatred was well before the cowboy President Bush alienated the Moslem world by defending ourselves from Islamist nutball terrorists. Indeed, it was during our sensitive administration that should have inspired respect, love, and friggin’ happy thoughts about America.

And goddamn remember that we sent in young men with superb training, loyalty to their comrades, and faith in America to fight in that worthless piece of land that wasn’t worth the bones of a single West Virginian grenadier. And they fought superbly, bringing honor to our country and killing perhaps a thousand of the attackers in the process. And they got out of the trap that sprung around them while bringing out the targets they were sent in to capture. Two D-boys earned Medals of Honor that day—posthumously.

It was an epic battle. But it took place in a “peace operation” where we had no national security interests to defend. Shortly thereafter, we pulled out completely. So few Americans remember what our Rangers and Delta Force soldiers accomplished that day.

My God, that such men (and women) still fight and die for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am humbled that such men stand between us at home and thugs abroad who would cheer if they could kill millions of us.

So in light of all this, to those in this country who speak ill of our troops while taking the word of our enemies at face value, wishing for our defeat in battle: Screw all of them.

And remember this, too. After the battle, one Somali judge was bewildered that we did not go after Aidid's faction after we decimated them in the battle. We had them on the ropes, he said. Aidid was nearly out of ammunition. The Somali gave his friend a firm warning:

"You know, Ken, if you were out of ammunition, Aidid would never stop fighting. You know that, right?" He was pounding my arm again. "You know that, right?"

America can’t let down our soldiers. Remember that in war, it is difficult to see how bad the enemy is hurt while we see every scrape and bruise on our side. Don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Not when our enemies won’t stop fighting if we don’t win. We know that. Right?