Rob, thanks for sending me the link to the Bill O'Reilly piece on "Stop-Loss." While it's not every day that I see eye-to-eye with Mr. O'Reilly, I certainly dig this column as it more or less dovetails with my original "Stop-Loss" entry. Here's the link: http://www.billoreilly.com/column?pid=23227
Also, my apologies to readers if my 1 April entry seemed defensive. I just saw "comment deleted by author" and (wrongly) assumed the worst -- someone had posted something controversial, had second thoughts, and then scrubbed it. I made an ASS out of U and ME as it was, in the end, just a technical glitch that caused that. To wit, if there's anything I want to with this blog, it's encourage free and open debate. I throw a lot of my own views out there but definitely don't want to discourage dissent. I will almost always try to respond to comments, either to agree, disagree, or spur on more ideas.
But back to "Stop-Loss" for a second. Over beers tonight at the VFW, I mentioned this film and got some people pretty fired up. Here's why: one of the guys we were with (I'll call him 'Evan') was seriously wounded in Iraq. I won't go into details but suffice to say that one moment he was in northern Iraq and the next (as far as he knew) he was laying on a hospital bed in Germany. Well, get this -- after fully recovering at a veterans' hospital in the U.S., Evan changed his reserve unit affiliation in order to hide the injury (his old unit already knew, of course, but his new one wouldn't). Why did he do this? So he could return if needed. His old unit never would have allowed it, but he basically maneuvered around the system to remain deployable. The mainstream media, Hollywood, and the Harry Reid types in the Senate wouldn't touch his story with a ten-foot pole. They'll just keep insulting veterans and maligning the Bush Administration over decisions that were made in 2003 that are, frankly, irrelevant in 2008.
Here was the other really neat thing about tonight -- I got to speak in-depth with a guy who just got back from twelve months in Kosovo and had nothing but good things to say about what we're doing over there which is, literally, nation-building in the truest sense. Kosovo, by the way, is a National Guard-owned mission, so I have a great chance of getting over there once I make that transition.
Just remember this -- the next time someone accuses America, or the American military in particular, of having some sort of anti-Islamic agenda, just throw one word back at them: Kosovo. Because not only did we intervene on two major occasions to save Muslim lives in the Balkans in the 1990s, but we midwifed a European Muslim-majority nation (one of three now, along with Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina) very much against the will of other Great Powers, mainly Russia, a decade later. Kosovo is still fragile but the (quiet) efforts of the U.S. military are helping it to develop democratic institutions and rule of law now.
One last note here -- I just want to remind readers to pause today to think about Mike Monsoor's Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH). Bear in mind that before earning the CMH, Monsoor had already earned the Silver Star (Valorous) and the Bronze Star (Valorous) for completely unrelated service. So far in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), there have been four CMH winners, all posthumous. The three from Iraq are SFC Paul Smith, Cpl. Jason Dunham, and PO2 Monsoor. The one from Afghanistan is LT Murphy. With the two Somalia CMH earners KIA in OCT 93 (Shughart and Gordon), that means we still haven't had a living CMH recipient since Vietnam.