Skip to comments.Onward Christian Soldiers: Are We Liberators or Oppressors?
Posted on 07/07/2003 8:52:22 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback
The picture in the WASHINGTON POST showed two American soldiers kneeling in the sand of Iraq. One had laid his hand on the shoulder of his buddy, trying to comfort him. The soldier was deeply disturbed over the sight of Iraqi children wounded during recent hostilities.
It's one of many pictures that reveal the character of America's armed forces. I think of men like these whenever I hear claims in the news media that American forces in Iraq are nothing more than jackbooted oppressors -- that Muslims see our soldiers as "Christian crusaders" out to destroy them.
Let's think about that for a moment. The men who make up America's military forces are largely Christian. And they did invade a largely Muslim country. So when it comes to those so-called "Christian crusaders," what are Iraqi Muslims witnessing?
During the war, they saw flyers doing everything possible to avoid harming innocent civilians. And there are many stories of our soldiers risking their lives to rescue civilians caught in the crossfire.
After the war, trucks arrived with food and water -- provisions intended, not for American forces, but for Iraqi civilians.
Today, Iraqis are seeing the sort of behavior always witnessed when American GIs show up. Our soldiers are the kind who share their MREs with hungry kids. This week, an Associated Press photo showed a U.S. Army specialist handing out notebooks at a girl's school near Baghdad. A TV camera captured the sight of a young, African American soldier surrounded by grinning Iraqi children as he taught them a silly American song.
Do these sound like "crusaders?"
I love the way the late historian Stephen Ambrose put it. Throughout history, he said, soldiers almost always meant an orgy of looting, pillaging, rape, and even murder. This was certainly the case at the end of World War II when, Ambrose wrote, "The most terrifying sight to most civilians was a squad of armed teenage boys in uniform." Whether it was the Red Army in Warsaw, the Japanese in Manila, or the Germans in Holland, the soldiers meant trouble.
There was one exception to this tragic rule. "Everywhere in the world," Ambrose wrote, "whether in Belgium, the Philippines, Germany, or Japan, the sight of a twelve-man squad of GIs brought joy to people's hearts." Why? "Because the sight of those American kids meant cigarettes, candy, C-rations, and freedom. They had come, not to conquer, but to liberate."
The Muslim citizens of Iran know this -- which is why, according to Thomas Friedman in the NEW YORK TIMES, many are urging America's so-called "Christian crusaders" to come and liberate them.
Our young men and women in uniform are some of the best of America, the cream of our national crop -- taking freedom to people the world over. To paraphrase the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty: Part of America's military mission is to rescue "your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free."
In his State of the Union Address this year, President Bush said, "The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity" -- right. And this Independence Day let's be grateful for our own freedom, and let's especially pray for the safety of our soldiers as they fight for the freedom of others.
If anyone wants on or off my BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.
SrA. United States Air Force
3rd TAC Fighter Wing, 3rd AGS/3rd AMU - Clark AB, PI 86-89
3746 FMS Eglin AFB, Val-p, FL 85-86
512 FMS, DOVER AFB, Dover, DE 83-85
When the American troops came through, the people were starving, boiling "grass soup" and such to stay alive. He said the GI's tossed the kids food, candy etc. just like in the movies.
He said the kindest of them all were the black GIs.
One interesting thing about that photo -- which only came out in subsequent stories -- was why the soldier being comforted in the picture was so distressed. The incident occurred on June 13. The Iraqi children had been injured when they set fire to some explosive powder left over from the hostilities. The soldier in the picture, Sgt. David Borell, called for medical help from the US forces. His request was refused. The official position was that, since the kids were not injured by US action, they were therefore not entitled to US medical aid. Sgt. Borell later said, "I cannot imagine the heartlessness required to look into the eyes of a child in horrid pain and suffering and, with medical resources only a brief trip up the road, ignore their plight as though they are insignificant." Sgt. Borell, from Toledo, Ohio, is a 14 year Army veteran. To the Associated Press, Borell said: "I have never seen in almost 14 years of Army experience anything that callous."
There's a story about the incident in the Casper (WY) Tribune at http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2003/06/27/news/world/09833b7751fae9da54e8ed9d7ac7c1c4.txt
You are correct, sir. Colson's group does great work in prisons both here and overseas. God Bless Chuck Colson and his organization.
As a former TAC head, no wonder you are so good at zotting!
What was your specialty? I was a KC-135 Crew Chief.
379th Bomb Wing (379 FMS) 89-92
380th Air Refuelling Wing (310th ARS Scumbags) 92-94
I've worked on the C-5A/B, 141, 130, F-15, 16, 111, 4, C/D/E/G/ and RC, 5, A-10, T-21, 38, 39.
My last assignment (Clark) Was strictly F-4s, I love that bird!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.