Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Members Speak Out
Courage in many forms.
Speaking out and speaking up is the courageous act and duty of citizens.
Here's an example - from a special blogger from a special group of American Citizens:
Thanks to Thomas Barton and GI Special
The writer identifies himself as "Soldier X" and in writing to "SPC Y" (who is questioning his own role as a soldier).
"X" first talks about entry into the military and subsequent assignment from Kosovo to the Middle East. Following that, we read a chronicle of his introspection; the evolution of awareness of his own role as a citizen soldier and - ultimately - the start-up of his own efforts to speak out.
I joined the Army a month before Sept. 11th to get out of the dead end rut I managed into back in Colorado.
My father was a Vietnam Vet who, after retiring from 20 long years as an engineer, died from cancer that was cause by Agent Orange exposure in Nam. Joining the service is something I vowed never to do. But, I was a high school drop out going into his mid twenties and I started to panic that the doorway of opportunities was snapping shut.
...I was deployed in Kosovo when the war kicked off in Iraq. Actually I was on leave from Kosovo headed home for two weeks of R&R. I was on lay over at Dallas/Ft.Worth airport as Bush's 48 hour threat for Saddam's surrender ran out and Bradleys started crossing the line.
As I watched Baghdad exploding on TV the people all around me were on their feet cheering like the Cowboys just won the super bowl.
I sunk in my chair. I wished I could rip my BDUs off. I felt sick.
I had a gut feeling things were a bit foul. And, as the war continued on during those two weeks, I gathered a good deal of literature on the subject of war and peace and the middle-east. I filled a duffel bag full of books and when I returned to Kosovo I began to educate myself on American policy and why other countries might hate us.
I started to see America from the outside in. Have you ever seen a home movie of yourself and realized how ridiculous you acted, looked or sounded? That was my new perception of America. I was embarrassed and humbled. But, I also realized that I was what I was. I had a responsibility to change what I could.
...The writings helped in many ways.
First it was a coping mechanism to deal with the rage and emotions I felt about the war. It just felt good to rant.
Second it provided me a way that I felt my taking part in the war could be justified.
Like, if I was a witness for many people in the real world than there was one good reason to be there.
Third it gave me a connection to the outside world and that was what may have kept me sane in the end.
Few of us are in a position to know precisely what would happen could a survey be taken among the troops with an expectation of honest and open responses as to true feelings about Iraq.
A significant portion of our military citizens are - almost by definition - what I would call in a respectful way "institutional patriots" whose duty is in many ways a formalized and constant version of what the rest of us would do only if enemy boots hit the ground in the United States.
You can hear, in their proud recitations of the good things being done in Iraq and individual relationships between Iraquis and themselves, the pride of ownership of their own American citizenship.
Yet citizen opinion within the enlisted ranks remains highly varied. Although the risk of suppression, ostracism, alienation or out and out retribution is there for speaking out against the President and/or the government, there are those soldiers whose courage not only helps drive their Humvee's but their voices as well.