My brother with Iraqi children, circa 2005
(I wrote this post in 2005--and I'm not even quite sure what Cindy Sheehan is doing nowadays--but many things in this post still resonate.)
Now, wait a minute. I'm not saying I agree with Cindy Sheehan. It seems to me that she's being used by liberal groups to push forward their own agendas. (Read Margaret Carlson's The Co-opting of Cindy Sheehan, Grieving Mom).
Even her family members have reportedly said that she's dishonoring the memory of her soldier son, who died in Iraq. And she appears to be pretty inconsistent in her comments about President Bush.
I'm a conservative, pro-Bush, God-fearing, patriotic American woman. But I admit, a small part of my heart grieves every time I hear about another American soldier being killed in Iraq. I'm not about to go out and join the candlelight vigils, although the war is in my prayers every night. I'm not like Cindy Sheehan in a lot of ways.
However, we do share something in common--besides the fact that we have the same first name and we're about the same age.
Cindy Sheehan had someone in Iraq that she loved, and she lost him. I have someone in Iraq that I love, and I don't want to lose him.
I've mentioned here that my brother David is a cop and former Marine (Desert Storm veteran) who is in Iraq voluntarily, training Iraqi police officers. Frankly, I'm terrified for my brother. I lost my dad a year ago, and I don't want to lose my only brother.
I said as much to him in an e-mail the other day. David had sent out a bulk e-mail, letting all of us know about the death of an American man in his unit.
When I responded, expressing my fear and wishes that he would come home, I hit "reply all"--so everyone on David's list saw my stark, raw emotion.
And David also hit "reply all" when he sent me this response. Strong though some of his wording may be (remember, once a Marine, always a Marine,)I think it shows the mindset of people like him who think they are in Iraq for good and necessary reasons,
"_______________ [the American man who was killed] risked his life, knowing the risk, in order to train Iraqi Counter Terrorist Special Forces. My intent of passing the news on is to let everyone think about the fact that there are thousands of Iraqis who are putting their lives on the line every day to see democracy flourish in their country.
" So while France, and Germany have stood aside in helping the war on terror, America has found an ally in many of the Iraqi people who like the Americans, brave any risk to fight the war on terror. Let the liberal think of the American and Pro freedom Iraqi blood that still stains the soil of this country before thinking of stopping before success.
"Now is not the time to stop the fight. Let us not walk away from those we have given a taste of freedom, the promise of democracy, and the hope of a better future for their children.
"This is a noble cause. Just as our country's founders didn't shy from the unpleasantry of war to forge freedom in our country, neither should our country back down to the Muslim Extremist that bombed our country, hate our Christ, and our freedom. Let them all come here, all the Jihadist and Mujahadeen, the unholy warriors and suicidal fanatics of Muslim extremism. The haters of Christianity, Judaism, peace and freedom Arabs and Democracy. Come to us O enemies of freedom, come to Iraq and let your rat-like blood spill in the streets on the ground of Iraq so that the seeds of freedom and international security can be watered by it, and the dogs can be made fat by your flesh.
" Let them come one and all here to Iraq, the arena, the field of battle, rather than to my homeland. Let every American warror that loves freedom come and stand alongside the American military, police, security professionals and Iraqi Nationals that are ready shed their blood on this soil fighting terrorism. The Muslim extremist come from countries far and wide to kill the guardians of freedom here. Let us as Americans reach for the indomitable courage and intestinal fortitude that has made our country great, and unlike the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, the Kurdish uprising against Saddam, carry out the mission we began.
David closed with this quote:
Whoever does not have the stomach for this fight, let him depart. Give him money to speed his departure since we wish not to die in that mans company. Whoever lives past today and comes home safely wiil rouse himself every year on this day, show his neighbor his scars, and tell embellished stories of all their great feats of battle. These stories will teach his son, and from this day until the end of the world we shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for who has shed his blood with me shall be my brother. And those men afraid to go will think themselves lesser men as they hear of how we fought and died together." --Shakespeare's Henry V
Will this rhetoric, although eloquent and heartfelt, be any comfort if my brother dies in Iraq? Frankly, probably not. But at least I will know that he believed very strongly in what he was doing there. And I would not dishonor his memory by protesting what he believed in so passionately.
In the meantime, I pray daily for God's shield of protection on his life.
(Originally posted August 18, 2005)