Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bringing them home

Fox News is reporting that the bodies of the men who died over the weekend in Afghanistan are beginning to arrive at Dover Air Force Base.  Reports are that the Chinook helicopter they were in was hit with RPG fire and crashed, killing everyone aboard.

The news of the death of these young men was shocking.  To lose so many dedicated and talented people at once is a blow to the gut.  I wasn't a member of the special operations community, not by a long shot, but I was lucky enough to serve with some who had served in that capacity and I supported SOF units on occasion.  The overwhelming majority of the folks I met and worked with were professional and dedicated. All of them were volunteers many times over, and they will be sorely missed.

The media feeding frenzy over what this loss means to the war effort and especially the talk in the open press about the condition of the bodies and the effect that has on the ability of the press to photograph the homecoming disgusts me.  The country as a whole, and the families of the fallen in particular, do not need nor want the media to make this into a circus.

I listened to "Dark Secret Place" the other day, and Brian Suits had a good comment:  In combat, the enemy gets a vote.  Our country has been convinced that we can fight a war without hurting people or incurring casualties, and that is one of the most horrendous lies I've ever heard.  Every death or wound is horrible, but our military is trained, equipped, and led well enough that our casualties have been incredibly light when compared to other wars we have fought.  Even with all that, casualties have happened and will happen again.  We need to be mature enough to recognize that so that when they do happen we don't immediately lose our resolve.  Convincing Americans that wars can be done without paying for them in blood only encourages them to unnecessarily go to war.

The media needs to back off, let the families grieve, and stop trying to use this tragedy as a lever to pry the eyes of the public away from the competition or to influence our leaders.  The war is not going to be abandoned because of this, more young people are going to be hurt or die, and we will eventually find a way to bring all of them home.

To the men and women, especially those who have shed their blood for us, I say thank you.  To the families of the fallen, you are already in my families prayers.  For the media, I will pray for your souls, as I believe that you don't have much regard for their worth.

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