Saturday, January 27, 2007

Keep It Compassionate

I was so horrified by the cynical and shallow advice to troops departing South
Carolina for the Middle East in the sidebar "keep it legal" to “Where
there’s a Will…”, (Friday January 05, 2007, Page B1) by the state newspaper, that I wrote them about it. They, of course declined to publish my letter. I don't mean to give you the impression that they will not publish letters from progressives, they will. So, I am reproducing it here. It seems that the loss of life among our servicemen has become an economic equation, and that isn't right.


There are things much more important, and many of those thing are on the minds of the departing soldiers. Further, the text of some of the suggestions were insensitive and callous; “$500,000 is at risk if a guard member is killed in action”, for example, or counseling marriage because it will be worth more money is another. As a fellow member of the human race, I resent these brave men and women being reduced to dollars and cents. People back home lose children, spouses and lovers, parents, siblings and friends when a serviceman is killed in action. The world loses a precious life, and all of us are diminished. So, I would like to offer alternate advice for those going overseas.

Advice for National Guard members deploying overseas:
1. Keep your head low
2. Keep you weapon clean
3. Watch your buddy’s back
4. Hug your babies and kiss your wives; now reverse, then seek out your parents and repeat.
5. Don’t do anything stupid just because some guy, safely tucked away in a hotel in Kuwait thinks it is a good idea.
6. Contact your Congressmen and Senators and prevail on them to end this foolish war so no more of your classmates and new friends and Iraqi children have to die to inflate the ego of a madman that could do with a little bit of humility. (Warning: this step may be pointless in South Carolina).
7. Come back to us in one piece. When you get back, don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Get whatever help you need from friends and neighbors and counselors to deal with the horrors you have seen. Too many of you have watched your life disintegrate when you got back.


Indifference is the most harmful attitude we can take. We live too easily with the deaths and maimings in Iraq, the executions throughout the country, the torture and illicit incarceration in our name, those dying of starvation and AIDS and unsafe living conditions. These are our brothers and sisters; we MUST stand up for them.

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