10 years ago
I talked with a friend tonight about the Haditha incident. His perspective (somewhat embellished here by me) is what I believe to be the perspective of most common men in America.
The common man tires of hearing the endless drum beat of anti-American slander and propaganda from the far left. It is to him — well, let’s go ahead and say it — not manly. To be sure, he is a part of or has a family, and asked in the abstract, would have no part of killing unarmed non-combatants just because of rage. However, he doesn’t believe that this happened. Not in Haditha, not anywhere in Iraq … not until proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The United States Marines are our finest, and they deserve not only our respect (which is easy), but our forbearance and patience. They deserve grace.
See, in the abstract, we go to work, wrestle with our bosses and co-workers, stop at the grocery store on the way home, hug our wives, eat our meals, knock around the house for a while and then sleep until it is time to do it again. Answers to moral questions are easy when we sleep in comfortable beds after eating tasty dinners in a protected home. In reality, the Marines do not know if they will live or die tomorrow. They do not know what awaits them around even the next corner. They eat MREs out of disposable containers. They go on patrols to find an enemy that may be among the very people they are trying to protect. They know at any time, an IED might explode and turn over their Humvee, instantly killing the gunner and maiming some of their brothers. Tomorrow they might face bullets coming their direction having left the muzzle of the enemy’s rifle at two thousand feet per second. They might get to see their loved ones again, and they might not.
They do it all for us … because of love and service and protection and honor and courage and commitment and family and religion … and all the things that make America great and the U.S. Marines the very best of a great nation. To say that we owe them a debt of gratitude is to make an understatement to the point of embarrassment. It is because of the Marines that we are free.
Bad things happen in war. Horrible things. It sounds like something terrible happened that day in Haditha. Families died who should otherwise be alive. But based on what we know about the insurgents, and most importantly, based on what we know about the Marines, we strongly suspect that the America-hater’s account of things is just not quite right. We suspect that there was a fight that day, and we suspect that the Marines defended themselves. Further, we expect Marines to defend themselves. We would not have it any other way. When a Marine feels threatened, we do not expect him to act in any other way but to attack the enemy and defend his brothers.
When these Marines defended themselves, we strongly suspect that whatever collateral damage was done, was done by the insurgents. We do not for a moment believe — especially without evidence — that the Marines wantonly created collateral damage. And regardless of what happens tomorrow with this case, we believe that the Marines deserve grace. After all, bullets were flying, explosions were happening, Marines were being hurt and killed, and tired, hungry and battle-weary Marines reacted as they are taught to.
At any rate, this is what we suspect. And this is our perspective. We are the common man in America.