This is an archive of the old Stones Cry Out site. For the current site, click here.

« Hugh Hewitt Exposes the Mainstream Media | Main | Great Sunday Evening Read »

July 30, 2005

New American Warriors

New Americans: At War in Mosul (HT: Instapundit)
[Photo credit: Deuce Four; after ceremony in Baghdad]

Deuce Four's newest Americans:

Front row Left to Right
SPC Saroth Muth (Cambodia)
SPC David Floutier (England)
SPC Hugo Juarez (Mexico)
SPC Evans Martin (Antigua)
SPC Octavio Rodriguez (Mexico)

Back row Left to Right
SGT Ringsey Khin (Cambodia)
SPC Abdel Phipps (Jamaica)
SGT Collin Campbell (Trinidad)
SPC Bosco Jerez (Nicaragua)
SPC Jose Alvarado (Honduras)
SPC Moises Medina (Mexico)

These guys were dodging and taking bullets for you and me before they were citizens. May God bless them and keep them safe.

If you aren’t reading Michael Yon regularly, you are missing out.

Posted by Rick at July 30, 2005 03:27 PM

Trackback Pings


Something to keep in mind.

"At most, 500,000 American troops are at risk of being deployed to these war theaters at some time. Assume that for each of them some 20 members of the wider family sweat with fear when they hear that a helicopter crashed in Afghanistan or that X number of soldiers or Marines were killed or seriously wounded in Iraq. It implies that no more than 10 million Americans have any real emotional connection to these wars.

The administration and Congress have gone to extraordinary lengths to insulate voters from the money cost of the wars -- to the point even of excluding outlays for them from the regular budget process. Furthermore, they have financed the wars not with taxes but by borrowing abroad.

The strategic shielding of most voters from any emotional or financial sacrifice for these wars cannot but trigger the analogue of what is called "moral hazard" in the context of health insurance, a field in which I've done a lot of scholarly work. There, moral hazard refers to the tendency of well-insured patients to use health care with complete indifference to the cost they visit on others. It has prompted President Bush to advocate health insurance with very high deductibles. But if all but a handful of Americans are completely insulated against the emotional -- and financial -- cost of war, is it not natural to suspect moral hazard will be at work in that context as well?

A policymaking elite whose families and purses are shielded from the sacrifices war entails may rush into it hastily and ill prepared, as surely was the case of the Iraq war. Moral hazard in this context can explain why a nation that once built a Liberty Ship every two weeks and thousands of newly designed airplanes in the span of a few years now takes years merely to properly arm and armor its troops with conventional equipment. Moral hazard can explain why, in wartime, the TV anchors on the morning and evening shows barely make time to report on the wars, lest the reports displace the silly banter with which they seek to humor their viewers. Do they ever wonder how military families with loved ones in the fray might feel after hearing ever so briefly of mayhem in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Moral hazard also can explain why the general public is so noticeably indifferent to the plight of our troops and their families. To be sure, we paste cheap magnetic ribbons on our cars to proclaim our support for the troops. But at the same time, we allow families of reservists and National Guard members to slide into deep financial distress as their loved ones stand tall for us on lethal battlefields and the family is deprived of these troops' typically higher civilian salaries. We offer a pittance in disability pay to seriously wounded soldiers who have not served the full 20 years that entitles them to a regular pension. And our legislative representatives make a disgraceful spectacle of themselves bickering over a mere $1 billion or so in added health care spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs -- in a nation with a $13 trillion economy!

Last year kind-hearted folks in New Jersey collected $12,000 at a pancake feed to help stock pantries for financially hard-pressed families of the National Guard. Food pantries for American military families? The state of Illinois now allows taxpayers to donate their tax refunds to such families. For the entire year 2004, slightly more than $400,000 was collected in this way, or 3 cents per capita. It is the equivalent of about 100,000 cups of Starbucks coffee. With a similar program Rhode Island collected about 1 cent per capita. Is this what we mean by 'supporting our troops'?

When our son, then a recent Princeton graduate, decided to join the Marine Corps in 2001, I advised him thus: 'Do what you must, but be advised that, flourishing rhetoric notwithstanding, this nation will never truly honor your service, and it will condemn you to the bottom of the economic scrap heap should you ever get seriously wounded.' The intervening years have not changed my views; they have reaffirmed them.

Unlike the editors of the nation's newspapers, I am not at all impressed by people who resolve to have others stay the course in Iraq and in Afghanistan. At zero sacrifice, who would not have that resolve?"

Posted by: dem at August 1, 2005 10:08 AM

dem, my brother is a SEEBEE and can be deployed with the Marines any time. For some reason, his unit hasn't been deployed yet, but it will eventually.

A very good friend lost his cousin in Iraq and his brother is in Iraq as we speak. I've known their family since I was in the 7th grade. Every time I hear of Marines in operations, wounded, or killed in Anbar province, I think of them and write a note of encouragement to their family.

Many friends and family members that I fellowship with (being from San Diego) who have served are currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, including a few who have been wounded in action.

I'd hate to live in your world, because you certainly don't live in mine.

Posted by: Rick at August 1, 2005 10:45 AM

Rick, my post wasn't meant as a personal attack, although I can see how it could be misconstrued as one. I'm sorry if I offended you. I only meant to point out, with words more eloquent than my own, that without shared sacrifice on the part of more people in our country, it is only our troops (and not our country as a whole) that are faced with the impact of going to war.

I believe our troops should not be placed in harm's way unless they are defending their country. Because of a lack of accountability to civilians who vote, our government has violated that unwritten pact with its troops. There were no WMD to be found; the troops were provided with less armor than our government was capable of; no planning for the aftermath of the invasion has left our troops more vulnerable to attack than should have occurred; and support for veterans and their families has been embarassingly underfunded.

Even though I disagree with the decision to go to war and I have major criticisms about how the conflict is currently being handled, I am grateful that people are willing to take risks for me and the rest of our country. I'm glad your post reminds people of that. I think it is important that people think about what is happening so the government feels accountable to its citizens and takes more seriously all the decisions involved in going to war and bringing peace in the aftermath. As you probably know, no American citizen fighting in Iraq is a family member of VP Cheney, President Bush or a single member of congress. Thus, life and death decisions for our country are made by people who personally risk very little. Without more public awareness and a demand by our citizens for greater accountability by our elected officials, our government will continue to have little incentive to make the most important decisions it can - whether and how to conduct war - with the utmost care possible. And without more public awareness, our troops will bear the brunt of that apathy. For that, I applaud - not criticize - your efforts to raise awareness and to inform people of the accomplishments our troops have made in Iraq.

By the way, if you want to support the quest for national office of a marine who fought in Iraq, consider supporting Paul Hackett who is running in a special election in a district close to where I was born in Ohio. Full disclosure, however, requires me to inform you that he is a vocal critic of the Bush administration for many of the reasons I enumerated above. In other words, he is a democrat, and I know how you feel about those.

Posted by: dem at August 1, 2005 10:45 PM

Yes, Hackett is a critic of the Bush Administration, which would be fine if he didn't try to get elected by putting pictures of himself with the President in his ads. (I'm from Ohio too).

But my larger point is about the sacrifice of the troops for larger causes than just the defense of America. It is not something new for the American Military to be involved in conflicts around the world that do not directly relate to homelande defense. Therefore, those who have volunteered for the military now, know that they will be asked to do more than just directly defend their own country. They will be asked to serve in causes that provide protection for free peoples all around the world.
They know this and they know it ahead of time.

I know that those that volunteer are brave and honorable and desire to serve. My guess is you would find few who say "No, we don't want to do this because it's too scary and not directly related to American defense."

As an analogy, consider a father who desires to protect his own children at all cost. If he saw the kids next door being hurt, is he going to stand by and say "those aren't my kids so I'm not going to do anything"? My guess would be no, because he would want someone to protect his kids if he were unable to do so. We in American have the ability to protect those that can't protect themselves as well as protecting ourselves at the same time. We would want other to do the same if the situation was reversed, wouldn't we?

Posted by: Abigail at August 3, 2005 09:13 PM