The Mudville Gazette
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Tuesday, April 29, 2003


"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

- John Stuart Mill

Emboldening words. But not sacred. And these next few words certainly aren't either. The following is a post I made on the eve of the war with Iraq, in response to an "anti-war" comment by someone using the name John Smith...

When you go to bed tonight, think that somewhere there's a US Soldier sleeping in a cot in a tent, probably on top of a sleeping bag with a sprinkling of sand for extra comfort...maybe he has a picture of the wife or kids, or if he's really young, mom and dad.
He may have joined for education, or to get out of Dodge, or to see the world, or family tradition, maybe even for patriotism, maybe even because of what he saw on TV on 911!
Can you grasp this? I'm talking about a real person, and he's suffering gladly now to protect you so please take a minute of your life to learn something important about him:
He has the real possibility of dying tomorrow.
He may have to kill someone tomorrow. It won't be like on TV, that person will be real dead.
It may be a long painful death, John.
A lot of Moms on both sides may already have hugged their kid for the last time, John.
The human cost of the next few days may be astounding. To know the whole reality is more then you or I or anyone could bear.
People will die.
It could have been avoided.
I will keep this simple for now:
A united world could have, just maybe, brought down Saddam without firing a shot.
We will never know.
Americans who exercised their God-given right (by virtue of American Birth, and defended by the American GI) to protest helped ensure that unified front would never form.
Strangely enough, that right is what the soldier will fight for. Will kill for, may die for.
Will he hate you for it, John? Does it matter to you John?
What about his mom, John? Think it's funny? Are you thinking up funny things you can post in denial right now John?
Your denial doesn't matter John.
I don't know how any one else might feel about you John. It would be the height of arrogance for me to claim I did.
But now multiply that guy by 300,000..
Here's how I feel John. I can not comprehend, nor will I ever til the day I die, how someone could be so vile as to force the onset of war just because they think they might have a better shot at getting one of their fellow dirt bags elected President in two years, John.
You have blood on your hands, you little pathetic cretin. You are beneath contempt. Your priorities are so twisted there may be no hope for restoral.
Now blame George Bush, you transparent little moron. Guess what, John? I posted yesterday that you would do it. I posted D'ash'holes comments before he made them, John. Look around the previous posts and you'll find them. You people are predictable John.
Obstruct, then blame the victim for lack of progress.
This time, John, your victim is not just George Bush. It is the US military and the people of America and Iraq. (Do you think you can trick the Iraqi's into loving you John? They hate Saddam Hussein you know? They saw you on TV, too John.)
Their blood is on your hands, John.
You may have sown the wind John.
Good night John, sleep tight.
Originally posted March 18, 2003

And this is the follow up to that post.

Blogging is vanity. By it's nature
there is something about it that says, "people care what I say!"I started doing this by posting in comments sections of other blogs. I didn't think anyone would give a darn what I said, it just felt good to do it. It actually surprised me that my comments began to get responses (positive and negative). This led to starting this page as a place to put things that were too long for comments (post above was one that led to the transition.) Then this page grew. I write here because it's fun. Also because as an active duty military member I can say what I want and not worry about who might respond, who might misunderstand a joke, who might not laugh at what I laugh at.

But nothing I've ever written here compares to this letter home from Marine Capt. Ryan A. Beaupre:

Mom & Dad,
Well if you are reading this, then things didn't go well for me over in Iraq. I'm sorry for the pain that I have caused you because of this. Please do not be upset with the Marine Corps, the military, the government, or the President. It was my choice to go into the military. The President and my higher commanders were just doing what they thought was best. Realize that I died doing something that I truly love, and for a purpose greater than myself. There is a paragraph that I read from time to time when I lose focus. "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." John Stewart Mill Now there is a little Marine Corps bravado in there, but I do believe in the basic premise. I want you to know that I could not have asked for better parents, or a better family. ..... I'll never forget that one of my friends in elementary school said that if he could trade places with one person, he'd trade places with me because of my parents and home life. I truly feel that I've had a blessed life thanks to you two. Please give my love to Alyse & Ryan, Kari & Matt & the girls, Chris & Brandy, and everyone else in the family.
All my love,

Beaupre, 30, of Bloomington, Ill., was killed March 20 in a helicopter crash in Kuwait.

And this from Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams' last letter home:

...I know I am here to do a job that not everyone can handle or they just choose not to do. I can't help but wonder what God has in store for me and for us. God knows I live to love and would die to give just one person a chance for life in a peaceful world. My weakness in life just might be my willingness to sacrifice my life for the good of this world we live in.I am not trying to make you worry about me, but only to know that I am here because I want to be here and that I believe God has given me the chance to help the people who have helped me, and also the people I have not even met yet. I love you Heather, and I want to spend my life with you, but God has called me to do this first. There is a phrase the Marine Corps adopted, it is "Semper Fi." It means "Always Faithful." To God, my country, my family I will always be faithful. You are now part of my family. When all of this is over, God will have revealed his plan for me being here ..... For now, I belong to my country, when I come back, I am yours.

And Marine Sgt. Michael E. Bitz wrote:

Dear Mom:
This is the largest battle group the US has set up since the Korean War. The only difference is that we have the means of doing much more damage today than we did back then. Honestly, between God, you and I, I would rather go back home with my wife and kids. Janina and all the other wives were able to come out to the beach and stay for three hours the night before we splashed our Assault Amphibious Vehicles out to the ship. ..... That last five minutes was the hardest of my life. We both were full of tears. It was easy for Joshua cause he was asleep at that time. But I am sure that he woke up the next morning wondering where Daddy was. ..... Well Mom, that is enough about me. I love you very much and now your young warrior is to be going now.
Love, your son,

Bitz, 31, of Ventura, Calif., and Williams, 31, of Yuma, Ariz., were killed March 23 in Nasiriyah by Iraqi soldiers who pretended to surrender, then opened fire when Marines approached.

Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address said: "...we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here."

So what ground did these men hallow? Some sand? Your next tank of gas? No. Far from it. Freedom is the sacred ground hallowed by their blood. And it's yours and mine, to enjoy every day. To laugh, or cry, and hug our children. And hope that the John Smiths, those miserable creatures, may some day know of men better then themselves.

For those who can spare the time, you can get to know the people who died for you a little better here.

And don't forget Memorial Day is coming soon.