I was having a conversation with a Kurdish man in the city of Dahok (by myself and completely safe) discussing whether or not the insurgents could be viewed as "freedom fighters" or "misguided anti-capitalists." Shaking his head as I attempted to articulate what can only be described as pathetic apologetics, he cut me off and said "the difference between insurgents and American soldiers is that they get paid to take life—to murder, and you get paid to save lives." He looked at me in such a way that made me feel like he was looking through me, into all the moral insecurity that living in a free nation will instill in you. He "oversimplified" the issue, or at least that is what college professors would accuse him of doing.
An excerpt from one of Mark Jennings Daily's last letters home.
A MUST Read...
A Death in the Family, by Christopher Hitchens
Like so many stories of soldiers we lose, Hitchens' piece in Vanity Fair is a heartbreaker. Unlike so many other stories, it is one where we are gifted full personal access to the love, the pride, the joy, the grief and sense of loss. Hitchens and the family of Mark Daily have opened their arms, and invited us all to share in celebrating this young, fallen warrior.
I've always loved Hitchens. He has, what I believe to be, a humanitarian and logical analysis of Iraq's struggle for freedom. His command of language, and direct, no punches pulled style are merely icing on the cake for me.
Hitchens has outdone himself here - unwittingly pulled personally into this story - finding himself six degrees of separation from a young warrior who found his moral outlook towards Iraq's battle for freedom altered significantly by Hitchens' own writings.
Hitchens waxes eloquently and passionately - not because he has that inherent talent, but because it was what he experienced personally. It will bring tears to your eyes, as it did to his.
And the rare intimacy to which we are privvy here, thru Hitchens eyes, only emphasizes so many more stories... still untold... of other warriors we have lost. Warriors and their families that are also pure of heart. How many have buried their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, friends and lovers with the same quiet, resolute pride. Dignified and heartfelt ceremonies absent the bitterness of a heart filled with the desire of revenge, or lashing out angrily for someone to blame. We don't know, because the media generally only treat us to family members who react like Cindy Sheehan.
To the families of fallen warriors all, I can only say how humbled I am. And that I hope we, as a nation, will prove ourselves worthy of their personal sacrifice.