An HBO documentary entitled, “Alive Day Memories, Home From Iraq,” was shown this weekend and undoubtedly will be shown again repeatedly.
Don’t miss it.
It has James Gandolfini interviewing 10 seriously injured soldiers and Marines, both men and women, injured in Iraq. Their grave injuries include amputations of limbs, brain injuries and loss of sight in both eyes.
The demeanor, courage and integrity of each of those interviewed is outstanding. It is not their intention to have the audience weep, but weep you will as I did. Their purpose is to bring home to you what war actually is without conveying a political point of view. If you miss this film, you will miss an insight into Iraq worth more than the analyses made every Sunday morning across the nation by the talking heads who do their best and should be appreciated and heard. But theirs is, as they say, talk and talk is cheap.
The comments of the military personnel who have lived through battle, been gravely wounded, and are willing to talk about it is special, very special. The program is not to be missed.
The film crawls mention that 90 percent of all battlefield casualties are saved from death by the immediate medical care available. Also that more amputations are coming out of this war then took place in the American Civil War. Then there were no antibiotics available to treat infection and resultant gangrene.
Much is made of the new personal celebration day of every wounded soldier called “Alive Day” — the day they were wounded and found themselves to be still alive, counting, as one of the soldiers reported, their fingers, toes, arms and legs, immediately after the explosion to see what was missing, saying, “I can live with that.”
These heroes will make you proud. They are not seeking your pity. They simply want you to know what has and continues to happen.
The morning after seeing the documentary, I saw a full-page ad in The New York Times, prepared and paid for by MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group against the Iraq war, for immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops. I think it is fair to state that MoveOn.org is a radical left organization financed in part by George Soros. The supporters of that organization irrespective of how they feel about our involvement in the Iraq war, should condemn those in charge of the organization and withhold future contributions to it because of that ad.
Its banner headline under a picture of Gen. Petraeus reads, “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” In advance of his report to take place Monday afternoon — the ad appeared on Monday morning — it in effect calls him a liar, ending with the line, “Today before Congress and before the American people, Gen. Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.”
How vile for any of us having read or heard of the sacrifices of those in the military serving in Iraq to have a courageous general, highly respected and considered by nearly everyone in the Congress, many of whom disagree with him and his report, to be a man of integrity intelligence and courage.
Every decent person and responsible presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, should denounce MoveOn.org, and if they are associated with the organization, not only denounce it, but demand it retract the ad with a superseding one apologizing for the slur. They should withdraw future support from the organization. It is simply unacceptable to demean in this way a general of the U.S. Army who is serving his country in an honorable way.
As a result of the decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, assuring greater public debate without fear of lawsuits charging libel and slander, public personalities are effectively barred from bringing lawsuits against those who unfairly demean their reputations. It becomes the responsibility of a fair-minded American public to rise up and denounce the libelers and slanderers who abuse this right to nearly unlimited public discourse.
I’ve read the testimony of both Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, and I’ve watched them on television. I have no doubt that both provided testimony they believe accurately described the military and political conditions existing in Iraq. I believe we and our regional Arab and NATO allies should be fighting in Iraq the Islamic terrorists who are seeking to make Iraq a permanent base from which they will attack Western countries and moderate Arab countries not joining them in their war against Western civilization. But we cannot do it alone.
We cannot continue to expend the blood and lives of our young men and women on the battlefields of Iraq when no one else is willing to join with us. The cost in lives, blood and treasure is just too much for us to bear alone. Next year, the same civil war between Sunni and Shia will continue, as it has for 1,375 years, and I have no doubt that the Bush administration will again ask the Congress for a little more time.
The Iraqi army has now had more than three years of training by the American military. It had been an army that fought an eight-year war with Iran (1980-1988) and was once the most feared and largest standing army in the region — 500,000 in 1985. The question I continually ask is, why is it not currently possible for it to fight and defeat Iraqi insurgents — their own fellow citizens and al-Qaida, all with even less training. If they can’t do it, we can’t and shouldn’t do it for them.
We should get out now. It might wake up our Western world allies on the need for them to do their part and not simply count on us doing their share as well as ours.
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