View Full Version : Our soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes

04-12-04, 05:40 PM
Our soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes



Most of the reporting from Iraq is about death and destruction. We don't learn much about what our soldiers in Iraq are thinking or doing. There's no Ernie Pyle to tell us, and, if there were, the military would make it difficult or impossible for him to let us know.
It would be interesting to have a reporter ask a group of our soldiers in Iraq to answer five questions and see the results:

1. Do you think your country did the right thing sending you into Iraq?

2. Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed?

3. Do the orders you get handed down from one headquarters to another, all far removed from the fighting, seem sensible, or do you think our highest command is out of touch with the reality of your situation?

4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take?

5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you?

Treating soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it. But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home.

Our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful. It's disingenuous of the rest of us to encourage them to fight this war by idolizing them.

We pin medals on their chests to keep them going. We speak of them as if they volunteered to risk their lives to save ours, but there isn't much voluntary about what most of them have done. A relatively small number are professional soldiers. During the last few years, when millions of jobs disappeared, many young people, desperate for some income, enlisted in the Army. About 40 percent of our soldiers in Iraq enlisted in the National Guard or the Army Reserve to pick up some extra money and never thought they'd be called on to fight. They want to come home.

One indication that not all soldiers in Iraq are happy warriors is the report recently released by the Army showing that 23 of them committed suicide there last year. This is a dismaying figure. If 22 young men and one woman killed themselves because they couldn't take it, think how many more are desperately unhappy but unwilling to die.

We must support our soldiers in Iraq because it's our fault they're risking their lives there. However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes.

America's intentions are honorable. I believe that, and we must find a way of making the rest of the world believe it. We want to do the right thing. We care about the rest of the world. President Bush's intentions were honorable when he took us into Iraq. They were not well thought out but honorable.

Bush's determination to make the evidence fit the action he took, which it does not, has made things look worse. We pay lip service to the virtues of openness and honesty, but for some reason, we too often act as though there was a better way of handling a bad situation than by being absolutely open and honest.

Tribune Media Services



Tom Clear
04-12-04, 05:58 PM
True Heros are not born they are made by the actions they take in a given situation.
True we must keep up the morale...
Ask any five soldier the five questions and you will get five different answers, though they may have the same base.
If they answer a medal to verses coming home we have people in place that can help.
As for wether the President did the right thing by sending troops to Iraq... Seems to me that at the time he had the majority oppinion and as with most conflicts the longer it last the more people jump ship and start beating a different drum. Fact is it needed to be done and as ussual the rest of the world waited for the U.S. to make the move and then fell in behind to support.

Heros vs Not - Every military man and woman took the same oath. To uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Even though the reasons may have been for more income they were not lead astray. Everyone knows that there is always a chance that you wil be called upon to do what you were trained for. As I recall this country used the term HEROS in nearly every report after te events of 9/11/01. They used it for the Fire Fighters, The Police officers, and the everyday Joe who went above and beyond to help his fellow man in a time of crissis. Yes the Brave young men and Women of the armed forces are HEROS they may not all be decorated as such but they are. Lets all pray for their safe return and that the effects of the job they are doing continue to allow you and I to leave a life free of fear. God Bless, Semper Fi
Thomas D. Clear
1981 - 1985

04-12-04, 06:25 PM
I guess being a Hero is one thing and being a Decorated Hero is another. From what I understand both terms have different paths to recognition. (Very indivual, very political, very commercial) I think true Heros will always be known. Created Heros will not.

04-12-04, 06:36 PM
I think Andy Rooney's vision of a Hero includes lots of Mayo, and deli-style mustard. And to think I once complimented him for his "astuteness". Man! Was I off base, or what?

04-13-04, 02:34 PM
This cranky grumpy 84-year-old "Andy Rooney". For Andy Rooney, it's a war of words.

Sgt. Andy Rooney

WWII Stint As Stars And Stripes Reporter Launched Writer's Long Career
By Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Military.com Columnist

Andrew A. Rooney set out from his hometown in the Albany, N.Y., area to nearby Colgate College, ready to play football and have a good time -- until fate, in the form of World War II, intervened.
Rooney was drafted and sent to basic training at Fort Bragg, N.C. His most memorable achievement there, he noted, was managing to heist a chunk of ice back to the barracks on a hot night so that he and his cohorts could enjoy canteens full of cold water.

The unit soon had a cold shower of reality when they were shipped out to Europe. Because Rooney had a smidgen of education and a very brief amount of Army writing experience, he was assigned to "detached service" with the newly created Stars and Stripes newspaper. Housed in the vacated Times of London offices (that venerable journal had moved underground), the busy military newsroom covered events as diverse as VIP visits, unit softball games, and -- oh, yes, combat. [color=red]Rooney was detailed to the 8th Air Force and spent so much time observing its preparations, maneuvers, and landings that he co-authored his first bestseller, "Air Gunner," during that time.

It was while Rooney was attached to the 8th that he witnessed a death terrible in its inevitability. A call came in that one bomber's ball turret gunner was trapped. Operating in the bomber's belly, ball turret gunners rotated their plastic "cages" for maximum target capability. On this particular aircraft, the rotational gears had jammed and the gunner could not return to a position where he could exit into the plane.
The bomber was losing altitude fast and would have to make a crash landing. Everyone --crew, observers, and especially the ball turret gunner -- knew what was going to happen. The pilot ordered the crew to ditch everything to keep the plane in the air for a few more precious minutes, but still the wheels could not be brought down. "We all watched in horror as it happened," Rooney writes in "My War." We watched as this man's life ended, mashed between the concrete pavement of the runway and the belly of the bomber."
And then young Sgt. Rooney went back to his city desk and his work. "I returned to London that night shaken and unable to write the most dramatic, the most gruesome, the most heart-wrenching story I had ever witnessed," he recalls. "Some reporter I was."

Super Dave
04-13-04, 02:43 PM
He needs a good kick in the ass and a slap upside the head..and i'm volunteering for both jobs. He's just WRONG!!

04-13-04, 05:40 PM
Just a couple of points...
As a service member, are you supposed to be asked such questions or are you to follow the Commander in Cheif no matter what!
Did you or did you not take an oath of enlistment. If so, you knew what could happen.
I am sick of the f###ing bleeding hearts that signed up to get money for college. That is such BS. The military is NOT post high school daycare.
And yes, Mr. Rooney, they did volunteer. Last time I checked, the draft was not enacted.

04-13-04, 06:06 PM
Men and women like us make it possible for people like Andy to express thier opinions in a public forum. The fact that he has the freedom to be full of crap and voice his opinion is exactly why we serve and adds to the true honor that we few, we precious few, we band of brothers carry with us each day. The honor goes to the man in the arena (Kennedy). Are the officers and men and women in harms way right now "heros"? I doubt any would claim to be. The title for us is "Marine". I like that title, I'm proud to have earned it. I am proud that Andy has the freedom that we earned for him. But he better stay the hell out of my yard.

04-13-04, 06:07 PM
How does Andy Rooney ration this with a few young men, with college degrees that enlisted in the Marine Corps, it wasn't about money.
Are they heroes?
Depend on your point of view...

Semper Fidelis

04-13-04, 06:33 PM
This cranky grumpy 84-year-old "Andy Rooney". For Andy Rooney, it's a war of words

I don't agree with everything that this 84 year old FA*T says, then go to this web site and read some of his other remarks, you will be surprise at what he says.