For the most part Andy Rooney’s article on our soldiers in Iraq is self-fisking and drivel just not worth messing with. One part though showed just how bad he is at analyzing data and making a conclusion.
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.
The facts of suicides are always a great sadness and no less when they occur among military personnel. In twenty years of service I remember those of my fellow shipmates who had committed suicide. One of the stranger facts that I encountered is that we had more suicides when we were back home in the states then when we were at sea. When we would dry-dock in Portsmouth, Va our suicide rates would climb. Did this make Portsmouth a quagmire or that the mission of the military during that time made people unhappy warriors? Actually I find the number of 23 to be lower than what I would expect based on my own experience. There are many sad facts in the events of those who commit suicide and I would guess that the current mission is not that high of a factor. By his analysis would he say that the majority of women supported the mission since only one women committed suicide. Sorry this is just lousy reasoning.
I find his slander and calumny of those men and women serving in Iraq to be just plain sick. Mr. Rooney has said many dumb things in the past and they have been escalating in their stupidity, but this just tops the cake of stupidity.
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.
I know many military personnel whose initial goals into coming into the military were for things such as a getting money for education. This applies to whether they were active duty or reserves. I was one of those whose initial goal was to enlist for a couple of years and then get out and go to college. I knew plenty who enlisted initially for various incentives but who latter reenlisted because they understood the purpose our military serves and felt called to that obligation. That we may remain free. Free so that Mr. Rooney can write inane and mean-spirited columns denigrating those magnificent men in women serving our country.
Most people in the military will never be called to perform individual acts of personal bravery. Yet all are called to live a life a sacrifice to protect our country from harm. We received pay that in most cases was not commensurate with civilian pay. Moved where we were told to go. Received medical care that was often far from sterling. Left our families for months on end and even when we were at our home-base we were away from home on duty days. Read newspapers and saw television broadcasts that for the most part attacked those in uniform. Times were few when we could wear our uniforms gladly without being mocked in our own communities. I wonder if Mr. Rooney ever returned home and saw his wife and children after being away for six months. To look at your children and be awed by how much they had grown and how much they had learned since you last saw them. And then to realize that that time with them was forever gone and you had missed out on all those experiences. To be in the middle of a deployment and to receive news that a child was sick and waiting for the next delayed mail call to find out if everything was now okay or not. Are not those who put themselves into harms way and sacrifice their time for us heroes?
Bravo Zulu to our Armed Forces wherever they are serving!
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” –G.K. Chesterton