Tuesday, January 03, 2006
What does it take to be a "hero"?
A lot of people have linked to this piece in the Washington Post by the father of a soldier recently killed in Iraq. What's particularly grating is how, according to the writer, so many people are trying to rationalize his son's death by describing him as a "hero." But what on earth does that mean?
What do you have to do to die "heroically"? Consider the hypothetical case of a, say, a young soldier, just posted to Iraq. He hasn't been there long, he's scared as hell and, before he even goes out on his first mission, a mortar round fired by an insurgent hits his tent in the Green Zone and blows him to pieces.
What do you tell his family? That he died a "hero?" In what way? Does accidentally stepping on a concealed IED make you a hero? What about having your Humvee roll over on top of you? Hero? Or bad driver?
But I guess there's really no other choice, is there? What else would you tell the grieving family members? "I'm so sorry but, Jesus, your boy was a terrible driver. I mean, you really have to work to roll one of those suckers, if you know what I mean."
So they're all heroes, those U.S. soldiers. Every one of them. And anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan, who wants to bring them all home before more of them die? Ah, she's just a loud-mouthed, treasonous, shrieking moonbat.
It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?