Love The Warriors
posted at 2:29 am on January 2, 2010 by Doctor Zero
“You don’t have to love the war, but you have to love the warrior.” – Private Johnathon Millican
The author of those words was twenty years old when he died. He used a web camera to talk with his wife from Iraq on the morning of his final day. He had been in Iraq for about three months. The quote above comes from his MySpace page.
1st Lt. Jacob Fritz was a graduate of the United States Military Academy. His younger brother Daniel graduated from West Point a year after his death. He looks like a man who knew how to laugh. “Sometimes, when there’s a whisper in the wind, I feel he’s walking with me,” says his mother Noala. His parents bought 70 acres of farmland across the highway from their place for Jacob to settle on, when his military career was over.
Private First Class Shawn Falter had twelve brothers and sisters. Three of his older brothers preceded him in military service. At his funereal, his older brother Andrew, an Air Force master sergeant, said, “Rest, Shawn. You’ve done your part. Your brothers will take it from here.” Pfc. Falter once gave up his own leave time, so a fellow soldier could return home to be with his wife and children.
Specialist Johnathan Bryan Chism was a month away from coming home for two weeks of rest and recuperation when he died. A few years ago, he was a Boy Scout.
On January 20th, 2007, these four men were abducted from the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, Iraq, during a sophisticated insurgent attack. The operation was believed to have been coordinated by the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Within a few hours, they were executed by their captors. Their bodies were left with some abandoned vehicles. Two of them were tossed on the ground, while two were still handcuffed together inside one of the vehicles.
A fifth soldier, Captain Brian S. Freeman, was killed in the initial attack. He was a world-class athlete who won a bronze medal as part of a bobsled team in the 2002 America’s Cup race. Some of the bobsled drivers he trained with went on to compete in the last Olympics. One of them, Steven Holcomb, called Captain Freeman “one of the greatest men I have ever known.”
The architects of the attack that killed Captain Freeman, and the subsequent murders of the other four brave soldiers, are brothers named Qais and Laith Khazali. They were captured in a March 2007 raid in Basra. On New Year’s Eve, we learned that Qais Khazali has been released, apparently as part of a prisoner exchange for British hostage Peter Moore. Laith Khazali was already released six months ago. Peter Moore was kidnapped in May 2007, explicitly to be used as a bargaining chip for the freedom of the Khazali brothers.
The circumstances around Qais Khazali’s release are murky, with the usual denials and clarifications swirling around like a cloud of confetti over Times Square on New Years’ Eve. Multi National Force spokesmen claim this was not a hostage trade, but rather an attempt to comply with “the implementation of the U.S. – Iraq Security Agreement” and support a “reconciliation process.” Some suggest this is all part of an elaborate intelligence operation.
Republican Senators Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl have already sent a letter to the Obama Administration, citing an executive order signed by President Reagan in 1986 that prohibits concessions to terrorist hostage takers. With the New Year holiday behind us, more Republican congressmen will doubtless be right behind Sessions and Kyl with their own hard questions. It’s even possible some Democrats will join them, now that they’re finished with midnight votes to take over the health-care system, and desperately need to fool their constituents into thinking they’re “moderates” who care about national security.
Was that harsh? Prove me wrong, Democrats. Make me eat those words. I’ll gladly slather them in barbecue sauce, and savor ever last consonant.
International conflicts are a messy business. We know that Iran has been supporting the Iraqi insurgency with money, equipment, and personnel. We don’t have the manpower to completely lock down the thousand-mile border between Iran and Iraq. Attacks on Qods Force bases in Iran would swiftly escalate into all-out war. Intelligence is the key weapon in defeating a terrorist insurgency, and it must often be obtained through sins committed in deep shadow. We must also make efforts to respect the sovereign dignity of the Iraqi government we have been nurturing for the past six years. Even with all of these uneasy truths in mind, it’s difficult to see how the release of the men behind the Karbala attack can be justified.
It seems unlikely that the Khazali outrage could have happened without President Obama’s authorization. I’m ready to hear him explain this… and then, considering his reputation as a liar, every thinking American should be ready to fact-check every word he says. I don’t mind admitting I’m a hostile audience. You should be, too. Nothing this President has done since taking office has earned him a shred of trust or faith, especially in the area of national security.
We just watched his utterly incompetent Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, stammer her way through a terrorist attack. Her only useful purpose was preparing the infamous Defense Intelligence Estimate that indicted “radicalized right-wing extremists” as potential terrorists, thus transforming an important security document into a piece of scornography to titillate the far Left. No one who takes the defense of America seriously would put an unqualified piece of bureaucratic furniture like Napolitano in charge of Homeland Security… and, a week after a defective set of exploding underwear was the only thing keeping her from standing trial for three hundred counts of negligent homicide, she’s still there. There is still no evidence Barack Obama takes defense issues seriously, or even understands them. His Administration stands by while Navy SEALs are persecuted for allegedly punching a terrorist in the mouth… while the enemy murders handcuffed hostages with head shots.
I can think of a hundred bad reasons Obama would let the murderers of Karbala go. He needs to help us imagine a good one. America’s military men and women pledge their last full measure of their devotion to our defense. We owe it to them to return that devotion.
I humbly devote this space to remembering Private Johnathon Millican, First Lieutenant Jacob Fritz, Private First Class Shawn Falter, Specialist Johnathan Bryan Chism, and Captain Brian S. Freeman, and I encourage you to join me in demanding the full story behind why the filth who orchestrated their murders are walking around free. We won’t get those answers unless we push for them, with the same courage and dedication our fallen heroes gave to their duty. This story will go away, unless you keep it alive. Love the warriors, by making it clear to Washington that their lives are worth more than any politician’s career.
If I may borrow a few words from Private Falter’s brother: Rest, my friends. You’ve done your part. Your countrymen will take it from here.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.