A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Friday, August 26, 2005

'Wonderful time to be a soldier'

By Sgt. Joe Roche, of the 12th Aviation Battalion, for the Washington Times

I'm very proud to be a soldier of the U.S. Army because of the war on terror and our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not alone either. I'm surrounded by soldiers who are re-enlisting and volunteering to go to units that are deploying. In fact, despite all the negative news and protests, I see everyday that our military is actually doing very well.

This is quite obvious, except for the fact that most of the media seems asphyxiated with defeatism. The message from most journalists would lead you to believe that we soldiers are getting out, that no one is joining anew and that we want to stop fighting. This simply isn't true.

Yes, recruitment is lower, but the caliber of those who are signing up and the rates of re-enlistment are both extremely high. All 10 of our major combat divisions are ahead of expectations for retention of soldiers. In my unit, there are soldiers who specifically went active duty from the reserves because they want to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Isn't that amazing?
The fact is that we are not experiencing casualty rates anywhere near past conflicts, nor for that matter as bad as during peacetime. There were weeks in Vietnam when 350-400 Americans died, and in other wars thousands would die in single battles. Nothing like that is happening now.

From 1983 to 1996, more than 18,000 soldiers died. That averages to more than 1,300 a year, far more than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan each year. Yes, that was mostly from accidents, drunk driving and other mishaps. Yet, while protesters in Crawford, Texas and elsewhere would have you think that our military can't survive with the low casualty rates of this war, I wonder why they were willing to accept the much higher peacetime casualty rates of the past? We lost around 3,000 innocent people on September 11, and with four years of war and the toppling of two regimes, we haven't lost that many in combat.
Imagine if liberals had been this horrible during World War II. We would never have won. The sad fact is that soldiers and Marines die in battles----battles which are necessary to preserve freedom. The truth is that far fewer soldiers and Marines have died than in former wars. Yet the liberal MSM will not be rational. I'm glad to see soldiers speaking out about what is truly happening.

Make sure to read the whole thing. Sgt. Roche makes some excellent points.