Uncommon Valor, Unsung Heroes
God Bless the US Marines
Monday, March 27, 2006
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor
The New York Daily news reported a war protest concert called "Bring 'Em Home Now" headlined by a bunch of musicians I never heard of, noting that Cindy Sheehan was an invited guest and that Jeanne Garafalo plans to broadcast her TV program from the concert.
Interestingly, I ran a Google news search of the concert and got four hits. One was a music site in the UK, two were local New York-area papers, and the fourth was a website called 'alArab Online'. Ordinarily, Western music concerts don't make headlines in the Arab world. But it's great propaganda for their side.
The Dixie Chicks are making their way back up the country music charts with a new anti-war album recanting their tearful apology for making anti-war statements while on tour in London.
The new album, "Not Ready To Make Nice" slams the administration and the war anew, noted al Jazeera.
George Clooney got an Oscar for 'Syriana' -- an antiwar film in which America was the heavy and the terrorists were the heroes.
A Kansas-based protest group regularly pickets military funerals, carrying signs like "Thank God for IEDs" and Thank God for Dead Soldiers".
Public support for the war in Iraq in waning, as is public support for the war on terror. The Bush administration's job-approval rating dropped to 36% -- an all-time low.
A recent poll conducted by the polling firm of Tarrance and Reihle found that just 54% of Republicans trust Bush.
A solid majority of Americans now say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting - 57 percent in the latest ABC News poll.
And, despite months of assurances by the president that he has a strategy for victory, 65 percent of those surveyed by ABC on March 2-5 said the Bush administration does not have "a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq."
The Islamic press is filled with optimistic forecasts of how much longer the administration will be able to hold out against domestic opposition, noting gleefully that the administration has been 'unable' to prevent the damage caused by 'sectarian violence' forecasting that Iraq's impending civil war will sink the US effort to rebuild Iraq.
The steady drumbeat of incomprehensible horrors; foreign kidnappings, beheaded hostages, military casualties and domestic political posturing has all but sapped America's will to stay the course.
The Useful Idiots don't understand the Marines they claim they support. The Marine Creed gives them nightmares; they don't understand the price paid for their freedom to protest or that they are biting the hand the preserves it for them.
This is what has always stood between us and our enemies. A Marine and his rifle:
"This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is MINE. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My rifle without me is useless."
"Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will..."
"My rifle and myself know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our bursts, nor the smoke we make. We know it is the hits that count. We will hit..."
"My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights, and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will..."
"Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life."
"So be it, until there is no enemy, but PEACE."
Where I live, I get to spend a lot of time around active-duty Marines, many of whom have served several combat tours in Iraq. I find it fascinating that returning Marines are universally astonished at how the conduct of the war is portrayed in the US media.
These Marines come home with different memories of a different war. Like those of 1st Lt. Brian M. Stann, who was awarded the Silver Star at Camp Lejeune for his actions and bravery during Operation Matador last year in Iraq.
Stann accepted the award on behalf of his Marines, saying, “This award represents my guys. . . It’s an insight to what my men did over there. There were a lot of our guys who received awards from our group when we were out there, not just me.”
Stann was platoon leader with the 2nd Mobile Assault Brigade when his unit was assigned to take a bridge near Karabilah. The battle took six days from May 8 to May 14 and involved three different assaults. On the third attempt, his unit was ambushed.
Stann was in a 360-degree fight and was setting up casualty evacuation points after they were hit by suicide IEDs. He led his platoon through over 30 rocket-propelled grenade attacks, multiple machine guns firing, and improvised explosive devices detonating all around him.
"You can forget all the other medals; I just wanted the award that said 42 out of 42 men came home safely,” Stann said at the award ceremony. “And we all came home, so mission accomplished.”
Stann's award came the day after Captain Frank Diorio was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment in Husaybah, Iraq from February to September 2005. During that period, Diorio led his company in over 275 engagements at Camp Gannon firm base.
Like Stann, Diorio did not take all the credit for his company’s success in Iraq. “The images of my Marines fighting together as a company will stay with me for ever,” he said.
“This is India Company’s award.”
Marine Cpl. Dale A. Burger Jr. was honored with the Silver Star this week, as well.
While in Iraq during the second battle of Fallujah, Burger’s battalion was involved in intense house-to-house fighting. Burger’s squad leader was injured during the fighting, and Burger stepped up to assume the squad leader’s duties.
While leading an assault against a fairly large group of insurgents held up in a building, he was wounded and evacuated for medical treatment. Three days later, Burger volunteered to return to his Marines and continue to fight by their side despite his injuries.
Burger was so eager to return to his Marines, he showed up with no gear and no weapon.
After returning, Burger’s platoon was involved in yet another firefight, during which he came upon three critically wounded Marines. Burger showed remarkable heroism and valor by charging into the house to recover the fallen Marines, according to his Silver Star citation.
While returning fire, Cpl. Burger was killed by an enemy bullet. According to Cpl. Burger's mother, her son would have been embarrassed by all the pomp and circumstance.
"He’s probably saying, ‘They're making too much of nothing because I was just doing my job,’” she said.
With such men as these, how can we be losing? Take heart, Leatherneck! The Useful Idiots only THINK they are winning - er, or we are losing, er, or something. As for the rest of us, we know better.
Semper Fi, Marines! "Until there is no enemy, but PEACE."
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