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December 20, 2004

Small Kindnesses

Via Deb at Marine Corps Moms, a true story, as related by a Marine Gunny to his wife in a letter home:

December 12th, 2004
Beautiful,
Just wanted to write to you and tell you another story about an experience we had over here.
As you know, I asked for toys for the Iraqi children over here and several people (Americans that support us) sent them over by the box. On each patrol we take through the city, we take as many toys as will fit in our pockets and hand them out as we can. The kids take the toys and run to show them off as if they were worth a million bucks. We are as friendly as we can be to everyone we see, but especially so with the kids. Most of them don't have any idea what is going on and are completely innocent in all of this.
On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle stopped in the middle of the street. This is not normal and is very unsafe, so the following vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in the road and said she just would not budge. The command vehicle told the lead to simply go around her and to be kind as they did. The street was wide enough to allow this maneuver and so they waved to her as they drove around.
As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her sitting there and in her arms she was clutching a little bear that we had handed her a few patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection to the girl, I radioed that we were going to stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got out the make sure she was OK. The little girl looked scared and concerned, but there was a warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to a mine in the road.
Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine convoy assumed a defensive posture around the site. The mine was destroyed in place.

You can read the rest of the Gunny's letter at Deb's place.

There are so many other ways this story could have turned out.

A more arrogant, militaristic Marine would not have written his wife to ask her to gather up toys for little Iraqi children in the midst of a war.

A more impatient Marine convoy would hardly have detoured around a tiny girl and then stopped cold dead in the road to ask if she was all right. For all they knew, they could have been set up for an ambush.

If we were the kind of country some of our opponents seem to think we are, no one would have bothered to send that box of toys in the first place.

A week ago I responded to a post on a liberal blog that asked, among other things,

How can I, or anyone, support the troops themselves? What can we possibly do for them? It seems that the message is really an exhortation to support the war.

Not surprisingly, the only response I got was from someone who said she couldn't take the time to read my post, but (somewhat illogically) wanted to respond to it anyway - not by refuting any of the points I made, but by resorting to the tried-and-true ad hominem assault with two slogans and a euphenized f-bomb thrown in for good measure:

I couldn't disagree more. The phony patriots with the yellow ribbons and Bush/Cheney stickers on their SUVs are oxymoronic morons. The only way to support our troops is to pressure the axis of evil (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) to stop this war for oil. It's that ephing simple.

Posted by: Deb Frisch

At this point I had no recourse but to retreat to my corner and whimper piteously, having been incontrovertably refuted for all time.

It does seem to me that there is a shameful failure of imagination and... dare I say it? compassion among the anti-war crowd. I thought they were all about peace, love, and understanding? How does sending a boxful of toys for Iraqi children translate into supporting the war effort? Is it, somehow, shameful to bring joy to small children in a war-torn nation?

Is it wrong to save the lives of our troops?

It seems to me that here is yet another way, in addition to all the other ways I suggested (which Ms. Fritch was "too busy" to read) the Left could support our troops.

But I suppose when we have men and women fighting and dying over in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is, after all too much to suppose they might spare as much as five minutes to read a post from a military wife and educate themselves on how they can help. All the talk from the anti-war folks about how America has not been asked to "sacrifice" in this war seems to be just that.... talk.

Matt at Blackfive also covered this and has some ways you can help the troops.

Posted by Cassandra at December 20, 2004 07:51 AM

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Comments

If you want to send toys for Iraqi kids of other care package items to our troops, try this site:
A href="http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm">Any Soldier.

Beanie Babies and matchbox cars save lives. I've got a box outbound this week...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at December 20, 2004 11:22 AM

damn, bad link. Let me try that again:

Any Soldier, Inc. Much better.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at December 20, 2004 11:24 AM

Thank you so much - what a great idea for Christmas!

Also, please don't forget the Semper Fi Injured Marines Fund. I need to get the button up on this site, but there's still a button on Jet Noise and over on Marine Corps Moms. Please help if you can spare a few dollars during the holiday season - it will be appreciated.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2004 11:28 AM

Here's the direct link:

http://semperfifund.org/cgi/donate.cgi

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2004 11:29 AM

Sending stuff out as I type.

Posted by: Cricket at December 20, 2004 12:13 PM

Cricket, you're such a sweetheart :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2004 12:18 PM

I read that and bawled my eyes out. Out of the mouths of babes and a little child shall lead them...are we not seeing the fuflfilment of prophecy here?

Posted by: Cricket at December 20, 2004 03:55 PM

I thought they were all about peace, love, and understanding?

Nope - some of us lefties are the nicey-nice kind - we're just as rabid and aggressive as Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell and other right-wing nutcases.

How does sending a boxful of toys for Iraqi children translate into supporting the war effort? Is it, somehow, shameful to bring joy to small children in a war-torn nation?

Nope - I've got nothing against sending toys to Iraqi children whose lives we've made miserable. But sending a couple of slinkies and cabbage patch dolls doesn't really make up for destroying the water and electric systems, killing mom and dad, does it?

Is it wrong to save the lives of our troops?

Nope - that's why I am opposed to sending them to Iraq to die for nothing. I guess we're on the same page now?

Posted by: Deb Frisch at January 3, 2005 11:40 AM

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