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For nearly twenty years, a crowd has gathered at Fort Benning in mid-November to protest against the activities of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly called the School of the Americas) and demand its closure.
The annual event is more than just a protest. It is a gathering of the scattered fringes of the religious, political and cultural left who use the event as a platform to push ideas that range from drug legalization to abortion or even women’s ordination. Leftist Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois leads this gathering which includes a large collection of socialists, liberation theology advocates and anarchists. It is no surprise that the 71-year-old priest automatically incurred excommunication for openly opposing Church doctrine.
For nearly twenty years, both he and his protesters have resisted the Army’s efforts to “dialogue.” They reject outright the Army’s unconditional offers to open its doors to any who wish to review the school’s operation.
Nearly twenty years of protest calls to mind another twenty-year milestone – the fall of the Berlin Wall. In light of this commemoration, we offer some considerations.
A Continued Danger
On the twentieth anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall, we might be tempted to think that the world’s great military dangers have passed. However, that is not the case. We still live in a world of violence and uncertainties. Our enemies are no longer concentrated behind an Iron Curtain but are scattered about the world in the form of radical groups and rogue nations all too willing to threaten the peace.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall, one would hope that at least the outdated Marxist ideas that caused so much misery all over the world would be consigned to the dustbin of history. However, that is not the case. Guerrilla groups in Latin America like Colombia’s FARC still defend their outdated Marxist ideas through violence and bloodshed. There is still Stalinist North Korea, poverty-stricken Cuba and Communist China oppressing its people and trampling on human natural rights. There is Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela exporting his Bolivarian socialist revolution across Latin America – including the building of a nuclear program.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it would be hoped that the terrors of our age might also fall. However, that is not the case. Terror or the threat of terror lives as the tactic of choice among Islamic radicals who can be found in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan or Palestine. Iran’s mullahs stand ready to develop nuclear arms. Suicide bombers strike terror into whole nations and put fear into the hearts of thousands who might become the next innocent victims.
Pacifists Do Not Keep the Peace
Now more than ever, we need the soldier to keep the peace.
We note, however, that it was not the pacifists that brought down the Berlin Wall. Theirs was a constant message of concession, “dialogue,” and defeat.
When the terrible wall came crashing down, these Marxists were nowhere to be found to condemn the massive misery that lay exposed in those communist countries. They did not renounce their adherence to this system which they fought so hard to impose upon the West.
We tend to forget that it was the soldier that helped bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall. The soldier took upon himself the thankless task of confronting evil by force of arms. It was the soldier that risked all to do his duty wherever he was called to go without hesitation or complaint. The American soldier and his counterparts all over the world stood down the Communist threat in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
His services are no less needed in our days.
Thank the Heroes
Thus, we need to thank – not protest – these heroes who put their lives on the line. These heroes guarantee the peace. We live freely because they made the greatest of sacrifices – even that of life.
We remember Medal of Honor heroes like Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis who distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when he threw himself upon a fragmentation grenade and saved four soldiers from certain serious injury or death in Iraq in December of 2006. We remember Navy Seal Michael Monsoor, who likewise unselfishly gave his life, in order to save his fellow Seals on September 29, 2006.
We can also remember heroes like the late Col. John W. Ripley whose heroism in Vietnam was legendary. These and so many more make up those legions of heroes that deserve not our scorn but our gratitude.
Where Will They Turn?
There are those who protest against the soldier. They see his role as one buttressing structures of oppression and power. They are ready to label those who still fight against Marxism as murderers and assassins. They turn a blind eye to a ruthless enemy who breaks all rules and conventions as Marxists have always done. They would deny defenseless populations the training and tools needed to defend themselves against this enemy.
In the case of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, they ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of its graduates have committed no crime save that of wanting to keep their country safe and free. They are prepared to amplify any alleged crime of a soldier to gigantic proportions while reducing to nothing the blatant abuses of Marxists in countries like Cuba, China, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
We ask those who protest: When the fury of the terrorists turns upon them, who will they appeal to? When their freedom is taken away with the same disregard as Colombia’s FARC guerrillas take the freedom of their innocent hostages, where will they turn? When their right to protest is met with bullets and tanks like that of Tiananmen Square, who will be there to defend them?
They will turn to the soldier who defends even those who calumniate him.
A Call to Gratitude
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) calls upon the public to thank the heroes.
Let us thank them for standing up to the Soviet menace that lurked behind the Berlin Wall that fell twenty years ago. Let us thank those who still fight and keep our nation safe and help other nations do likewise.
Let us, of course, censor any abuses, but let us also be consistent and condemn the systemic and widespread abuses that have come from Castro’s Cuba, the FARC guerillas and other leftist movements who still uphold the outdated and iniquitous Marxist ideologies that built the infamous Berlin Wall.
As Americans, let us be proud of our heroes as they continue to fight and train others to defend their nations against those who threaten the peace.
May God protect them and their families in their daily battles around the world.
The Amazing story of Sergeant James “Eddie” Wright. The story below appeared on the Blackfive website.
* * * *
…On April 6, Wright was in the midst of his second tour in Iraq, this time living his childhood dream as a recon Marine. The 28-year-old was finally doing the kind of missions for which he longed. He planned to make a life in the Corps.
On April 7, all that changed.
That day, Wright and his fellow Marines with the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, now based at Camp Fallujah, were called to escort a 15-vehicle convoy of Humvees and 7-ton trucks on a 10-mile trek to a supply point, where they would hunt for enemy mortar teams.
As the company rolled toward its destination, the commander of Bravo’s 2nd Platoon, Capt. Brent Morel, sensed something was wrong. The road was bare of traffic, a clear sign of nearby danger — possibly an ambush, an IED or a mine. The Marines dismounted and swept the area, but found nothing.
Soon after, Wright and his team moved forward in the convoy’s lead Humvee and learned it wasn’t a false alarm, after all. An incredible maelstrom of fire broke out, as enemy machine-gun rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars exploded around the convoy.
Bullets were whizzing through one window out the other, Wright recalled.
“It’s a miracle nobody got shot in the face or the head.”
As the corporal opened fire with his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, a machine gunner manning a weapon in the Humvee’s gun turret above took a round in the leg and groin. He passed out with his head exposed to the hail of fire. But before Wright and his fellow Marines could get the gunner down from his exposed position, an explosion rocked the vehicle.
Wright never saw it coming, but the RPG slammed into his SAW, blowing his helmet and safety glasses off and rupturing his left eardrum.
That was the least of his injuries, he realized a moment later.
“I opened my eyes and looked at my hands and I saw they were both blown off,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘damn, both of them?’.”
The explosion also ripped Wright’s thigh wide open and broke his femur. With the thigh bone sticking out, his leg was bleeding wildly and his hands gone, Wright knew he had to get medical attention fast.
What happened after that would earn Wright the Bronze Star.
As junior Marines in the Humvee began “freaking out” about Wright’s gruesome injuries, the noncommissioned officer knew he needed to keep his cool. Wright’s team leader Sgt. Eric Kocher was also hit in the arm by a bullet, leaving the team three men down.
According to his Bronze Star citation, Wright “was the epitome of composure.”
“Understanding the severity of his own injuries, he calmly instructed others on how to remove the radio, call for support and render first aid,” the citation states. “He also pointed out enemy machine-gun emplacements to his fellow Marines assisting in the demise of 26 enemies killed in action.”
Wright instructed one of his lance corporals to put a tourniquet on his wounds.
“I had to stay calm. If I freaked out the younger Marines would freak out. The Marines without combat experience would freak out,” Wright recalled.
Kocher, unable to operate his weapon with one arm, jumped in the driver’s seat and another Marine took his place on the right to provide security as they drove out of the kill zone.
Meanwhile Wright helped direct fire at machine gun emplacements as the battered Humvee sped away.
All together, Bravo Company faced at least 40, perhaps 60, enemy insurgents, that day.
Although Wright’s Humvee made it out without fatalities, the company would lose Capt. Morel, who died after being hit in the chest by machine gun fire…
…Wright wanted to be a Marine since he first heard leathernecks calling cadence calls as a kid and he wants to stay in the Marine Corps, despite his injuries.
Wright and his therapist agree that if he works hard enough, he will be able to do almost anything required of him except pulling the trigger of a weapon.
“I think the Marine Corps will give me a fair chance. I just need to demonstrate I can do it,” he said. “If I could stay in my battalion that would be great.”
Most of all, Wright wishes he was still in Iraq helping his unit.
“I’d trade that medal for a chance to go back there.”
Was Michael Monsoor a Muslim? Well that’s the impression a person might get after reading the November 9, 2009 New York Times article “Complications Grow for Muslims Serving in U.S. Military”, by Andrea Elliott.
For those unfamiliar with Michael Monsoor. He was the Navy Seal who unselfishly gave his life, in order to save his fellow Seals, when he jumped on a live grenade on September 29, 2006. He was the only one, in a roof top overlook, who could have escaped unharmed that day, yet he chose to give his life instead. In doing so he not only overcame his own instinct of self preservation but he actually went against what SEALS are trained to do in such circumstances.
Those who survived described him as “never taking his eyes off the grenade” and always moving down and toward the explosive. The most moving tribute to Monsoor came from one of the SEALS who survived. “Mikey looked death in the face that day,” he recounted, “and said, ‘you cannot take my brothers, I will go in their stead.’”
Let all tongues be mute.
Now we have the opposite thing take place on the largest Army base in the world when another soldier, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, turned his weapons on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood; thirteen were left dead in his wake of destruction. As he was carrying out this massacre, Hasan was reported to be continually yelling “Allah Akbar”, the same thing Muslim extremist scream as they cut off the heads of their American victims.
There are those who refuse to see the religious motivations for the actions of Hasan, but what writer Andrea Elliott does in her November 9th article simply goes beyond the pale.
She tells of the woes Muslims face in the military but then ends the article by showing the great contribution, by people of the Muslim religion, that are often overlooked. Among those she cites is a soldier who received the Bronze Star. This soldier pointed out how “many Americans overlook the heroic efforts of Muslims in uniform.” The prime example he gave was that of Michael Monsoor.
Michael Monsoor was of Lebanese descent and he was a practicing Roman Catholic. His godmother personally told me, in an interview for my article No Greater Love, that he frequented the sacraments. His attendance at Sunday mass left such an impression on those who served with him, that they sometimes joined him. Besides attending mass he also frequented the sacrament of confession. He was an exemplary individual in many ways but most especially by his practice of his Catholic faith. To insinuate in any way the he was Muslim is a gross ignorance of the facts and misleading for the reader.
A two minute search on Google is all that is needed to find out the facts I have narrated in this article. Why did Mrs. Elliott not take the time to research who Michael Monsoor was before allowing such a gross misrepresentation of the man in our nation’s most prominent newspaper.
What is so insulting about all of this is the contrast between the actions of the two men. Maj. Hasan was, from what every report indicates, full of hatred, whereas Michael Monsoor was motivated by the purest of love, a love which was said to have no equal by our Savior Himself: “No Greater Love.”
Andrea Elliott owes an apology to the Monsoor parents and to the American people. Heroes of the caliber of Michael Monsoor are extremely rare in the world we live in. He was young, handsome, strong and had his whole life ahead of him when he stepped onto the Ramadi rooftop that day in 2006. He had everything life can offer and in the blinking of an eye he gave all of it up. He was given a choice to save himself or his friends. He chose, in a split second, to save his friends. He is an example for us all and he deserves better than this.
Note: Since the original posting of this article, the New York Times published a correction on November 11, 2009.