Friday, October 05, 2007

A Death In The Family

by Christopher Hitchens - November 2007 - Vanity Fair

Having volunteered for Iraq, Mark Daily was killed in January by an I.E.D. Dismayed to learn that his pro-war articles helped persuade Daily to enlist, the author measures his words against a family's grief and a young man's sacrifice.

Please click [more] and read all of Mr. Hitchens article before reading my comments below. This is a great article - Dean Stephens

I was having an oppressively normal morning a few months ago, flicking through the banality of quotidian e-mail traffic, when I idly clicked on a message from a friend headed "Seen This?" The attached item turned out to be a very well-written story by Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times. It described the death, in Mosul, Iraq, of a young soldier from Irvine, California, named Mark Jennings Daily, and the unusual degree of emotion that his community was undergoing as a consequence. The emotion derived from a very moving statement that the boy had left behind, stating his reasons for having become a volunteer and bravely facing the prospect that his words might have to be read posthumously. In a way, the story was almost too perfect: this handsome lad had been born on the Fourth of July, was a registered Democrat and self-described agnostic, a U.C.L.A. honors graduate, and during his college days had fairly decided reservations about the war in Iraq. I read on, and actually printed the story out, and was turning a page when I saw the following:

"Somewhere along the way, he changed his mind. His family says there was no epiphany. Writings by author and columnist Christopher Hitchens on the moral case for war deeply influenced him … "

I don't exaggerate by much when I say that I froze.


If you have read Christopher Hitchen's article in its entirety I suspect you are reading my words through tears even as I am struggling at this moment to write them through eyes that can barely see the screen. I am so proud of being a part of a race that can produce someone like Mark Daily. I am equally proud of being a fellow human with Christopher Hitchens. Whatever you feel about his politics, when this war started he rejected the superficial anti-war sentiments of the majority on his political side. He chose to stand with those who would not bend to the Islamofascists. Can you understand how he must have felt to walk across the (imaginary) aisle and stand with those he had always opposed. Do you think that was easy?

It is Hitchens' willingness to look at the important things in life and accept the consequences that makes him different. As this article proves . . . being willing to die for what you believe is right is no simple thing. Persuading others to die for your beliefs is an equally sobering reality. However we are at war in a war we did not start. It is a war for the future of the human race. The only question is whether we will win it or lose it. Those in our nation who claim Americans are the bad guys have chosen sides too. I challenge them to read some of the articles by this die hard liberal and still insist we must quit. I reject the belief we are the bad guys.

Not that HItchens gets everything right in this article either. In one spot he says ''So, was Mark Daily killed by the Ba'thist and bin Ladenist riffraff who place bombs where they will do the most harm? Or by the Rumsfeld doctrine, which sent American soldiers to Iraq in insufficient numbers and with inadequate equipment? Or by the Bush administration, which thought Iraq would be easily pacified?'' Rumsfeld went to war with a decimated military thanks to Clinton. And Bush NEVER said it would be easy, insisting that it would be a very long and tough war. I am no Bush fan but what Hitchens said is simply false. Those statements are indications that Hitchens is being beat down by the left in the long drumbeat about why we will lose.

Hitchens is still convinced we will win because of people like Mark Daily. I pray he is right, even as my belief in the future of my nation and the future of my faith wavers. I wonder how so many can be convinced that partisan warfare is the answer to solving our problems? Truth is no longer absolute. Forgiveness has stopped being a part of our culture. People I used to love and respect say things I know to be lies. Is it my nation and faith that are wrong or the leaders of both that have gone wrong?

Hitchens is totally contemptuous of my faith even as we both agree on the greatness of this nation. He rejects religion. We probably disagree on more things than we agree on yet I consider him to be a great thinker and think we could be friends. I remember that Ronald Reagan said that if we agree 70%, why can't we be friends? Yet today I can find few on either side that I agree with 70%.

Then along comes a man like Mark Daily. So many of our soldiers are people like him. Willing to fight for the future of our nation and the future of the human race. People willing to die that others might live free. I don't remember the words exactly but General Patton had the best quote ever about these men. "Don't mourn that men such as these died. Thank God that men such as these lived."

I'll settle for that.


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