Last time I checked, war was hell. Fortunately, with modern technology, war is a bit less barbaric, but the primary goal is still to hunt down and kill the enemy. And unfortunately, in that most dangerous of environments, friendly fire is bound to take some of our own, or even some of our allies in the process.
The horrible reality that innocents will be killed in war has been a fact from the beginning of time. It occurred recently in Afghanistan. Last April two of our brave F-16 pilots, fighting to liberate Afghanistan and wipe out our Taliban enemy, thought they were being fired upon and mistakenly bombed Canadian troops conducting war games on the ground. Four Canadian soldiers were killed.
When it comes to soldiers, the reality is there’s a chance you’re going to be killed in an environment where people are killing each other. It’s part of the bargain. The troops who died entered into that same pact, knowing the risks of a war zone. And yet, our pilots now face court-martials on charges of manslaughter and assault—the first such charges against pilots for actions in wartime.
How did this happen? It is a manifestation of the new touchy-feely military. The one brought to you by decades-old efforts of the Left to make war less clear, less of a moral imperative, because anything which shines the big fat light of right and wrong disturbs our irresponsible and decadent Left. Our own soldiers are the dangerous ones, and the enemy is a ‘victim,’ of our imperialism, of our economy, of centuries old colonialism. War is to be pristine, where no one gets hurt.
Here’s a newsflash for today’s Lefties: War is not nice. Nor should it be. And as our historical legacy shows, every time we have engaged in war it has been right and just. It exists on a standard of right and wrong clear enough where good, decent people—like Americans—are compelled into the exercise because the fate of the world hangs in the balance. While none of us relish in innocents being killed, sometimes, regrettably, war means just that. Sometimes it’s even necessary.
Part of our ability to bring World War II to an end involved the necessary killing of civilians . Those deaths are the reason why you can enjoy your family today. If today’s Left was on control in 1944-45, with the concomitant political correctness, multiculturalism and moral relativism, I fear we’d all be speaking Japanese right now.
The blind hate Leftists feel for the military actually took root in the Sixties when Socialists and Communists took final possession of America’s Left. The Communist organizers had a specific interest in demonizing the American military because they knew it was the first front against their cancer spreading throughout the world. Unfortunately, that agenda of division and hatred still percolates throughout the Leftist establishment.
So here we sit at the dawn of a new year as Illinois Air National Guard Majors Harry Schmidt, 37, and William Umbach, 43, our F-16 pilots wait, facing career-ending trials because they did their job, with tragic, accidental consequences. Both were former full-time military pilots and as Illinois Air National Guardsmen, were called to active duty to help us in the war on terrorism. Is this what they deserve? I think not.
To top it all off, Schmidt’s and Umbach’s lawyers revealed we are asking so much of our pilots that they are given amphetamines to combat fatigue. Called "go pills," the Air Force says the "medicine," is the same drug routinely given to children for Attention Deficit Disorder. They insist taking it is strictly voluntary but said it has long been used to combat fatigue during long missions of eight to 12 hours. Our pilots in Afghanistan have been flying multiple missions of 10 plus hours.
How did our politically-correct sensitive Air Force deal with this friendly fire situation? Their investigation determined the pilots "demonstrated poor airmanship" and ignored standard procedure by not making sure there were no allied troops in the area. That’s funny. The pilots lawyers argue it would have been helpful if the two men had been told of the ground exercises before beginning their mission. But I guess our fighting men and women are also now supposed to be psychic.
Our shame rests with the fact that we have allowed peaceniks on the Left to emasculate much of the military. What else should we have expected from a bum like Clinton who avoided the draft and even marched against this country’s military responsibilities? Instead of MacArthur going into battle doing whatever’s necessary to defeat the enemy, the Left would still prefer sending in a feminist-centered therapist in an effort to talk with and "understand the inner child" of Evil. Of course, only after Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Jane Fonda schmooze with the enemy.
As we enter several more years of getting rid of the world’s Bad Guys, taking stock now is imperative. If we are to win these wars we need to attract more people to military service so a pilot or other soldier doesn’t have to take drugs in order to do the work of two men. Increases in pay and retirement benefits, the best equipment, and giving our soldiers immunity from prosecution when accidents happen in war would be good places to start to make service more appealing.
If we want decent people to be willing to fight the many fights coming up, now is the time to show them while they will be asked to risk their lives for us, we will defend them as they defend us. They deserve our support—not a couple of lawyers at a court-martial.