LCpl Andrian Jones by WO Fay
Several weeks ago, within days of each other, I did two things. First, myself and fellow combat artist Sergeant Kris Battles went to both Bethesda and Walter Reed to meet and sketch brother Marines undergoing intense healing and rehabilitation. Second, I went completely ballistic on a local moonbat who evesdropped upon, and then inserted himself univited into a conversation I was having at my beloved local coffee shop with someone else about the fighting between Israel and the terrorist thugs of Hezbollah.
Sergeant Battles and I went to great lengths to insure that our presence at both major military medical facilities would not be seen by our wounded warriors as intrusive or self-serving. (One of the senior Marines revealed that they guys are pretty burned out by the daily presence of Congressional aides who come fishing and probing for problems that their bosses can then make politcal points by fixing.) The officers and senior NCOs at both facilities did a great job of briefing the Marines and making it possible for us to visit under the radar. We were introduced at each facilities' morning formation and took our cues from the Marines themselves. Our message to them was simple; you guys are still in the fight dealing with your injuries and we want to capture that for future generations of jarheads. The majority of young Marines, most with multiple amputations and disfiguring wounds, courageously stepped up to be drawn. A few just weren't ready and we respected that. All, however, willingly spoke about their current tribulations and future hopes. The experience for Battles and I was both humbling and inspirational.
As for the moonbat.......typical and predictable stuff, but coming on the heals of two days with America's finest it had on me what I call the Popeye effect....I've had all I can stand, I can't stands no more! Here's the gist of the confrontation. My buddy Tom asked me what I thought about what was going on in Lebanon. My reply was simply that Israel, like us, is currently restrained by the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions, which the thugs over at Terrorist Inc, aka Hezbollah, are not. At which point the middle-age moonbat dressed in black and sporting a ten inch long goatee, interjected that the US threw out the LLW and the GC a long time ago and that torture, among other things, was now the official military policy of the evil Bush administration.
Now I had just spent two days with Marines who by and large had been maimed by terrorist IEDs while either escorting a convoy or out on a foot patrol. I've been out on dozens upon dozens of these same convoys and patrols and they all begin with the same thing, THE BRIEF. The brief contains many critical bits of information, not the least of which are the rules of engagement, ie.; Law of Land Warfare and Geneva Convention protocols. The troops are reminded time and time again how to treat enemy combatants while at the same time respecting the locals. To assert that we, the US military, are now using terrorist tactics as a matter of broad policy is asinine........and I told him as much..........and more.
In the course of our exchange I admittedly baited this gentleman, who is a social studies teacher at a local high school. I asked him if he thought 9/11 was an inside job.......he's not sure, might have been. Since he stated that Bush was evil I wondered whether he felt that the terrorists, to include Iran's President Ahmadinejad and his pursuit of nuclear arms, were evil as well. His answer was revealatory. My moonbat would agree that what they did was occassionally evil, but they were not, unlike Bush, evil. I queried him on this point several times, and he simply refused to call terrorists evil. He offered up as proof of Hezbollah's non-evil legitimacy the fact that 14 year old Lebanonese boys are flocking to sign up. I guess that probably means that the Bloods, the Crips and MS-13, since they no doubt attract 14 year olds, are legitimate as well. There was more to the exchange, but nothing unpredictable....same old worn out conspiracy theory and Bush Derangement Syndrome stuff.
Why share this with you? These two experiences sum up my state of mind of late. I am so proud of and inspired by my fellow Marines in particular and by all the folks in uniform in general. But that is offset more and more by the absolute political chaos here at home, as personified by the goateed guy in black at the coffee shop. We're at war and the unfortunate fact that a sizeable segment of our republic doesn't get that is simply amazing to me. The witnesses at the coffee shop assure me I devestated the moonbat's positions, but so what? As long as a large group of educated and influential citizenry in this nation are in denial about the nature of our enemy, and by extension denying our collective political will of their much needed presence, I don't see how we can prevail in the long term against an enemy as evil and as determined as any we've ever faced.
I leave you with a quote from the Bible that speaks to me of the guys at Bethesda and Walter Reed.
And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.
LCpl Richard J. Robinson by WO Fay
Sergeant Ryan G. King by WO Fay
LCpl Joseph M. Grady by WO Fay
Cpl Estaban Diaz by Sgt. Battles
Cpl Andrew Ingram by Sgt. Battles
LCpl Patrick W. Howard by Sgt. Battles