Thoughts of an American Centrist

Friday, August 26, 2005

Indoctrination and the True Culture of Life

Let's compare two quotes. First, from the much touted and celebrated antisheehan Tammy Pruette, mother of 5 sons who served in Iraq, as quoted by President Bush:

"Tammy says this -- and I want you to hear this -- 'I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country. And I guess you couldn't ask for a better way of life than giving it for something that you believe in.' America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts. (Applause.)"
Now let's compare it to the thoughts of a 20th Century Military Genius, General George S. Patton:

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
- Attributed to General George Patton Jr

See the contrast?

Exactly what kind of society are we trying to create where we indoctrinate our soldiers and their parents not that dying for one's country is an honorable tragedy, but that it is actually desirable?

Now obviously if such a thought helps Mrs. Pruette fall asleep at night then she should by all means indulge herself. Only God knows what kind of stress it must put on a mother to send five sons and a husband off to war. The risk and heartache she and her family have given and continue to hazard in service to this country precludes me from questioning her opinions. The President was correct; it is families like the Pruettes that keep our country free.

All disclaimers aside, however, it is entirely another matter for the President to hold this woman's statement up as an example of how "good" military mothers ought to think. What kind of message is he trying to send? "Hey Moms, if your son dies in Iraq, that's really OK, because you really can't get 'a better way of life' than dying for your country!" Don't take one woman's method of coping with her sacrifice and trumpet it as national policy.

President Bush, if you truly want to promote a "culture of life" in this country, then stop pretending that the deaths of our troops are somehow "OK." We all realize that, in war, death and sacrifice are a necessary part. But necessity does not abate tragedy. Don't ever pretend that it does.

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