Soldiers not Heroes?

Our soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes

Most of the reporting from Iraq is about death and destruction. We don't learn much about what our soldiers in Iraq are thinking or doing. There's no Ernie Pyle to tell us, and, if there were, the military would make it difficult or impossible for him to let us know.

It would be interesting to have a reporter ask a group of our soldiers in Iraq to answer five questions and see the results:

1. Do you think your country did the right thing sending you into Iraq?

2. Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed?

3. Do the orders you get handed down from one headquarters to another, all far removed from the fighting, seem sensible, or do you think our highest command is out of touch with the reality of your situation?

4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take?

5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you?

Treating soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it. But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home.

Our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful. It's disingenuous of the rest of us to encourage them to fight this war by idolizing them.

We pin medals on their chests to keep them going. We speak of them as if they volunteered to risk their lives to save ours, but there isn't much voluntary about what most of them have done. A relatively small number are professional soldiers. During the last few years, when millions of jobs disappeared, many young people, desperate for some income, enlisted in the Army. About 40 percent of our soldiers in Iraq enlisted in the National Guard or the Army Reserve to pick up some extra money and never thought they'd be called on to fight. They want to come home.

One indication that not all soldiers in Iraq are happy warriors is the report recently released by the Army showing that 23 of them committed suicide there last year. This is a dismaying figure. If 22 young men and one woman killed themselves because they couldn't take it, think how many more are desperately unhappy but unwilling to die.

We must support our soldiers in Iraq because it's our fault they're risking their lives there. However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes.

America's intentions are honorable. I believe that, and we must find a way of making the rest of the world believe it. We want to do the right thing. We care about the rest of the world. President Bush's intentions were honorable when he took us into Iraq. They were not well thought out but honorable.

Bush's determination to make the evidence fit the action he took, which it does not, has made things look worse. We pay lip service to the virtues of openness and honesty, but for some reason, we too often act as though there was a better way of handling a bad situation than by being absolutely open and honest.

Tribune Media Services

I am not a Rooney fan

Rooney is a douchebag.

What exactly do you guys disagree with in that article?

There is much to disagree with! First, Rooney's STUPID assertion that most people in the military are there because they had nowhere else to go. Which implies that military service is not an honorable career to take through life.

He also implies that there is "little" that is voluntary about military service. That statement right there devoids anything else he said as baseless. Entrance into the military is nothing but voluntary! In fact, they do not make it easy to get in anymore.

He also attempts the old liberal adage of bringing up all the of the ills that people in the military incur upon themselves and society, this case being suicide. This is a blatant attempt to defame and mischaracterize military service as something that drives people to kill themselves, and to imply that there is something about military life that makes someone want to kill themselves. In a great many cases, military life is stressful, and hard; but if you are one who enjoys a good hard days work, it is satisfying. Some people learn the hard way that they don't like that type of life, they just thought that they did leading up to service.

Military service is also something that Rooney cannot relate to. Much like my own boss, who is by all accounts a corporate super star; and been a lot of places and done a lot of things. The one thing that I have over him is military service, and it bothers him.So from time to time, he will take pokes at those of us in the office who are veterans in a way that has shown itself to be envy of military service. Not that we as veterans seek it, but a certain respect is shown to us because of service, and that is one helluva honor, to which we are gratified and thankful. Some people want that type of respect to, and no matter how much else they've done, they can't have it.

Rooney also cannot fathom the fact that military personnel keep going not because medals on pinned on chests, but because the sense of duty, committment and honor that got that individual into the military in the first place is still driving them. I can assure you that thoughts of medals being pinned on my chest were the last thing that ever entered into my mind at any time.

Rooney also demonstrates that he has no real concept of service or sacrifice. He see's no virtue in standing tall in uniform. Any person who will sacrifice their individual rights to serve in the military service that ensures that the entire country's rights freedoms are preserved is a hero. People like Rooney make proclamations from an ivory tower that are supposed to be in the best interest of all of us, and calls it service to humanity/society, or the classic, "making a difference". He has no clue.

What in that article do you agree with Nate?

I agree with:

"But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home."

"Our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful."

I also agree with the implication that a lot of people who join the military didnt have much in the way of options (assuming they joined right after high school).

I would find this offensive if i was a soldier.
"Most (soldiers) are victims, not heroes."

I am a Soldier and I find the whole thing offensive.

Right now the armed forces are not having any trouble reaching their recruiting goals. Why do you think that is? I think it is because young men and women are willing to step up to the plate to defend America knowing that they may be sent in harms way.

That is heroic, and Rooney is an idiot.


I am in total agreement with SFC LARSEN. Rooney is an
idiot. Any man or woman that puts on the uniform of
our country is potentially putting their life on the
line for our freedom. Ours is an all volunteer force,
they are all heros. There are two kinds of men, those
who served in the armed forces and those who spend the
rest of their lives making excuses for why they


Line-up one hundred 17-34 year olds.

Subtract those that have: disqualifying medical conditions, disqualifying past law violations, disqualifying tattoos, low mental scores on the ASVAB, single parents with a kid, current illegal drug use, past prescription drug use, and at least a High School Diploma, a GED (with over 50 on the ASVAB) or a current High School Senior with over 50 on the ASVAB and do you know how many kids are still lined-up..........14.

Only 14% of all Americans 17-34 are qualified to join the Army. Now recruit from this group that generally has other options (college, jobs, etc). Add on top of that a market that is dominated by nightly news of an ongoing war and the Army is still making it's recruiting mission. Why? The military is a viable first step for those that want to make an immediate impact and subsequently set themselves up for future oppurtunities.

Major Bob

GrandpaB would you say that the Americans dying in Iraq are doing it to protect American freedom?

"I also agree with the implication that a lot of people who join the military didnt have much in the way of options (assuming they joined right after high school). "

Like MAJ Bob said, the percentage of people able to join is small. The Military is a place of opportunity, not last resort. Bad Soldiers dont last, they get out soon after getting in.

NinjaNate that is a bit too simplistic. Every person
there is there for a variety of reasons but the
underlying reason for the existance of our armed
forces and whatever mission they have is to protect
our freedom. Generally we, as individuals, do not
have anywhere near enough information to decide
whether or not the mission is right or wrong, that is
why we must rely on the officials who are elected or
appointed to make that decision.




GrandpaB I think it would be more accurate to say that people join the military to help protect American interests and not out freedom.

Has our freedom been threatened by force of arms since WW2?


Yes, Communism was a direct threat to our freedom. The Communists were willing to use force any time they sensed an oportunity and did so around the world.

People join for a variety of reasons, as I said
before. I believe that our freedom and our interests
are so intertwined that they stand together. I also
believe that had we failed to fight in other lands we
would have been compelled to fight in our own. Because
we stood up to communism it eventually caved in, those
lives were not in vain. Every terrorist act has been a
force of arms against us and that includes those who
finance, support, encourage, or physically commit
those acts. I also believe that should we fail to deal
with those terrorists abroad we will have to deal with
them at home. Prior administrations failed to do so
and we wound up with a series of tragedies culminating
in the attack of 9/11.


Senility is no doubt kicking poor Rooney in the ass. He is way out of touch and just plain wrong on that editorial. Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Marines are truly the greatest American Heroes.

NinjaNate, first of all, thank you for your civility and well worded responses in opposition, that is worthy of respect.

Like Grandpab said, the question you posed to him is on the simplistic side. A good question though, and can also be answered in such a manner. There is nothing wrong with simplicity. You asked in summary, if the troops fighting now, were fighting for freedom. In a word, yes. In a simple statement, take away the military or back it down, and watch what happens. Your freedom will directly be attacked, literally and figuratively.

The people we are going after now, have, and will continue to fund global terrorism. Which as you know, attacks not military forces in a military manner; but civilian populaces with the intent to scare, wound, demoralize, and kill. A drop in military readiness would make the cowardly terrorist job of attacking civilians all too easy. And as you have seen, they are willing to bring it to our shores.

ov1, do you know either me or my dad? you asked before if i was or had been in AZ before. email me at or
-Lloyd thynes

I may! You never know! Eyes are everywhere.  :-)

I'll try and drop you a line tonight.