Thursday, December 15, 2005

"I won't vote for Mr. Bush, but I'll take a bullet for him"

With high voter turnout and low levels of violence, it looks like the third round of elections in Iraq is going better so far than anyone expected.

With that in mind, this LA Times article about Lt. Ryan McGlothlin, the late Marine mentioned by President Bush in his last Iraq speech, shows that some things are far more important than politics:
Ryan McGlothlin was an interesting choice for the president's speechwriting team. When White House speechwriters contacted his parents Monday to ask for permission to mention him, they were told that McGlothlin had not voted for Bush in 2000 or 2004.


His father said McGlothlin was livid about the Sept. 11 attacks — "just furious that someone had attacked American citizens on our soil." Initially, he said, his son thought the U.S. should have focused its attention on rooting out Al Qaeda in Afghanistan — "cutting off the head of the beast and disabling the beast's ability to come back."

But after arriving in Iraq, Ryan McGlothlin became convinced that the fight had to be won there. In a letter he wrote five days before his death — and received by his family after his funeral — he outlined his views.

"I know this war is not the most popular one back home, but people must understand that to pull out before the Iraqi army is fully ready to assume responsibility for the security of their own country is not only irresponsible of us but would ensure the persistence of terrorism," Ryan wrote. "If you walk through these cities and see how terrified the Iraqi citizens are of the terrorists and how thankful they are that we finally came to their cities, you could not possibly consider doing this job incompletely."
The whole article is worth reading, especially the very un-Sheehan-like thoughts of the late Marine's father, also a Democrat.

Lt. McGlothlin was an amazing young man, and we're all poorer for having lost him. But turning tail and running away before the mission is done is no way to honor his memory.

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