While driving to work I heard the following statement by Democratic Representative Charles Rangel from New York to host Chris Wallace of FoxNews Sunday. “I want to make it abundantly clear that I have been advocating a draft ever since the president has been talking about war, and none of this comes within the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. But I want to make it abundantly clear, if there's anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment.”
“If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.”
Now before you go looking for that famous quote from Democratic Senator John Kerry allow me to provide it here “Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well," said Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
As soon as I got to work I found a co-worker who is a Marine and just returned from serving in Iraq for six months. I asked this Marine several questions about his decision for joining the Marine Corps right out of high school without telling him about the above quote made by Rangel. Jon told me that the attacks on 9-11 hit close to home and his family and he felt it his responsibility to go fight the terrorism that has attacked this country not just on 9-11 but for numerous years leading up to 9-11. Jon informed me that joining the Marines was not his only option and in fact he was ready and accepted to go to a college before he decided to join the Marines and serve his country. He also told me of friends and fellow Marines lost in combat and of Marines that have re-enlisted at the first opportunity. He told me of a fellow Marine who was a Maryland State Trooper before going to serve in Iraq and upon his return he has opted to return to the battle in Iraq\Afghanistan. This Marine\State Trooper is also engaged to be married and is still choosing to return to the battle on terrorism.
Ironically later on this same day at work I noticed a Army Sergeant who I have worked with on projects with the “From Our Hearts” program. This program has sent numerous shipments of packages to the troops serving in Iraq\Afghanistan. http://fromrhearts.blogspot.com
I told him about Rangels comments and he told me that he does not see a large percentage of recruits signing up “just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits” as Rangel has claimed. The Sergeant said the biggest problem they see is that some of the recruits wishing to serve their country are in poor physical condition and must be placed in special PT classes to get them in proper condition.
This also made me think of a member of the Augusta County Republican Committee who is presently serving his 12 month tour in downtown Baghdad with the National Guard Reserve. His wife told me of how he called her at the first word of the first plane striking the World Trade Center tower and that it was no accident. “A big plane like that does not hit a big building like that by accident”. She then told me of how he called again after the second plane hit and told her that “We are at war”…
SSgt. Herb Harman was forty years old at the time and immediately started to condition himself by running in the Virginia mountains to get ready for his tour to fight terrorism. Ssgt. Harman volunteered and requested to serve in Iraq and has been downtown Baghdad for over ten months now. Ssgt. Harman had a good job, nice house, incredible family, and a very nice life happening here in Shenandoah Valley. He did not have to volunteer to go active duty and he did not have to request downtown Baghdad but he did. This is something I do not believe Democratic Representative Charles Rangel and many members of his party understands.
And what about the troops who are re-enlisting for another tour while still in the theater of service? Many of these heroes have served multiple tours in combat and have volunteered to serve their country and fellow citizens when they had a clear choice. Have you heard of the many injured service members who have requested to be returned to front line duty upon their healing and\or fitting of artificial limbs to replace those lost in combat so to be with their fellow service members? Just something I do not believe Rangel understands.
I wonder if Representative Rangel will ask Senator-elect Jim Webb about the options his son had before going to Iraq where he is presently serving?