Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Election -- addendum

Here's a comment I just received on my post entitled "Election." It's so important, I just have to publish it up front, in case people don't read comments left by others:

Anonymous said...
Wow. Way to kiss the new President's butt there. Hey, if you can't get on board the mission - why are you in the military? How can you support the soldiers if you don't believe in their work? And what about those unborn babies that Obama is directly contributed to their demise. Great catholic ministry there pompous holier than others Tim.

(Don't even get me going about the cowardice involved in leaving inflammatory, negative comments *anonymously*.)

In my post, "Election," I observed that we in the States are able to endure a change in Administration without violence, and that we can vote without fearing for our lives. I, for one, am very grateful for that reality, and opined that we are blessed as a nation to have that experience. I then pointed out that in the upcoming election over here, the potential for violence is very great, and that many of my friends could wind up being targets of that violence, and asked my readers to please pray for everyone concerned.

The person leaving the comment above -- anonymously, of course -- seems somehow to have read into my request for prayers for the safety of my buddies in uniform that I don't support the military. I'm afraid I'm not seeing the connection.

I've been under the impression that -- as a Chaplain -- praying for my comrades might *possibly* be a way that I can support them and their mission, and that asking others to pray with me for them might even be better. Anonymous Commenter Person: How am I not believing in my Soldiers' work if I'm concerned after their safety, and asking others for spiritual assistance? How am I "not on board the mission"?

Where was there any partisan inference, one way or another, in what I wrote?? Did we not just have a contentious election, and did we not do so without violence? How is that a partisan slam for or against ANYONE? How am I in any way "kiss[ing] the new President's butt"?

I voted in this past November's election, and was very grateful to be able to do so from far away, in a war zone (and for once, didn't have to put extra postage on the envelope!). Did you even vote, Anonymous Commenter Person?

What a blessing that we can engage in amazingly bitter political rhetoric, then cast secret ballots in safety, and then get on with our lives! (Well, at least some of us can, I guess!)

Unlike much of what I've written in my blog, there was actually no snark whatsoever in that particular post, precisely because the lives of people I care about are on the line in a more focused way than usual over these next couple of days.

And, in case you haven't noticed it, Anonymous Commenter Person, there *are* people over here who "are extremely unhappy we're even here," as I wrote. That is a statement of fact, not some sort of partisan comment.

The place where I live took three more rockets while I was on leave. And there were injuries. Again.

How many cities in the US suffered rocket attacks on account of the election we had in November?

I'm gladly putting myself in harm's way being over here, pushing to go outside the wire whenever I can, to support the troops in the best way I can. I am a non-combatant, and therefore unable (and as a Chaplain, unwilling to disregard the Geneva Conventions concerning Chaplains as non-combatants) to pick up weapons to support my Soldiers, so I 'have their back' spiritually instead.

How you could have read anything partisan, anti-military, or unsupportive of the troops into my post is simply beyond my comprehension. I love my Soldiers and am doing my best to be of service to them. My friends who go to a lot of AA and Al-Anon meetings have taught me that being of service is a key to staying healthy spiritually (and thereby, to staying sober).

You have come close to calling me a traitor, Anonymous Commenter Person, and I thoroughly resent your insinuation!

At the very least you have impugned the integrity of my military service. And you have done so without the courage or self-respect to identify yourself.

You have my pity. And my prayers.

Enjoy the Super Bowl in the comfort and safety of your home.

I hereby renew my request for prayerful support of the Iraqi people and my Soldiers -- for whom I willingly put my life at risk -- as we move through the election this weekend.

Blessings and peace to you, Anonymous Commenter Person, and to all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

View My Profile


JIm said...

Way to go good Padre, from a state side right wing nut, a little to the right of Gengis Kahn. Thank you for your service, pluck and inspiration for old f*rts who will watch the Super Bowl in the safty of their homes surrounded by family. We owe you and your comrades a debt that can not be repaid equitably. I agree that comments left anonymouslly are cowardly.
Jim McKenna

Anonymous said...

Actually prudent, knowing as a military NCO that public posting can have career effecting impacts,especially in my area.

So father, (still don't understand why priests go by father when Jesus specifically addressed not doing such, but hey, why listen to the Bible when you can fleece people without it. That is one reason, acually a key reason I don't go to the Catholic chaplain. You guys think you are some necessary conduit between me and Jesus and that I need your rites and rituals to have his grace.) Anyway father, that violence you feared because we are in Iraq - where was it?

"BAGHDAD — Iraqi state TV says polls have closed in provincial elections, with no major violence reported."

"A group of U.S. soldiers patrolled on foot, but well away from polling centers. The U.S. military assisted in security preparations for the elections, but said troops would only be called in on election day if needed."

You know father, maybe I should give you more the benefit of the doubt since I don't see any indication that you have left the FOB to actually go out with the soldiers to see what they do or to meet and talk with any of the Iraqis to actually learn how much progress has been made and how they do appreciate what I and my brothers have accomplished in our tours there. If all I had to go on was a few cowards sneaking around setting up homemade rockets on homemade rail systems with timers made from old dryers who then run away and hide when they launch -- yea I might think the whole country is mad at me. And probably the only soldiers who come to you are the ones who are in great distress and desperate, so I can see why you might have an impression that our troops are just falling apart. What I would hope is that anyone with a Masters Degree in Divinity (or related) would have enough sense to see past the liberal left's lenses on this war and realize that a great deal of good is being done for our country, that is if folks don't loose their backbone and give this war away now that we've basically got it won.

We are in the same place the allies were in around Feb Mar 1945. Germany and Japan cannot win, but there is still work to do. There will still be casualties. But to quit then would have only brought another war again with way more destruction and death. But there were naysayers during that war. And following Germany's surrender there was an insurrgency that cost American and British lives for some years. (People forget about that).

Father, please just be aware that what you say, how you say it, etc... if you feed the liberal misconception of what is happening in Iraq will actually put your troops more into danger as it erodes public and political support for a war we are winning hands down. People who study military history can tell you this war, long yes, but it has been a resounding success. Never before in human history has such an tyrannical and alien culture from the engaging power been freed from tyranny, brought to humanistic values, and never before has such a huge imbedded (in the populace and religious culture) insurrgency been defeated so rapidly with so few casualties. I grieve for those we lost. I participated in a ceremony for an EOD troop assigned with my team who was vaporized. I've carried bodies to the trucks to begin their jounrey home. I've helped hold people together until we could get them into the EMEDS. I was there when the real work was done and the insurregents were like roaches coming out of the woodwork. People like Obama said we couldn't win. Said the surge wouldn't work. We'd been saying all along, give us some more people and we can win this thing. We were right. We got it done. I'll see it soon, Iraq will be much safer and quieter. I may even have the opportunity to take my translator's invitation up and go to his house and I may be able to do so without my armour. I look forward to the day when I can walk down the streets of Tikrit or Baghdad or Kirkuk and enjoy the sights, sounds, markets, and people. That day will come, if we don't quit.

I apologize for being angry, but what I heard in your words was: we shouldn't be here. I feel sorry for the soldiers who have to be hear. I want to go home. But I'm making a martyr out of my old self by taking care of these poor boys who were forced to come fight a war we shouldn't be in. That's what I heard. I've fought the war. I know better. Maybe I'm hearing the nation's voice in electing Obama in your words. Maybe I misread you. Maybe you are onboard wiht what I and my buddies, (some of whom will pay a lifelong price) have accomplished. I don't know. But please watch your words and don't put my boys in danger. It's going to be a bit before I can be back over there to set folks like you straight.

cptdrfrtim said...


Thank you very much for your courageous and honorable service.

Your biblical interpretation skills prompt me to ask, to whom is/was your mother married? (I hope you don't say, "my father" because then you've just disobeyed the biblical injunction you cite....)

I have walked down streets of Baghdad without carrying any weapon at all -- not even a knife. I suspect *you* would never dream of attempting anything like that, Sar'nt. Please do not continue to imply that I am somehow a coward. I have done everything I can to get outside the wire as often as I can; there are probably few other Officers where I work (other than on PSD teams) who get out as often as I do.

Nowhere in my post did I imply, insinuate, or hint at any of the negativity you continue to impute to my motivations, Sar'nt! Clearly you have seen something there which simply has not been there.

No one is happier than I am that there was so little violence surrounding the election; I'd say that all the prayers have worked! One should note the number of candidates (at least five) who were murdered in the run up to the elections; those murders prompted my call for prayers.

How many candidates -- for any office -- were murdered before the November elections in the U.S., Sar'nt?

You seem to feel that I'm somehow a tool of one particular political party, but I fail to see how speaking the truth about a situation can be called partisan...

Candidates *were* murdered before this election took place. There *are* people over here who are unhappy we're here. When I'm walking down a street in Baghdad -- completely unarmed -- that is somewhat different from walking down the street in Washington, DC, which I visited during my leave recently.

I suspect your mutifaceted anger which you've directed my way might better be focused in other directions.

That being said, I'm very grateful for your courageous and honorable service. If you were able to get past your contempt prior to investigation, you might come to learn that I do not "fleece" people, nor do I believe I am "some necessary conduit between [you] and Jesus and that [you] need [my] rites and rituals to have his grace."

Thanks for reading and responding, Sar'nt!

Anonymous said...

mission accomplished. I'm done with this guy.

Powered By Ringsurf