So I’m over at Heyman’s blog reading about John Gebhardt for the first time (am I the last person to see it?) And how awful is it that the first site I went to upon seeing the pic (above) and reading the story was snopes.com. Yep, that’s right Fuzzy the Skeptic at large . . . it just seemed like the sort of thing someone might make up to give our guys a (much needed) boost. But no. It’s real. And well, I’ve blogged before about When Soldiers Kill Civilians, so I thought it only fair to talk about this story, too.
Reading his own words and/or those of his wife one gets a sense that Gebhardt is in many ways “Everysoldier”; he’s patriotic, committed, proud of his fellow soldiers, strong, tough, and also (surprisingly to many who see our soldiers as mindless killing machines) a deeply caring, even warm hearted human being. And not just about his own family or Americans but about the Iraqi victims of the ongoing Civil War taking place over there (and I’m sure victims of our own war over there, as well). Insurgents killed the pictured little girl’s parents and badly wounded her (clipping of original news story), but this man slept in that chair for several nights because it was the only way the child would calm down enough to sleep.
Sure, we hear about the soldiers who have raped or killed civilians, and make no mistake, this does happen, and it happens on both (well, all) sides. But now it’s definitely time to sing the praises of our men and women who make us proud with their compassion and commitment. And frankly, I believe that soldiers on all sides are doing good and just acts, too. But this blog is about American soldiers, about Chief Master Sergeant John Gebhardt and all the men and women of our armed forces that he represents.
Reading through Gebhardt’s article (“his own words,” above), you get a real sense that he is totally commited to his mission and that the soldiers he sees are all equally commited to that which they fight for and are willing to die for. I wonder sometimes about things that normal people seem to take for granted, and one of those things is about the “support our troops” campaign that everyone seems to have embraced without much thought. I, as you know, totally support our troops, and I know that many of you do, as well. But I do wonder how people define “support” because it seems to me that if you support our troops but not their mission, what they fight for, what they are willing to die for, then it’s not really support. It’s more like . . . not hating them or belittling them as was done to Vietnam vets during and after that debacle. But I guess “I don’t hate our troops” or “I won’t spit on or boo our troops” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
One last look at Gebhardt comforting another baby in Iraq: