The nobility of three soldiers

Our preoccupation with the current political scene caused many of us to overlook a tragic and noble event that took place in Iraq on January 7.

According to the most detailed account, in [UK] Times Online

It was a day of ceremony, pride and hope. Dancing Iraqi soldiers celebrated the country's national army holiday with a new chant: "Where is terrorism today?"

In the central Karrada neighbourhood, an elderly man placed flowers into the gun barrels of three recruits. And then the suicide bomber struck.

Four policemen, three soldiers and four civilians were killed, and many more wounded. The death toll would have been much higher were it not for the three soldiers who threw themselves at the bomber when they became suspicious. They absorbed much of the blast. Without their action, many more would have died...

The names and photos of these three heroes should have been on the front pages of all the newspapers in the world. What could be a more compelling human story? It would have been a welcome change from the too-familiar faces of the candidates.

To sink momentarily into politics, these three men, by giving their lives, gave the lie to the canard, common to all the current Democratic candidates, that our involvement in Iraq has been a pointless mistake. To most or all of our politicians, the war in Iraq is merely a bargaining chip for getting votes. But to these three, it was a matter of life and death.

We are justifiably proud of the valor and determination of our soldiers in Iraq. But these three Iraqi soldiers, and 135,000 others like them, had even harder choices to make with even more at stake. Unaccustomed to living in a free country, despised by many of their own people as traitors, deceived and betrayed by self-serving leaders, they nonetheless chose to risk their lives and futures for in the hope of winning lasting freedom for their families and their people. If their efforts were to fail, they and their families would become the fugitive targets of reprisals. And when the climactic moment came, they chose to give their lives to save others.

And they trusted us. The Times Online article continues:

The plan for US forces to hand over control of security requires huge trust on both sides, as witnessed by The Times on a joint operation. In Yusifiyah, a town in an area south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death, US and Iraqi troops conduct joint air assaults, patrols and other operations without any problems.

Captain Michael Starz, who spends much of his time mentoring Iraqi troops, said that he had no concern about malign elements, noting that the Iraqi forces handled much of the security at a shared base where they all live on the outskirts of the town. "Literally they have our backs and we have their backs," he said.
Let us hope, that whatever eventually happens in Iraq, the memory of this bond of trust and mutual respect between American and Iraqi soldiers will endure.

Can anyone tell me the names of these three men? I want to remember them in my prayers. And from the paradise wherein I am certain their God and mine has placed them, I hope that they will pray for you and me-pray that we not betray the trust they placed in us and in our promise of freedom.
Our preoccupation with the current political scene caused many of us to overlook a tragic and noble event that took place in Iraq on January 7.

According to the most detailed account, in [UK] Times Online

It was a day of ceremony, pride and hope. Dancing Iraqi soldiers celebrated the country's national army holiday with a new chant: "Where is terrorism today?"

In the central Karrada neighbourhood, an elderly man placed flowers into the gun barrels of three recruits. And then the suicide bomber struck.

Four policemen, three soldiers and four civilians were killed, and many more wounded. The death toll would have been much higher were it not for the three soldiers who threw themselves at the bomber when they became suspicious. They absorbed much of the blast. Without their action, many more would have died...

The names and photos of these three heroes should have been on the front pages of all the newspapers in the world. What could be a more compelling human story? It would have been a welcome change from the too-familiar faces of the candidates.

To sink momentarily into politics, these three men, by giving their lives, gave the lie to the canard, common to all the current Democratic candidates, that our involvement in Iraq has been a pointless mistake. To most or all of our politicians, the war in Iraq is merely a bargaining chip for getting votes. But to these three, it was a matter of life and death.

We are justifiably proud of the valor and determination of our soldiers in Iraq. But these three Iraqi soldiers, and 135,000 others like them, had even harder choices to make with even more at stake. Unaccustomed to living in a free country, despised by many of their own people as traitors, deceived and betrayed by self-serving leaders, they nonetheless chose to risk their lives and futures for in the hope of winning lasting freedom for their families and their people. If their efforts were to fail, they and their families would become the fugitive targets of reprisals. And when the climactic moment came, they chose to give their lives to save others.

And they trusted us. The Times Online article continues:

The plan for US forces to hand over control of security requires huge trust on both sides, as witnessed by The Times on a joint operation. In Yusifiyah, a town in an area south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death, US and Iraqi troops conduct joint air assaults, patrols and other operations without any problems.

Captain Michael Starz, who spends much of his time mentoring Iraqi troops, said that he had no concern about malign elements, noting that the Iraqi forces handled much of the security at a shared base where they all live on the outskirts of the town. "Literally they have our backs and we have their backs," he said.
Let us hope, that whatever eventually happens in Iraq, the memory of this bond of trust and mutual respect between American and Iraqi soldiers will endure.

Can anyone tell me the names of these three men? I want to remember them in my prayers. And from the paradise wherein I am certain their God and mine has placed them, I hope that they will pray for you and me-pray that we not betray the trust they placed in us and in our promise of freedom.