April 28, 2009

NOT A CHILD

A great editorial by a soldier in Afghanistan:

In a column, Mr. Putney has again raised the debate about the sacrifice of America's "sons and daughters" in uniform. Some have argued that we must continue the fight to honor their memory "so that they have not died in vain." Others argue we must stop the wars to save soldiers from this fate. I think an essential understanding of what motivates those of us in uniform is missing in this debate.

We are not your sons and daughters, whom you must protect and defend. We are your sword and your shield. We are men and women who volunteer to place our lives on the line so you do not have to. We do not decide when or where we will be sent. We go. You are our advocates, not our parents.
[...]
I know my life is in the hands of others because I choose for it to be that way. I am not your daughter, a child who must be guided. I have made my choice and pledge my honor to it. I will thank you to remember that because we serve our nation, none of us dies in vain, regardless of the cause; end of debate.

(emphasis mine)

The "sons and daughters" argument has always bugged me too.

When I met my husband nearly ten years ago, he was still a teenager.  But he had more responsibility than any of the rest of us in college.  Stayed up until midnight watching TV?  You can skip class, but you can't skip PT.  At 19, he managed his life far better than most.  And by the time he returned from Iraq at 25, he was a full-fledged man, a man who had been responsible for the safety and lives of 15 other soldiers.

He is not, and never was, a child who needs protecting.  He doesn't need concerned citizens to treat him like a dupe or rube and decide what's best for him and where he should direct his energies.  He wants to direct them at the Middle East, and if you "bring him home," he will try to find another way to get there somehow.

He is your sword and your shield.  And he is a man.

Posted by: Sarah at 01:52 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Very. Good. Point. 

Of course people still care about you, whatever stage of life you're in, but they're no longer responsible for you, and the infantilizing attitude (rebutted so nicely both here and in that editorial) really does need to stop.  (For that matter, it needs to stop for civilian adults, too.) 

For goodness' sake, we're supposed to raise kids to be worthwhile, come-into-their-own, self-sufficient (insofar as it is possible) adults, not to still be nursing at 40.  And yes, our adult commitments are OUR adult commitments, not our parents' sacrificing us to appease the fire gods.

This post goes kinda well with AFW's post, doesn't it?

Posted by: kannie at April 28, 2009 05:36 PM (S6srO)

2 I think the idea of "America's sons and daughters" has been watered down to this idea that our military are 'our sons and daughters' as Americans.  The symbolic use of "America's sons and daughters" in its original usage (from what I can tell) seemed more to conjure the idea that the virile, courageous, young (or at least agile!) and brave would take up arms to protect the homeland.  That the sons & daughters of the country would rise up and maintain freedom to honor those who went before and to provide for those yet to come.

Now, though, like everything else, this phrase has been watered down to suggest that our military blithely found itself somewhere that, had their been careful guidance, none of them would have tread.

I'm with you.  They know what they are doing and they do it better than anyone else.


Posted by: Guard Wife at April 28, 2009 06:18 PM (Bfea2)

3 This view of servicemembers as children (hence "sons and daughters") reflects the paternal premise of the Left.  Individuals like Sarah's husband are incapable of making decisions for themselves. The little people must be guided by a Great Leader.  The armed forces were duped by a false Great Leader (Bushaitan), but now that the Omerican peOple have chosen the greatest leader of all time by a record landslide, I expect to hear some interesting new tunes. Leftists might warm up to Afghanistan while the Right loses interest.

Posted by: Amritas at April 29, 2009 12:51 PM (+nV09)

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