The Moose argues that when our troops are in harm's way they deserve nothing but the best.
The Moose has been in a state about the state of the protection provided our soldiers in combat. Armorgate only came to light because of the query of a brave soldier. It is evident that Secretary "I'm Incompetent, but Untouchable" Rumsfeld has become the tragic joke of this Administration. But as his failures multiply, his hold on his office does not seem to weaken. What does he have on the President?
In contrast, our troops carry on with courage and determination. Whatever your position on the war, you can only witness in awe as our soldiers go into harms way threatened by death and disability. In yesterday's New York Times, the incomparable war correspondent John Burns brilliantly captured that determination -
"But one striking thing about life with the 2/24, as with other units struggling with inadequate equipment, was the absence of grinding complaint. These marines have bolted the hardships of their deployment onto the corps ethos of unremitting toughness, to the point that deprivation is less complained about than celebrated, as proof that the marines can overcome. This ethos seeps into the weekly letters that Lt. Col. Mark A. Smith, the 40-year-old battalion commander, a state trooper back home in Indianapolis, writes to the battalion's wives.
"Ask yourself," he said in his letter last week, "how in a land of extremes, during times of insanity, constantly barraged by violence, and living in conditions comparable to the stone ages, your marines can maintain their positive attitude, their high spirit, and their abundance of compassion?" Then he answered his own question. "They defend a nation unique in all of history: One of principle, not personality; one of the rule of law, not landed gentry; one where rights matter, not privilege or religion or color or creed; where 'chief among these are the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' They are United States Marines, representing all that is best in soldierly virtues."
"Colonel Smith is a rambunctious fellow - driven, intolerant of half-measures, profane in his language. But his spirit is infectious, reminiscent of the eulogy Shakespeare wrote about a rebel commander who died in a doomed uprising against King Henry IV: "For from his mettle was his party steeled."
"Among these men of the 2/24, and in countless other units like theirs, that mettle will have to serve for now as a substitute for the other kind of metal."