The Corner

‘Somebody Has to Go Fight Them’

This morning, I wrote a post headed “On ‘Liking’ War.” It was about the charge against people like me — who favor an unblinking and unstinting response to the Jihad — that we get a kick out of war. An American soldier sent me a note, which I’d like to share:

Mr. Nordlinger,

Your post made me uncomfortable — in a good way, I think …

I’m a soldier. My family and friends, at gatherings, often tell me that they hope I don’t have to deploy, hope I get to stay home, etc.

I never know what to reply. I love doing my job. There are evil, terrible, awful people out there. People who want you and everybody you love dead, people who wouldn’t just kill you but would do unspeakable things to you before you died. Many of these bad guys don’t want you dead for any particular political or economic reason. It’s simply because they’re terrible people.

Somebody has to go outside the walls and take the fight to these people. That’s a necessary job and I don’t want others to have to do it. I don’t want it to be my friends. I don’t want it to be my family. Now that I have sons — Jesus, I don’t want it to have to be them to go outside the walls. I want to do that.

And I’m good at it. And I like it. There’s satisfaction in doing a job well, even if it’s an unpleasant job. Every bad guy we take care of is one fewer that may someday be here, carrying out the kind of atrocity we saw yesterday in Paris, among my sons.

I like protecting my sons. So by extension, I guess I do, indeed, like war. I might burn in hell for saying it, but if it keeps my boys safe, I’ll gladly pay that price. Better I burn and they get to live in safety and peace than I get to live smug and satisfied while they live under the sword.

Nobody relishes the prospect of suffering. Yesterday morning, before our phones started buzzing with news from Paris, I was in refresher training for tactical combat casualty care (TC3, in the Army’s quest to turn everything into acronyms and the like). Hours of practicing to apply tourniquets, pack wounds, stop bleeding, clear airways, apply quick clot, puncture chest cavities to treat collapsed lungs. Nobody likes that. Nobody likes the pictures they always show of mangled legs and necks and groins and faces. Anybody who says we like that is either wrong or deliberately making us out to be bloodthirsty psychopaths.

But we know that the monsters are out there. We know that somebody has to go fight them. And we’re happy to do that if it means the monsters can’t hurt our sons.

If that means I like war, then I guess I do. And I refuse to apologize for it. …

All my best, sir. Hoping, hoping like hell that I get to deploy soon. Roaches just get worse if you don’t clean out the nest.


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