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What the diserters (weak of heart) don't understand.

 
 
Baldimo
 
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2005 08:36 pm
Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, who spent his boyhood in Tampa, became a man in the Army and died outside Baghdad defending his outnumbered soldiers from an Iraqi attack, will receive America's highest award for bravery.
President Bush will present the Medal of Honor to Smith's wife, Birgit, and their children Jessica, 18, and David, 10, at a ceremony at the White House, possibly in March.
The official announcement will come soon, but the Pentagon called Mrs. Smith with the news Tuesday afternoon.
"We had faith he was going to get it," Mrs. Smith said from her home in Holiday, "but the phone call was shocking. It was overwhelming. My heart was racing, and I got sweaty hands. I yelled, "Oh, yes!' ... I'm still all shaky.
"People know what's he's done ... people know that to get a Medal of Honor you have to be a special person or do something really great."
What Paul Smith did on April 4, 2003, was climb aboard an armored vehicle and, manning a heavy machine gun, take it upon himself to cover the withdrawal of his men from a suddenly vulnerable position. Smith was fatally wounded by Iraqi fire, the only American to die in the engagement.
"I'm in bittersweet tears," said Smith's mother, Janice Pvirre. "The medal isn't going to bring him back. ... It makes me sad that all these other soldiers have died. They are all heroes."
With the medal, Smith joins a most hallowed society.
Since the Civil War, just 3,439 men (and one woman) have received the Medal of Honor. It recognizes only the most extreme examples of bravery - those "above and beyond the call of duty."
That oft-heard phrase has a specific meaning: The medal cannot be given to those who act under orders, no matter how heroic their actions. Indeed, according to Library of Congress defense expert David F. Burrelli, it must be "the type of deed which, if he had not done it, would not subject him to any justified criticism."
From World War II on, most of the men who received the medal died in the action that led to their nomination. There are but 129 living recipients.
Smith is the first soldier from the Iraq war to receive the medal, which had not previously been awarded since 1993. In that year, two Army Special Forces sergeants were killed in Somalia in an action described in the bestselling book Black Hawk Down.
The officer who called Birgit Smith on Tuesday nominated her husband for the medal.
Lt. Col. Thomas Smith (no relation) sent in his recommendation in May 2003, beginning a process that involved reviews at 12 levels of the military chain of command before reaching the White House. On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Smith expressed satisfaction that the wait was over, and great admiration for his former subordinate.
In the Army, he said, you hear about men who won the Medal of Honor. "You think they are myths when you read about them. It's almost movielike. You just don't think you'd ever meet someone like that."
Paul Smith, he said, was not a "soft soldier" who suddenly got tough under fire. "This was a guy whose whole life experience seemed building toward putting him in the position where he could do something like this. He was demanding on his soldiers all the time and was a stickler for all the things we try to enforce. It's just an amazing story."
Lt. Col. Smith commanded the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, during the American attack on Iraq, which began March 20, 2003. On the morning of April 4, the engineers found themselves manning a roadblock not far from Baghdad International Airport.
A call went out for a place to put some Iraqi prisoners.
Sgt. Smith volunteered to create a holding pen inside a walled courtyard. Soon, Iraqi soldiers, numbering perhaps 100, opened fire on Smith's position. Smith was accompanied by 16 men.
Smith called for a Bradley, a tank-like vehicle with a rapid fire cannon. It arrived and opened up on the Iraqis. The enemy could not advance so long as the Bradley was in position. But then, in a move that baffled and angered Smith's men, the Bradley left.
Smith's men, some of whom were wounded, were suddenly vulnerable.
Smith could have justifiably ordered his men to withdraw. Lt. Col. Smith believes Sgt. Smith rejected that option, thinking that abandoning the courtyard would jeopardize about 100 GIs outside - including medics at an aid station.
Sgt. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis, going through several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman. As the battle wound down, Smith was hit in the head. He died before he could be evacuated from the scene. He was 33.
The Times published a lengthy account of the battle, and Smith's life in January 2004. It can be seen at www.sptimes.com/paulsmith
Sgt. Matthew Keller was one of the men who fought with Smith in the courtyard. "He put himself in front of his soldiers that day and we survived because of his actions," Keller said Tuesday from Fort Stewart in Georgia. "He was thinking my men are in trouble and I'm going to do what is necessary to help them. He didn't care about his own safety."
Some of the men who fought alongside Smith were sent back to Iraq last month. Keller, 26, is scheduled to return Feb. 15, but was scrambling Tuesday to delay his deployment to attend the medal ceremony in Washington.
"I want to be there to support the family and show thanks for what Sgt. Smith did," Keller said.
Mrs. Smith moved to Holiday after her husband's death, to be near his parents. Her daughter, Jessica, recently moved out on her own and is thinking about going to college. Son David is a fifth-grader at Sunray Elementary School in Holiday.
"From the beginning (David) didn't show much feelings, keeping to himself," Mrs. Smith said. "He thinks if he brings it up it will make me sad. He's trying to be the strong one. The day Paul left for Iraq he told David, "You're the man in the house now.'
"Paul is not forgotten," she said. "He's part of history now. It makes me feel proud, so honored that I was allowed to be part of Paul's life. Even today he's probably laughing at all of us, saying "You're making way too big a deal out of me.'
"He did what he had to do to protect his men, not to get a medal."
THE LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION
For a multimedia report on the story of Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, published as a special section in the Times last year, go to www.sptimes com/paulsmith.

A true hero!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cowards to the end!

This is something none of these people would know about. For most soldiers it isn't about the fighting or the guns or even the possible glory that comes from war. For a vast majority of soldiers it is about the people in your unit, your battle buddy. You can't let that person down. These people that have chickened out and left the military for Canada like a generation of chickens before them have no honor and no right to even consider themselves American Soldiers. That title is for soldiers like SFC Paul Smith and others who have severed honorably in the US military. I hope Canada denies these cowards their status and sends them back to the US so that they can look the families of dead and wounded soldiers families in the face and say they didn't believe in covering their buddy's backs. It is the selfless act of protecting those around you that makes you a hero, not running when you don't agree with what is going on.

They claim that they aren't cowards but I would disagree with that statement. If they aren't cowards then return to the US and sleep in the bed you made for yourself.
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 09:10 pm
Bump
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 09:52 pm
It could very well be that the deserters are merely attempting to follow their conscience. If they are not pacifist they cannot opt out of Iraq because they believe it an unjust war so they attempt to go to another country.
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 10:28 pm
Then they shouldn't have joined the military in the first place.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 10:44 pm
Hey, you're really worked up!
I hate to say this but I wish I was half as brave as that Marine who decided it was immoral to kill civilians in Iraq. Remember...he joined up right after 9/11. he probably thought he was going to Afghanistan to root out Al-K. When he got his posting it went against his instructions to disobey an immoral order.

I'm gonna honor Smith and Felushko. They can both occupy a pedestal in my eyes. Our country is lucky to have both.
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 11:20 pm
I don't fault a soldier for not wanting to kill civilians; he should only do that if he is ordered to kill innocent people. If they are shooting at you then they are no longer innocent and you should shoot back to save your life as well as those around you. You can't guess at what you are going to do because you don't know till you get there. He should have known from his training that he is trained to avoid civilian casualties. If he was basing his decision because of the war then that is wrong. Going into a war zone is to kill the enemy not civilians.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 11:27 pm
I don't mean in a technical sense... I mean he found the Iraqui invasion immoral or...who knows, maybe he felt it was a grab for oil or something.
I'm just saying...I don't think he's a coward. And I think our country has thrived because of people like him AND heros like Smith.
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 11:51 pm
How has our country thrived because of people like him? He agreed to serve in the US military and turned his back on something he didn't like. Sometimes in life we can't just turn out backs when we don't like what is going on. This country wasn't founded on that type of commitment. It is his type that turned their back on the people in the US during the Revolutionary War and fought with the British, not with the new Americans.

If he didn't think the war was right and didn't want to kill innocent civilians then he should have tried and changed his specialty in the military from a combat role to one of support so he could be there for his battle buddies.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 03:05 am
He told Pelley it wasn't fighting that bothered him. In fact, he says he started basic training just weeks after al Qaeda attacked New York and Washington -- and he was prepared to get even for Sept. 11 in Afghanistan.

But Felushko says he didn't see a connection between the attack on America and Saddam Hussein.

"(What) it basically comes down to, is it my right to choose between what I think is right and what I think is wrong?" asks Felushko. "And nobody should make me sign away my ability to choose between right and wrong."

Giving him the benefit of the doubt...he was gung-ho to go to war after 9/11 but felt that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. There's so much more cannon fodder waiting to deploy, why get upset about one deserter?

Do you honestly think he has any effect on our country's morale?

Some of the people that have made our country great sacrificed a great deal to fight against illegal and immoral practices. They too were very unpopular. Rosa Parks comes to mind and Cesar Chavez

I know you feel anger at guys like Felushko. Try to find a quality of mercy in your heart. Not everything is black and white/ right and wrong.
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 04:31 am
I was and still am opposed to the invasion of Iraq. But you can't run a military where its members individually decide which campaigns they will fight in and which they won't. I mean it's not as if the US military is press-ganging people into service.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 07:23 am
It's not a soldiers job to decide if what he is doing is "right" or not. A soldier is not an individual. A soldier is part of a team and every team member has to be able to rely on every other team member.

One of the objectives of basic training is to instill this belief. To instill obedience to the chain of command.
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Joeblow
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 10:00 am
The decision in a similar case was rendered a week ago. Counsel intends to apply to The Federal Court of Canada for leave to commence judicial review proceedings.

U.S. deserter denied asylum


Quote:
Hinzman is "an intelligent, thoughtful young man with an inquisitive mind," but does not qualify for refugee status because he hasn't shown a "well-founded fear of persecution," or that he would be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment if returned to the U.S. for court-martial, Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Brian Goodman ruled yesterday.

Instead, the former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division would be sent back to a democracy that offers its citizens due process of law and a "sophisticated" military justice system, and is not a person in need of protection, he said in yesterday's 70-page decision.

Goodman also found Hinzman was not a conscientious objector because he was not, for political or religious reasons, opposed to war in all forms. He dismissed refugee claims filed by Hinzman's wife, Nga Thi Nguyen, and their son, Liam, 2.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 10:36 am
goodfielder wrote:
I was and still am opposed to the invasion of Iraq. But you can't run a military where its members individually decide which campaigns they will fight in and which they won't. I mean it's not as if the US military is press-ganging people into service.


That's true, you can't. However:

"I was told in basic training that, if I'm given an illegal or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it, and I feel that invading and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do."

There will always be some one in the military that will take these instructions to heart. Whether they're a coward or not is still debatable in my mind
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 10:43 am
McGentrix wrote:
It's not a soldiers job to decide if what he is doing is "right" or not. A soldier is not an individual. A soldier is part of a team and every team member has to be able to rely on every other team member.

One of the objectives of basic training is to instill this belief. To instill obedience to the chain of command.


http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/ww2-pix/einsatz3.jpg

Before you get your boxers knotted up. I'm not comparing our soldiers in Iraq with this soldier in Lithuania. I'm playing devil's advocate with your quote. Lt Calley is another example of the slippery slope of total obedience.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 10:53 am
I rarely disagree with McG but in this case, I think a soldier's duty is to follow orders UNLESS he KNOWS the order to be immoral or illegal. No soldier is obligated to follow an order to gun down innocent civilians. But as has been pointed out, if the civilians are shooting at you or rigging a car bomb or planting booby traps for your tanks, they are no longer innocent; in truth they are no longer 'civilians'.

It is not the prerogative of any soldier, however, from the lowliest grunt in the National Guard to military academy appointees to 5-star generals, to decide whether a war is legal or illegal. That is the prerogative of the President and Congress alone. The soldier can make value judgments regarding legality in his personal conduct of the war, but such judgment must be made within the scope and intent of military and civil law.

If a soldier finds the activities of war scary or distasteful, well he should have thought of that before he signed up. He can't quit just because he doesn't like it.
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 04:41 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
I rarely disagree with McG but in this case, I think a soldier's duty is to follow orders UNLESS he KNOWS the order to be immoral or illegal. No soldier is obligated to follow an order to gun down innocent civilians. But as has been pointed out, if the civilians are shooting at you or rigging a car bomb or planting booby traps for your tanks, they are no longer innocent; in truth they are no longer 'civilians'.

It is not the prerogative of any soldier, however, from the lowliest grunt in the National Guard to military academy appointees to 5-star generals, to decide whether a war is legal or illegal. That is the prerogative of the President and Congress alone. The soldier can make value judgments regarding legality in his personal conduct of the war, but such judgment must be made within the scope and intent of military and civil law.

If a soldier finds the activities of war scary or distasteful, well he should have thought of that before he signed up. He can't quit just because he doesn't like it.


Well put Fox.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 06:34 pm
I should add in McG's defense that my opinion of a soldier's responsibility and duty in no way suggests that teamwork is not critical to success. I just think even if the rest of the team is doing something that is clearly illegal and immoral under civil and/or military law, a soldier may follow his conscience in whether to participate or not. I also know that sometimes war requires activities that would not be acceptable in civilian life and the soldier cannot be held to the same standards in battle that would apply on a stateside base.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 06:42 pm
McGentrix wrote:
It's not a soldiers job to decide if what he is doing is "right" or not. A soldier is not an individual. A soldier is part of a team and every team member has to be able to rely on every other team member.

One of the objectives of basic training is to instill this belief. To instill obedience to the chain of command.


This sounds very dangerous to me. It may sound good to you, when you have your own troops in mind.

But now concentrate on Osama bin Laden, and try to keep al Qaeda in mind, while repeating the above words.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 07:05 pm
old europe wrote:
McGentrix wrote:
It's not a soldiers job to decide if what he is doing is "right" or not. A soldier is not an individual. A soldier is part of a team and every team member has to be able to rely on every other team member.

One of the objectives of basic training is to instill this belief. To instill obedience to the chain of command.


This sounds very dangerous to me. It may sound good to you, when you have your own troops in mind.

But now concentrate on Osama bin Laden, and try to keep al Qaeda in mind, while repeating the above words.


Please explain how this pertains to OBL and his people.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2005 07:09 pm
See, Baldimo: whenever you have structures where members think of themselves as soldiers, and maybe a chain of command, McG's statement would be true.

Or wouldn't it?
0 Replies
 
 

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