Longtime members of the DFA community might bristle at the memory of "liberal hawks" and pooh-poohing of prewar concerns about Bush's [lack of a] strategy. Still, we all agree these days that Bush has monumentally screwed up in Iraq — and hasn't shown a scintilla of the sacrifice needed to turn the war around.
That makes it all the more remarkable when a onetime "liberal hawk" — unlike, say, any immediate relatives of Karl Rove — puts his life on hold, and himself on the line, to fight in this conflict. Phil Carter — a progressive writer who blogs at Intel Dump — has done just that.
On Thursday, I received orders from the Army mobilizing me for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These orders followed an earlier set, cut on Tuesday, which transferred me from the Army's individual ready reserve into the 101st Airborne Division. It's an honor and privilege to deploy with such a storied unit -- a band of warriors who have nearly all deployed at least once since 9/11. I'm scheduled to report for active duty in a little under 3 weeks to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After some period of pre-deployment training and preparation, I will deploy with my unit to Iraq.
It's difficult to describe the swirl of emotions I have now. I'm excited about this opportunity to serve, but also apprehensive about what lies ahead. I'm worried for my family and friends (this will be harder on them than me), and I will miss them terribly; but I'm also comforted by the strength they have displayed over the past few days.
Let this show just how serious progressives are about national security — even while believing, as many left-of-center Americans and a growing number of responsible conservatives do, that the Bush administration has thoroughly bungled it. Whatever your political stripe, the willingness to sacrifice — far more than blowhard attempts to claim national security as the province of radicals in a political party — stands as the truest sign of commitment to protecting the American people.
So best of luck to you, Phil Carter; you make us proud. Come home safe.