This father gives voice to what is in many of our hearts.
An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan From the Proud Father of a U.S. Marine By Brantley Smith Posted On August 17, 2005
By your actions over the past two weeks it is clear that you missed an important aspect of Civics 101: With rights come responsibilities. You certainly have the right to voice your opinion against the war in Iraq and the President's policies. You even have the right to camp outside the President's home in Crawford and demand he meet with you. Your status as a mother who has lost a child in the war also gives your words and actions a credibility and a larger audience than otherwise would be the case. Now that your supporters have given you a broad forum from which to be heard, making you a national figure, its time you considered your responsibilities to all of us. I have a daughter set to deploy to Fallujah in two weeks and I have a serious concern with how your irresponsible and short sighted actions might impact on her. She is, after all, a volunteer, like your son, and she is going in harm's way because she believes it is her responsibility to protect your rights and freedoms.
Well meaning people like you always seem to forget the law of unintended consequences and in your vanity and arrogant self-righteousness never bother to think through what it is you are trying to do versus what you may actually accomplish. I am here to inform you, Ma'am, that you will not change the policy of our government by sitting outside Crawford making a spectacle of yourself in the name of your rights to free speech; what you will do is provide more propaganda for our enemies and cost the lives of even more brave and selfless American warriors. How long do you think it will be before you become a star on Al Jazeera? For all I know, it may have already happened. One thing is certain, though, and that is that your actions and words will further embolden a ruthless and evil enemy and more American blood will be shed and some of it will be on your hands. I pray that my daughter will not be one of them. If she is, then I will hold you and those like you partly responsible. Yes, my daughter's fate will depend mostly on her own courageous decision to serve, but only the most naive among us can deny the impact our own words and actions here in America have in a world grown smaller by the revolution in communications technology.
I am sure you believe that you are serving some great cause by putting our servicemen and women in more danger and that you can, by your irresponsible exercise of free speech, help end a policy you disagree with. Your emotion may be compelling but the reality is that you will not set in motion any process that will change or undo what has been done. The war will go on because to end it now would dishonor the sacrifice of all of our fellow countrymen who have died in the cause of fighting terrorism. Rational Americans will not allow that. Too much is at stake. Unfortunately, shallow and irrational ones, such as yourself, will continue to put the lives of our sons and daughters in danger by aiding and abetting an enemy who sees propagandizing in the mass media as its main weapon in a war it could otherwise not win standing on its own wretched and evil justification of radical Islam, or by force of arms. You, Ma'am, have joined forces with an evil you neither understand nor apparently have tried to comprehend. You direct your anger toward our country while the enemy plots to kill and maim the innocent. You make a mockery of responsible free speech while thousands of young men and women fight desperately to preserve your safety. Instead of honoring your son's sacrifice you are inspired to comfort an evil enemy.
You clearly do not understand the challenge we face as a nation and have not tried to put it in historical perspective. It is a sad fact that it is those of your thinking that have led us to where we are today. Decades of appeasement to these haters of everything we hold dear has cost thousands of American lives from Beirut to New York and in dozens of other forgotten places. Remember Lockerbie? The Achille Lauro? The USS Cole? We as a people were dragged into this war, much like December 7th, 1941, and we must fight and win it wherever the enemy hides and against whomever would support him. Make no mistake about Iraq. It is both a legitimate and crucial campaign in this much larger, global war of radical Islam's making. These people hate us for who we are, not what we have done. We did not bring this on ourselves, as many would have us believe, by our policies and actions abroad. We brought this on ourselves in 1775 when the Founding Fathers embarked on a course of freedom, tolerance, and liberal democratic and social ideals. These haters of all we hold dear strive to destroy forever a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" that Abraham Lincoln hoped would never "Perish from the earth". They would replace it with an oppressive world theocracy unlike anything modern history has ever seen for its ruthless disregard for personal freedom and liberty. If more appeasement is your answer for an alternative policy, spare us. We have suffered enough from cowardice and inaction.
An historical analogy screams to be let out here. It is one of two men, both named Chamberlain. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a school teacher turned soldier in the American Civil War, found himself in the crosshairs of history on a warm July day in 1863 on a small hill in Pennsylvania. Commanding the 20th Maine Regiment on the extreme Union left at Gettysburg he was in a most perilous position. Should he fail to hold against a strong Confederate attack, the Union could be lost. You see, he was serving in an increasingly unpopular war at home against a resurgent enemy, and for a President fighting for his political life. Colonel Chamberlain, stoic but determined, refused to yield. His small regiment held against an onslaught of Confederate attacks, an action many historians believe turned the tide of the war. He was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The other half of this analogy focuses on Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain in the years preceding World War II. His story is widely known. Through his policy of appeasement and a lack of moral courage, he handed Adolf Hitler much of Europe. Which side of history have you chosen, Ma'am?
Your son died in the service of freedom and my daughter will go in harm's way to protect and preserve it. Honor their sacrifice, Ma'am, by exercising it responsibly.
I will pray with you and I will grieve with you but I will not stand by silent while you needlessly and arrogantly endanger the life of my daughter and her comrades in arms. Please bless us with your silence and go home.
Brantley Smith Proud father of a United States Marine Tullahoma, TN
Very nice and smartly written.