By Fr. George Welzbacher
October 2, 2011
The display of heroic courage on today's fields of battle is not much in evidence in Hollywood's recent product, though in fairness to the industry one ought to take note of at least one recent film that depicts military valor as something to be admired: The Hurt Locker. But even if it's out of favor with Hollywood's elite, heroic courage on the battlefield in today's real world is anything but extinct. A magnificent example of extraordinary courage under heavy and unrelenting fire has caught the public eye with the recent awarding of the Medal of Honor to Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer. Here is Corporal Meyer's story as reported by war correspondent Bing West, who spent considerable time as an "embedded reporter" with our troops in Afghanistan.
* * * * *The Afghan Rescue Mission Behind Today's Medal of Honor
By: Bing West - The Wall Street Journal
September 15, 2011
President Obama will today award the Medal of Honor to Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer. In attendance will be a handful of soldiers and Marines who, one day in September, 2009, were abandoned by their chain of command and relied on their own initiative to dislodge a fierce enemy. Their battle has entered military folklore and resulted not only in today's Medal of Honor but in two Navy crosses, two investigations for dereliction of duty, three letters of severe reprimand and a recommendation for a second Medal of honor.
The setting was the remote Afghan village of Ganjigal, on the Pakistan border, where elders had requested aid in repairing a mosque. Hoping to win hearts and minds, a U.S.-trained Afghan battalion agreed to help. At dawn, about 100 Afghan soldiers and a dozen U. S. Marine advisors entered the valley where Ganjigal is found, picking their way up a narrow, rocky wash toward the stone houses dug into the far end.
It was a setup. Hidden inside the houses and along the wash were 60 jihadists from Pakistan. The ambushers opened fire with machine guns, mortars and rockets. Immediately the foot patrol was pinned down and taking casualties.
Back at the valley's entrance, 21-year-old Cpl. Meyer listened to radio calls for artillery fire that were refused by officers at higher headquarters due to concern for endangering villagers. Cpl. Meyer hopped into the gun turret of a Humvee and persuaded a fellow adviser, Sgt. Juan Rodriquez-Chavez, to drive him straight into the battle.
When the Humvee lurched into the wash, Cpl. Meyer saw the bodies of roughly a dozen Afghan soldiers strewn across the terrain, some dead and others crying. With bullets striking his truck, he leaped out, stuffed five wounded Afghans inside, and then hopped back up behind the machine gun and hammered away as the pulverized vehicle crawled out of the wash.
Leaving the wounded in the rear, Cpl. Meyer and Sgt. Rodriquez-Chavez swapped Humvees. This time the enemy was waiting in a dry-streambed. Rocket - propelled grenades and machine-gun bullets followed Cpl. Meer as he repeatedly LEFT his armored turret to load the truck with wounded Afghan soldiers. At one point, he shot a tall man with a black beard. When another leapt forward under the barrel of his machine gun, Cpl. Meyer grabbed his M4 rifle and shot him in the head. "You'll have to kill me," he shouted in the rage of battle (he had expected to be killed, he told me a few days later at his outpost in Afghanistan), "because that's the only way you'll stop me."
When Cpl. Meyer and Sgt. Rodriquez-Chavez again dropped off the wounded in the rear, they bumped into a backup American platoon in armored vehicles. The Platoon REFUSED to join them, so they went back in for a THIRD time with NO backup, driving into a torrent of automatic-weapons fire so a group of trapped American advisers could escape. Cpl. Meyer watched women and children darting among the houses, carrying ammunition to the jihadists.
Cpl. Meyer, a qualified sniper, was hit in the right elbow but continued to shoot left-handed until the feeling returned to his right hand. Over the radio, he listened to Captain Will Swenson, an Army adviser who remained in the valley to fight, calling repeatedly for artillery fire, only to be rebuffed by headquarters.
Pulling back out, Cpl. Meyer took count. Four advisers were still missing. So he gathered those still willing to risk death. In addition to Sgt. Rodriquez-Chavez and Capt. Swenson, an Afghan interpreter and Lt. Ademola Fabayo, another adviser, climbed into the truck with Cpl. Meyer. An Army pilot in a tiny Kiowa helicopter flying 10 feet above the ground, protected the Humvee from the rear. They drove back into the cauldron a FOURTH time. After SEVEN HOURS of fighting, Cpl. Meyer found his four missing comrades, dead. At about the same time, the jihadists had collected their casualties and were trekking back into Pakistan.
Over the following months, two investigations resulted in three letters of reprimand for the unit commanders' failure to provide fire support. Bitterness about the battle and its aftermath lingered among the families of the four dead Americans. While Lt. Fabayo and Sgt. Rodriquez-Chavez received the Navy Cross from the Marine Corps, Capt. Swenson quietly resigned from the Army with no recognition for his valor. Cpl. Meyer protested against that oversight. Last month, General John R. Allen, the new commander in Afghanistan, re-opened the record of that tumultuous day in Ganjigal. Given the four-star general's personal interest, sworn statements attesting to Capt. Swenson's valor were quickly found. Gen. Allen has since forwarded a Medal of Honor recommendation, saying that it was the right thing to do despite a lapse of two years.
As for Dakota Meyer, his Medal of Honor citation speaks for itself. Ignoring withering fire, he had carried 12 wounded Afghans to safety and covered the withdrawal of 24 other Americans and Afghans. He had killed at least eight enemy fighters. He would not be refused in battle.
Men do not suddenly acquire unshakable determination to face almost certain death. At the age of four, young Dakota wanted to drive the old tractor on the family farm in Kentucky. His father told him he had to be old enough to turn the hand crank. An hour later, the tractor roared to life-Dakota had repeatedly jumped from the tractor hood onto the crank until it turned over. When he was five, he solemnly assured his grandmother that he would guard her against robbers. A rugged athlete in high school, he also tutored autistic students. He volunteered for Afghanistan as his second combat tour and risked death to rescue Afghans as well as Americans.
Cpl. Meyer set the example, but he could not have succeeded alone. Others of LIKE mind JOINED him. Their shared tenacity wasn't rooted solely in fighting for their fellow squad members. In fact, the core group at the end of the fight didn't know each other that well. Captain Swenson had only a passing acquaintance with Cpl. Meyer, while Lt. Fabayo and Sgt. Rodriquez-Chavez lived at a different base.
Today's ceremony should be a source of pride for ALL Americans, because Ganjigal wasn't about one warrior. Inside that village on the Pakistan border, the defining values of America-Individual initiative, comradeship, valor and determination to prevail despite any odds-were on display.
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The self-sacrificial devotion to the common good so strikingly exemplified by Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer and his compatriots, who of their own free will put themselves into mortal danger in coming to the rescue of trapped Afghan soldiers as well as besieged Americans-this kind of dedication to the common good is rooted and nourished in a culture that reveres the authority of Almighty God as the Source and Chief Vindicator of our cherished liberties, a culture that also lays great emphasis on developing habits of discipline of self-denial in the service of the common good. These two virtues-veneration of Almighty God and the development of the capacity to say "No!" to one's desires-are essential for the survival of a free republic in an always dangerous world. And it is precisely these two foundational virtues that are under attack from left-wing agencies such as the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union), mounting, as they do, an aggressive campaign to subvert the education of the young in the interests of transforming our culture into one that permits and glorifies limitless self-indulgence, a culture that is thus by definition hostile to the very notion of sacrificing one's own selfish interests in service to the common good.
In evidence of the ACLU's on-going campaign for the corruption of the young, may I cite the following report from the national edition of The Washington Times.
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Snuffing Out Innocence
ACLU's agenda aim's to taint America's children
By: Robert Knight-The Washington Times
September 19, 2011
If you were the devil, what would be your most important mission, other than inventing false religions? It would be to corrupt innocent children.
I'd start by kicking God out of the public schools and excising from textbooks the truth about America's deeply Christian heritage. I'd get rid of glaringly obvious ties between Christianity and the Founders' version of unalienable rights and limited government.
Children would be indoctrinated to think of themselves as cosmic accidents of random mutation and survival of the fittest, not precious beings with eternal souls created in the image of God. The result would be an effectively atheistic system of moral relativism.
Next I'd cloak sexual promiscuity in terms of self-fulfillment, mix it up with junk science and lobby the teachers' unions to openly promote the Kinsey sex education model of children as "sexual beings" whose "orientation" has no moral relevance.
Finally, I'd expose the kids to outright propaganda through clever websites designed to promote deviance and to brand anyone with any qualms, such as parents, as hate-filled bigots and bullies.
If any school districts resisted, I'd slap them with legal threats. And that's where the devil's law firm comes in.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is running around the country, shaking its fists at school districts and demanding that kids be exposed to whatever the homosexual movement deems appropriate.
In Prince William County, VA., after an ACLU threat, school officials REMOVED the filter blocking homosexual websites. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, has sent letters to eight school districts, including Prince William, advising them that they have every right to KEEP the filters. But Prince Williams has caved, at least for now.
In Missouri, the ACLU sued the Camdenton School District on August 15 in U. S. District Court because it refused to remove its general "sexuality" filter. The district had responded in a May letter to the ACLU from Superintendent Tim Hadfield, who wrote that the district "does not explicitly block" LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) categories but that some were blocked because of the "sexuality" filter. He said that filter settings were "acceptable for our general audience with our network of pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students". According to Fox News, the district later unblocked some sites dealing with bullying, but the ACLU is complaining that the filter still blocks "hundreds" of LGBT sites.
A question: Why, if the LGBT agenda is just about civil rights and tolerance, is the 'SEXUALITY' filter BLOCKING all those sites? Could it be that the LGBT "Community", whose pride parades are the only public marches that regularly feature nudity and obscene and sacrilegious signs, has an abundance of sites that parents would rather their children not visit?
The ACLU also has launched the Don't Filter Me! Campaign, which pressures software companies that sell filters to schools to REMOVE any filter that blocks "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender websites." So far, the ACLU claims it has pressured at least one software company, Lightspeed Systems, to remove a school filter that flagged "LGBT-supportive content."
In a tight economy, the ACLU is counting on COMPANIES doing almost anything to avoid controversy. And it is hoping that strapped school districts will quickly surrender rather than spend money on lawyers' fees. Its claim: "This viewpoint discrimination violates students' "First Amendment rights to free speech and the Equal Access Act. Simply put: It's illegal".
No, it's not. Schools, like public libraries, do not have to provide any and all materials just because someone wants them to do so. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Child Internet Protection Act (CIEPA) in United States v. American Library Association Inc. CIPA bars federal funds to public libraries that do NOT install software "to BLOCK images that constitute obscenity or child pornography, and to prevent minors from obtaining access to material that is harmful to them."
Having lost the library fight, the ACLU is concentrating on schoolchildren.
The websites for the gay groups that the ACLU is representing are not porn sites, but they ARE, gateways to a world of temptation for vulnerable children unsure about their sexuality. They go far beyond promoting tolerance and openly PROMOTE homosexuality.
This is fine with the ACLU, which advocates breaking ALL sexual barriers. The ACLU even consistently opposes laws against possessing child pornography along with any attempt to shield children from exposure to Internet porn.
Years ago in Dover, Delaware, I was on a panel debating whether taxpayers should have to support ART that they found offensive. The debate over the National Endowment for the Arts was lively, but the most interesting part occurred at the pre-debate dinner. The liberal museum staffers who hosted the event probed the ACLU representative about the line between art and obscenity and, to their surprise, heard her contend that there is NO meaningful line. One of them asked about child pornography. She shrugged and acknowledged that it was illegal but, with a knowing smile, added, "For now. But it WON'T be for long."
Even the liberal museum folks almost dropped their forks. But they quickly moved on to condemn censorship of all sorts and to show solidarity against people like me, who thought Congress has every right to refuse to use taxpayer money for obscene exhibits.
Likewise, schools have the right to refuse to aid and abet groups that seek to corrupt kids in the name of tolerance.
More administrators need to adopt the attitude exhibited by Tom Mickes, attorney for the Camdenton, MO., district, who told Cheryl Wetzstein of The Washington Times: "No offense to the Easterners, but we want to run OUR school district based on what OUR citizens and the kids in MISSOURI need, not what somebody in New York wants."
The ACLU's latest venture, couched in the language of preventing "viewpoint discrimination," is part of a long march to destroy Judeo-Christian morality and replace it with LEGALLY ENFORCED ACCEPTANCE of immorality. Demoralized children are NOT merely COLLATERAL damage in this quest, but the very OBJECT.
There is nothing "civil" about corrupting kids. In fact, nobody has that "right".
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