home > archive > 2004 > this article
Your Neighbor Went to War: Reality and the War on Terror
Citizens who become soldiers
By Alan Caruba
"My mission is to succeed in any mission and to live to succeed again. I am a member of my nation's chosen soldiery. God grant that I may not be found wanting, that I will not fail in this sacred trust." These are the last lines of the Special Forces Creed. As it begins, it says, "I am a volunteer, knowing well the hazards of my profession. I serve with the memory of those who have gone before me."
I think far too many Americans have either not learned or have forgotten the memory of those who have gone before to fight for liberty, to literally liberate the oppressed, to advance American values to make this a better, safer world in which to live.
I got to thinking about this as I read Your Neighbor Went to War: Reality and the War on Terror by Captain B. Diggs Brown, Jr. of the United States Army Special Forces. ($14.95, Clinton House, USA, 903 Rule Drive, Suite 6, Fort Collins, CO 80525.) It can be purchased by visiting www.diggs.us.
On September 11, 2001, Diggs -- as he is known to friends -- was working in a bank in Colorado. By July 2002, his unit was informed that it should make preparations for deployment to wage war in Afghanistan.
Diggs gives one a real sense of what it was like to leave all the comforts that we take for granted and, as a National Guard Reservist, don the uniform to defend one's nation. He does so without complaint, with considerable good humor, and with a quiet, eloquent belief in God. Indeed, what strikes one most vividly as he shares the emails and letters he received and his replies, is the unembarrassed love his friends and family share with him along with their prayers.
Every day the mainstream media does its best to portray our nation's battle with this new evil, the Islamic Jihad, solely in terms of its casualties. Every soldier's, airman's, sailor's or Marine's death is a tragedy, but what is lost in the media's effort to undermine support at home and morale on the front lines, is the fact that the United States is not just protecting our lives here at home, but bringing freedom to the oppressed in far off places. It is doing this with volunteers! It is doing this with the best and the bravest our nation has to offer.
Somehow, our children seem best to understand this. Diggs and his fellow soldiers received many letters from those in schools across the nation. "Dear Soldier, Thank you for protecting me, my family, and my friends. They are very important to me. I believe in you to protect our country. I know you have a lot of courage so keep protecting us more so we can have a good life and I hope you do too. Remember believe in yourself and you can do it. I know you can. God loves you and others."
Countless children in schools and parents, often working through their churches, their businesses, and other organizations, sent tons of things to help Diggs and his fellow Special Forces (Green Berets) team win the hearts and minds of the Afghans in Kabul where he was posted.
What he describes is truly beyond our imagination. The Afghanis live in the most primitive conditions. Almost any illness can kill them. Ten or more die every day from the thousands of land mines the Russians left behind after their unsuccessful invasion. They lived under the most insane oppression of the Taliban until the US came and chased them out. Diggs and his team were there to train Afghanis to become part of its first army, i.e., to ignore the old tribal system and bond as members of a real nation. And a real nation is beginning to emerge in that ancient and desolate place.
Americans are rarely told of the many nations who also participated. Diggs tells of dining with fellow soldiers from Spain, England, Germany, and -- yes -- France. That's the real story. You should read Diggs' book.
You should know that what is happening now in Afghanistan and in Iraq is not a "quagmire" or "a colossal mistake." It is the business of a great nation protecting itself and liberating millions of others in the process. It is men like Captain B. Diggs Brown, Jr. who left their jobs and their homes to go far away and not only answer their nation's call to battle, but to do God's work as well.
Alan Caruba writes "Warning Signs", a weekly commentary posted on the website of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2004
Buy Your Neighbor Went to War: Reality and the War on Terror at Amazon.com.
Other related stories: (open in a new window)
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!
© 1996 - 2005, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.