Jewish World Review August 15, 2011 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5771
With Their Boots On
By Paul Greenberg
They did not hesitate. They never do, the men and women serving with this country's Special Forces around the world. Those forces are well named, for the troopers who meet the arduous tests of admission are indeed special -- whether they're serving with the
It may be only when the casualties of this unending war on terror around the globe are listed that those of us whose security depends on American might day and night may learn their names, and to whom our homage is due. Like the 30 American fighting men aboard the lumbering Chinook helicopter, most of them Navy SEALs, that went down last weekend. It was lifting off after having come to the rescue of a team of U.S. Army Rangers who found themselves under fire in
Every American KIA is a grievous loss for the country and especially for those back home they were closest to. Another empty space at family gatherings, another youthful picture in a scrapbook of someone who will never grow old.
Such men are no strangers to danger. Or to sacrifice. Or to comradeship, for these special forces are bound by the special ties that unite those who are accustomed to accomplishing the improbable routinely, the seeming impossible when necessary.
Working with counterintelligence types from both military and civilian life, it was the Navy SEALs who consigned one
Our special forces may carry out dozens of such operations every night in
It's only on the rare occasion when these special warriors may be lost, like the 16 killed when their Chinook transport went down in
But when the enemy knows to expect them, as when an American outfit has been surrounded and help is bound to be on the way, for we do not abandon our troops, these very special forces are vulnerable. As they were in the
There will be those who use this grievous loss, as they use everything else, to argue that now is the time to withdraw from
The tenth anniversary of the events of
There are many (doubtless conflicting) lessons to be drawn from this sad news out of
But for the moment, surely it isn't too much to ask that all of us just be still. And remember the kind of warriors who have always responded to their country's call without cavil or complaint, hesitation or accusation. And who die with their boots on in accord with, as the citations might say, the highest traditions of the armed forces of
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