Nov 19 2008

Our heroes at Christmas time

Category: militaryharmonicminer @ 11:23 am

If you have been getting emails asking for small donations to support our troops at Christmas time, maybe this will help bring it into focus. After you read it, go here, or here, or here.

“A couple of hours later, an insurgency fighter closed on the overwatch position and threw a fragment grenade into the overwatch position which hit Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him. Monsoor yelled, “Grenade!” and dropped on top of the grenade prior to it exploding. Monsoor’s body shielded the others from the brunt of the fragmentation blast and two other SEALs were only wounded by the remaining blast.”

Michael Monsoor was part of a dedicated team fighting the insurgency in Iraq, supporting the U.S. in its efforts to bring peace and stability to that country. His valorous conduct, exemplary leadership, and extraordinary self-sacrifice for his fellow service members have earned him the highest respect and gratitude of his fellow SEALs, the Navy, and our nation. Navy Narrative:

“On 29 September (2006), Monsoor was part of a sniper overwatch security position in eastern Ramadi, Iraq, with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers. They were providing overwatch security while joint and combined forces were conducting missions in the area. Ramadi had been a violent and intense area for a very strong and aggressive insurgency for some time. All morning long the overwatch position received harassment fire that had become a typical part of the day for the security team. Around midday, the exterior of the building was struck by a single rocket propelled grenade (RPG), but no injuries to any of the overwatch personnel were sustained. The overwatch couldn’t tell where the RPG came from and didn’t return fire.”

“A couple of hours later, an insurgency fighter closed on the overwatch position and threw a fragment grenade into the overwatch position which hit Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him. Monsoor yelled, “Grenade!” and dropped on top of the grenade prior to it exploding. Monsoor’s body shielded the others from the brunt of the fragmentation blast and two other SEALs were only wounded by the remaining blast.”

“One of the key aspects of this incident was the way the overwatch position was structured. There was only one access point for entry or exit and Monsoor was the only one who could have saved himself from harm. Instead, knowing what the outcome would be, he fell on the grenade to save the others from harm. Monsoor and the two injured were evacuated to the combat outpost battalion aid station where Monsoor died approximately 30 minutes after the incident from injuries sustained by the grenade blast.”

Also due to Monsoor’s selfless actions, the fourth man of the SEAL squad who was 10-15 feet from the blast, was unhurt. A 28-year-old Lieutenant, who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day, said the following in crediting Monsoor with saving his life: “He never took his eye off the grenade – his only movement was down toward it. He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs’ lives, and we owe him.”

As Kristen Scharnberg of the ChicagoTribune summarized in tribute, “The men who were there that day say they could see the options flicker across Michael Mansoor’s face: save himself or save the men he had long considered brothers. He chose them.”

John 15:13
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

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4 Responses to “Our heroes at Christmas time”

  1. Hello says:

    …and then go kill the guy who threw the grenade at them? This is obviously a wonderful story of a heroic act, and I would of course not deny this. However, the whole premise of the military is not something to be celebrated, in my opinion. But you knew that already. :)

    The military is characterized as a defense effort to protect the weak, but in reality it is an instrument of death and violence. Acts such as Monsoor’s are of course great individual examples of selflessness, but remember: he was not there to primarily plant gardens or help take care of the sick, but to stop the enemy at all costs. I mean, the guy was a sniper. Again, this is not an individual attack on the man himself (as I’ve said before, I have several friends in the armed forces at this very moment) but a critique of the system that glorifies killing and death.

  2. harmonicminer says:

    “to stop the enemy at all costs” is not what a sniper does. The exact opposite: a sniper is the ultimate “collateral damage avoidance system”.

    Your understanding of the US military is deeply flawed. It does not “glorify killing and death”, it glorifies justice, honor and commitment to your fellows and nation.

    And our military WOULD have spent a great deal more time “planting gardens” (building schools, restoring electicity and water and sanitation, providing security for commerce) were it not for truly evil people who DO “glorify killing and death”, and care not a whit for any of their victims. There aren’t many Al Qaeda snipers… they prefer strapping bombs on mentally defective pregnant teenage girls and sending them to kill an entire marketplace.

    I’m sorry for your particular moral blindness on this point, which makes you unable to distinguish the two groups. You literally can’t tell the difference between good and evil, I fear.

  3. Hello says:

    So by now you’ve told me that I can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, that I should never have children, and that I arrogantly presume to be a better Christian than anyone else. I’m sorry that you feel those ways.

    However, I do not believe that I am at all morally blind on this point. You’re comments are exactly what teh propoganda machine would like you to think. That the US military is about honor, justice, and other virtues. WHat is honorable about killing one’s enemies? What is honorable about dropping a bomb that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the name of preserving American lives? Are Americans worth more than others?

    I’m also concerned with your characterization of certain people as inherently evil and others as inherently good. Do you believe that people are ever beyond the scope of God’s grace that we should say, “Well, let’s just kill them so they can’t hurt anyone else”? This way of thinking demonstrates an unfortunate lack of imagination in my opinion.

  4. harmonicminer says:

    Hello Hello,

    I didn’t say “inherently good” or “inherently evil”. I used the common shorthand “evil people” meaning “people who are committed to doing evil things”.

    As I’ve said before, I think the lack of imagination is yours, in terms of the real alternatives to violence when “evil people” intend to do, or have already done, violence that has no possible justice attached to it.

    I’m sure you’ve heard all the usual arguments about the alternatives to dropping the bomb on Japan, none of which were good. More would have died in an invasion of Japan, that much is certain. If I read you correctly, you would prefer that the USA had done nothing whatsoever in response to Japan’s attacks on us and the rest of the Pacific Rim. That moves you into some other realm of the imagination, I’m afraid.

    You live in a world of moral equivalence that makes you unable to judge, apparently, the distinction between a terrorist and soldier behaving honorably. I am sorry for your blindness… and your disclaimers that “some of your friends are in the military” does little to blunt the enormous insult you apply to them constantly.

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