Memorial Day, remembering our fallen heroes who have served our great country, is, if properly observed, a somber day. For a few moments this morning, I read a little bit about Memorial Day, found a quote I loved, shared it on Facebook and Twitter and then pinned a beautiful picture of a solidier on Pinterest. Here he is:
And then, I went swimming with my family.
When checking my email later in the day, a woman who knew the warrior, Sergeant David Caruso in my Pinterest picture sent me this note:
Hello Ms. Clouthier,
I’m a follower of yours on Pinterest and I noticed this morning that you had repinned a picture of a Marine in a pocket photo holder with a POW and US flag in honor of Memorial Day. I thought you’d like to know a little about the hero in that picture, as he was an acquaintance of mine and very good friend of my brother’s.
His name is David Caruso. He was born on October 25, 1979 in Winfield, IL, and raised in Naperville, both suburbs of Chicago. He was the youngest of three boys. He attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools as all the kids in our neighborhood, in the same class as my older brother. In high school he was a scholar and athlete, and a member of the football team. He was an Eagle Scout and is responsible for reviving a lovely little park in our childhood neighborhood as his Eagle Scout project. As a senior in high school, he joined the Marines. He graduated from Waubonsie Valley high school in 1998, and went on to graduate from Marine Recon School, Army Ranger School, Army Jump School, and Army Freefall School, attaining the rank of Sergeant. Throughout all of this, he kept in touch with his friends back home, and my brother often relayed his emails and letters to our family. He was able to be home attend my brother’s wedding on November 8, 2003.
Dave was deployed to Iraq in August 2004. He was assigned to the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejune. He died on November 9, 2004 in the assault on Fallujah. When Dave arrived home for burial, the funeral procession took him past his home and grade school in our neighborhood. The local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops lined the route with American flags and stood at attention for him as he passed. The photo in the Pin you posted is the same picture of Dave that is displayed in the local Catholic church our families attended, where a memorial to fallen members and friends was set up years ago.
I wish I could tell you more about Dave, but as a sister four years younger, I rarely paid much attention to my older brother’s friends beyond the ones who had sisters I admired. I do remember Dave always having a smile for me and being very quiet, but quick to laugh and always had a kind word for everyone. He was a fixture in my brother’s social circle and I have no memory in which my brother’s stories of their outings and adventures didn’t include the phrase “So then Dave says…”.
We are blessed indeed to have men like Dave willing to do what we cannot so we can remain behind to live in the freedom they secured for us at the highest price. Just thought you might want to know a little bit about the random face of a Marine who made you remember the sacrifices of all his brothers.
Best wishes and kindest regards,
By the end, I was crying.
Every death means something broadly for us Americans. Every death is also a personal, grievous loss for the family and friends of the fallen.
So to David Caruso’s family and friends, thank you for your sacrifice. And deepest condolences for your very personal loss. This American and her family is profoundly grateful.
Most Americans want our soldiers home. From Iraq. From Afghanistan. From every American-hating country in the world. It stinks being places, spending taxpayer money on ungrateful people.
Is it wrong that I have hope for Iraq and I don’t want to see it become Iran’s pet?
Here’s what Governor Perry said about Iraq:
“I’m deeply concerned that President Obama is putting political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment by announcing an end to troop level negotiations and a withdrawal from Iraq by year’s end. The President was slow to engage the Iraqis and there’s little evidence today’s decision is based on advice from military commanders.
“America’s commitment to the future of Iraq is important to U.S. national security interests and should not be influenced by politics. Despite the great achievements of the U.S. military and the Iraqi people, there remain real threats to our shared interests, especially from Iran.
“The United States must remain a firm and steadfast ally for Iraq, maintaining an ongoing diplomatic, economic, and military to military partnership with this emerging democratic ally in the Middle East.
“As a veteran and commander-in-chief of national guard forces, I cannot express enough appreciation for our military service members who have protected and defended American interests in Iraq. Our Iraq war veterans made enormous sacrifices to make our nation and world safer, and I know all Americans will welcome them home with great pride and appreciation.”
The former U.S. Speaker of the House said he was critical of Bush’s decision to stay in Iraq after the initial 2003 campaign toppled Iraq President Saddam Hussein. Since then, he said, he has tried to support a solution, but none came.
“We won the first Iraq war in 1991 and very effectively, in four days driving them out of Kuwait. We won the second Iraq War in 2003 in defeating Sadam in 22 days,” he continued. “And then for reasons I don’t understand we tried to occupy and try to change Iraq and that eight-year campaign is now ending in failure. The fact is the Iranians are now stronger in Iraq than we are.
“This is not about Obama,” he continued. “This is about the general effort that far trensends Iraq. That we have to really reassess our strategies in the region and what we think we’re accomplish. The president is right. You can’t just leave 3,000 or 5,000 troops there. They would simply become targets. If you’re not going to occupy the country, you have to withdraw.”
Gingrich said he feels the same way about America’s effort to occupy and attempt to bring stability to Afghanistan, and said the same lessons “apply to the whole region.”
“We need to think very carefully about what we are doing there,” he said of Afghanistan.
His comments also came after new reports about Gadhaffi’s death suggested he may have been summarily executed by rebel troops.
“Vicoius dictators who torture and kill people are not in very good position to ask for mercy,” Gingrich said.
I don’t feel like Iraq is a failure, do you? It just seems like it could be more successful. It seems like the little sapling needs time to grow.
I’m curious about what Iraq vets feel about the draw-down. Do they feel like it’s the right thing to do? Informal survey for everyone. If you are a veteren, please share your opinion.
The troops aren’t home yet. President Obama continues with Bush’s plans. The country approves, according to Gallup:
Of the seven specific issue approval ratings measured in a Sept. 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll, President Obama gets his highest rating (56%) on his handling of Iraq, and his lowest (38%) on the federal deficit. Obama’s approval ratings on handling the economy and healthcare, at 46% and 43%, respectively, are little changed over the past two months.
And a majority 57% disapprove of Health care. Hmmmm…. again.
A couple thoughts:
1. Did the Press talk down the Iraq War and drive President Bush’s Iraq numbers down? You know, body counts, incessant nattering about torture, etc.?
2. Did the American people actually want the wars just didn’t like the prosecution, the methods?
3. Are President Obama’s numbers so bad elsewhere, people want to be nice about something?
UPDATED: Yesterday, I wrote about this. Today, Reuters is confirming the concern. President Obama plans to release terrorists into the United States population. Yes, you read that right. It’s worse than you think:
“For those who are in that second category, who can be released, there are a variety of options that we have. Among them is the possibility that we could release them into this country,” he said.
Holder said it was possible the 17 Chinese Muslims who have been held for years at Guantanamo, and two or three others prisoners, could be freed in the United States.
The 17 members of the Uighur ethic group have been cleared for release but have nonetheless remained at Guantanamo while the United States tries to find a country willing to take them. The U.S. government has said it cannot return them to China because they would face persecution there.
“We’ve been trying to come up with places for them,” Holder said of the Uighurs. Their lawyers have asked Obama to bring them to the United States.
So, no one in the world wants them. The natural solution? Release them in the United States! My only request of Attorney General Holder: Please, please just release them to Berkeley, California. Or better yet, I’m sure the Kos kids will take ’em.
Why will Holder consider releasing them in the US? The Obama administration found out that talk is cheap among our European allies. Most of the detainees can’t return to their home countries, because their home countries will either kill them (Saudi Arabia, China), torture them and then kill them (Egypt), or send them straight back to al-Qaeda with lovely parting gifts (Yemen). Obama wants Europe to take them, since most of Europe spent the last seven years criticizing Gitmo and demanding their release. Now that Obama actually called their bluff, Europe suddenly discovers that they don’t want dangerous terrorists in their back yards, either.
Is Obama calling the Left’s bluff? That would actually be pretty smart–except I can totally see him releasing these people on American soil. Like I said, Berkeley sounds like a good place for ’em.
No one wants a Gitmo detainee for a neighbor and for good reason. In January, I wrote about the problems that the terrorists would present if they sat in American prisons:
What do you do with murderous and suicidal terrorists intent on killing prison guards or killing themselves? What do you do with a bunch of crazies who wish to spread a virulent ideology to any discontent who will listen? What do you do with dangerous people possessing dangerous secrets where the secrets, if leaked in a court battle, would endanger those in the court, the local populace, and the world at large? What do you do enemies who would provide a target-rich environment for those who would “save” them from prison? How do you keep those around these targets safe?
And of course, this is the problem with that vague European solution:
So some European countries might accept these powder kegs. Seems they don’t want the innocent lambs among their prison population and population in general, either. They want to snipe at President Bush for vague human rights concerns but they don’t want to expose their own populations to the risk these guys present. How very typically hypocritical.
Why would the brave Europeans balk at these guys? Maybe this is why:
This video illustrates why President Bush created Guantanamo. He’s looking smarter by the day.
Obama’s Troop Shifts = No Iraq Draw Down
Would think this would be a headline, no?
Chemical Ali Sentenced To Death By Hanging
Three times. Sounds fair.
George Bush Liberator
Free people. Think of that.
I just had to post that in relation to President Bush’s shoe mishap. I’m probably the zilionth person to say that. Oh. Well.