I know its not Veteran's Day. Why does it have to be?
Chris Matthews on MSNBC recently mentioned that at the Republican debate John MCcain's people asked there be no requests for the candidates to raise their hands for anything. Apparently McCain is unable to raise his arms fully due to the torture he received as a Viet Nam POW. I suppose this explains part of what has always seemed to me to be McCain's pained posture. I had no idea how literal that was, or the ultimate cause. It certainly changes how I view him. And who could keep a dry eye listening to McCain's experienced plea for a policy of not torturing prisoners? It was certainly a sober moment.
This reminded me of Bob Dole, another wounded veteran. Ever wonder why Dole always had a pen in his hand while he spoke? Apparently it was so badly wounded that is is permanently mishaped, and holding the pen in it made it appear more typical.
As we all debate and discuss the current and future wars, we should never lose sight of the fact that combat means real people die, and real people are injured, sometimes for the rest of their lives. We should never lose sight of the fact that the world we live in, and our interests in it, require that we have people in our society willing to make that sacrifice for the rest of us. We should never lose sight of the fact that wars, good and bad, just and unjust, well and poorly executed, are the makings of politicians, and it is with politicians we should direct our criticisms. All we can demand of the soldier is that he say "yes sir", follow his orders and carry out his duty to the best of his ability and training, with his life if necessary, for the rest of us. And we should never forget to say "thank you".