Friday, October 25, 2013

Idle Thoughts -- A Soldier's Courage

Was American POW Jessica Lynch a courageous solider? Explain. Do you think John Mc Cain would call her courageous? Define McCain's concept of courage. Do you agree with him ?

First let's take a look at Jessica Lynch his own story as she told to glamour.

In April, I did something I never imagined I would need to do. I spoke before Congress about how the military creates myths exaggerating the heroics of its soldiers. It was a difficult choice—I knew I could be portrayed as unpatriotic, un-American or worse. But my reasons were personal, and profound. My capture and rescue in Iraq had been transformed into one of those myths.

There’s so much confusion about what happened to me. Here’s what I know: At the start of the war, in March 2003, my convoy was attacked in the city of An Nasiriyah. My Humvee crashed, and a few hours later I woke up behind enemy lines in an Iraqi hospital, badly injured and unable to move my legs. I was a prisoner of war.

Nobody likes to believe our military would mislead people—but they wanted a war hero so badly that they portrayed me as one. They didn’t get their facts straight before talking about what happened, and neither did the media. They said I went down guns blazing, like Rambo—but I never fired a shot, because my rifle had jammed. They later corrected the story, but I’m still paying the price. People write to me and say, “You don’t deserve all the attention.” I’ve received thousands of letters and calls like that. People think I lied or helped create the Rambo myth—that I wanted it.

But I’ve always told the truth. I could have chosen not to. It would have been so easy to say, “Yes, I did those things”— except I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. Honesty has always been very important to me. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that this is my life and I have to stand up for myself.

1. Was she a courageous soldier? Consider this quote from her article, "I started basic training in South Carolina a week after the attacks, and I was petrified. But there was no backing out."

She knew she was putting herself in the front lines of danger, and she proceeded to do so. I'd call that courage.

Even more, she had the courage to stand up and say the US government had overstated its praise of her actions during the attack. That look even more courage. She herself pointed out, it would've been so easy to just say yes I was a hero just like the government said. But she didn't. She did the right moral thing even though she knew it would bring her criticism.

This is an extremely moral person. This is an extremely courageous person.

2. "We are taught to understand, correctly, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity for action despite our fears." -- Source: Why Courage Matters, p. 8 Apr 1, 2004 by John McCain

By that definition she was brave when she finished her basic training and went to combat. She was even more brave when she stood up before Congress and said that the government had exaggerated her heroism.

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