2LT Mark Daily, killed last week by an IED blast, explained on his MySpace page why he had joined the fight. He was apparently intelligent, well-spoken, good looking and capable, which meant he owed everybody a doubly-good explanation. Here is why:
I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day "humanists" who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow "global citizens" to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses.
Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are.
I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined.
Human beings have a responsibility to one another and Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don't overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don't cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include "Good Luck."
This fellow was a better man than I am, and a better man than all his friends, family and colleagues who asked him so many times why he enlisted that he had to put it in print.