Is somebody watching over you today? Is there someone somewhere that is willing to put your well-being ahead of theirs? Those are powerful questions that we seldom ponder here in America. Why? The answer is that safety, security and most importantly freedom, the delicacies sought in so many places in the world, are things we in America nonchalantly pile upon our plates daily like hungry diners at an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. Say what you will, but the reality is that even in the worst of times we really have it good. However, America, the magnet for so many people of the world, has been maintained and has flourished by the blood of the American soldier. The soldier’s willingness to fight and if need be, die on foreign soils against vicious enemies for the nation’s survival is often underestimated.
The war on terror brought a realization to most Americans through the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that we had to take a stand against radical Islamic extremism. In one of President George W. Bush’s best moments as the leader of the free world, Americans took an overdue offensive stance against terrorism. American fighting forces, along with others across the world, have been fighting a brave battle against the scourge of Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, the battle to defeat terrorism has been as much a battle within as on the outside. In a political environment not seen since Vietnam, the American soldier has been placed in the very untenable situation of being charged with finding victory in the battle zone, without being able to incorporate the normal tools by which victory is attained. Political correctness on the battlefield handed down by those in government without the belly for war or simply American victory, has threatened the lives of American soldiers in more ways than one.
About a year ago I learned about 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, a sterling military officer that is now in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for killing a known terrorist in self-defense in the war zone of Iraq. The injustice that took place in the Behenna case was so counter to logic, let alone fairness, that it calls into question the whole military justice system. I soon found out that nine other soldiers find themselves imprisoned in Leavenworth for similar situations. In a surreal move to appease the desires of political correctness, a mindset that is awash with liberal guilt and anti-Americanism, our soldiers are now given prison sentences instead of their deserved medals of honor. The shame of these actions will come back to haunt this nation for decades.
One of the pressing fears of those that wish to find recourse to free these imprisoned soldiers is that public attention may become focused elsewhere with the upcoming downturn in military forces in Iraq. In a move to increase public attention to the plight of what has been coined the “Leavenworth 10,” a freedom ride has been schedule in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for September 4, 2010. Among those that will speak at the event is Lt. Col. Allen West.
I spoke with West on my radio program Conscience of Kansas and was impressed with his commitment to these soldiers despite being involved in a busy political season. In 2003, West was serving in Iraq and during an interview with a suspected Iraqi terrorist, the battalion commander fired his weapon near the individual that was refusing to give up critical information. These actions lead to an accumulation of intelligence being collected which no doubt saved lives from West’s battalion. The actions of West were aggressive and for the liberal weak-kneed of the world, not politically correct, but they were effective and American soldiers were saved at the cost of scaring a terrorist. Many would say, myself included, a more-than-fair trade. Lt. Col. Allen West was relieved of command and had to struggle to avoid being sent to prison himself. Again, reward was replaced with punishment for American soldiers that are looking out for you and me. It was easy for me to find common ground with Michael Behenna and Allen West, as their heartland ties and love of country shine through immediately in their words, actions and the ways in which they have fought to do right for those they have sworn to protect.
Americans would serve themselves and this country well to meet the soldiers that make up the Leavenworth 10 at L10freedomride.com. In doing so I believe you will find a reflection of the American spirit that we must support and defend until these soldiers are freed in these backward days of political correctness.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of the books “Living Under The Patriot Act: Educating A Society” and “Feeding Lions: Sharing The Conservative Philosophy In A Politically Hostile World.” Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Entertainment Program of the Year, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at [email protected]