Sunday, April 16, 2006


Mark Hyman closed out his editorials last week with a two part story about an Iraq war veteran who was shot in the head and thought to be in a permanent vegetative state, but pulled through. Hyman used the story to complain about the Veterans Administration bureaucracy and to talk up Operation Support Our Troops, an organization that helped Gallo get a handicapped accessible van.

The story is heartwarming, in no small part because Gallo is an immigrant from Peru. He only became a U.S. citizen while recuperating from his wounds.

While Gallo’s story is touching, there are two things about Hyman’s telling of it that are disingenuous.

First, Hyman has spent any number of editorials (including one quite recently) portraying undocumented immigrants as lazy slackers out to sponge off of Americans (that is when he’s not comparing them to al-Qaeda terrorists).

Gallo is apparently emigrated to the U.S. completely legally. But why would one assume that an undocumented immigrant would be any less likely than a documented immigrant to work hard and contribute to the country? As has been pointed out in this blog several times before, undocumented male immigrants actually have a higher employment rate than the U.S. populace.

And they do serve in the military. I wonder if Hyman knows that the first U.S. serviceman killed in the current Iraq war was a young man from Guatemala who entered the U.S. illegally.
Marine Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez made the 2,000 mile trek from his home to the U.S. on his own when he was a teenager. He came, like documented and undocumented immigrants before him, because he had heard that America was a land of opportunity. He hoped to make money to go to college and to send to his sister back in Guatemala.

Instead, he died in the desert outside Umm Qasr, Iraq.

But Hyman mocks those like Gutierrez, suggesting that they are criminal, slothful, and drains on society. For Hyman to use Gallo’s immigrant status as a means to tug at our heartstrings is the height of hypocrisy.

Which brings us to the second point about Hyman’s commentaries on Gallo. When telling Gallo’s story, Hyman says that Gallo was shipped off to Iraq in 2004, and “then the unthinkable happened. On March 15th, 2005 a sniper shot Jose in the head.”


I realize this is simply a single word, but it says so much about the attitudes of Hyman and others of his political stripe toward the war and the soldiers fighting it.

How can it be “unthinkable” that a soldier put into the front lines of a war would be shot?

One of the only certainties in war is that a lot of people will be killed and maimed. My guess is that Gallo thought about the possibility of being killed on a daily basis. I’m sure his loved ones at home often thought about the real possibility of him coming home permanently scarred or not at all.

Unthinkable? The word betrays the cavalier attitude of so many of this war’s cheerleaders, not willing or able to actually consider the human toll certain to be paid in the blood of those sent a desert half a world away. Not their own blood, of course: the blood of young men like Gallo and Gutierrez. The blood of tens of thousands of Iraqis. The blood of old men, women, and children.

Unthinkable? The word is a sick joke when applied to the maiming of a soldier in battle. What could or should be more in the forefront of the minds of a country’s leaders when making the decision to go to war?

Unthinkable. It’s a word that’s much more appropriate when describing a Secretary of Defense who can’t be bothered to sign condolence letters to the mothers of the dead himself,
but has a machine do it for him.

Unthinkable. It’s the word that comes to mind when
the architect of the war doesn’t have a clue about how many soldiers have died carrying out his plans.

Unthinkable. It certainly applies to the idea that a leader of a democracy who consistently lies about the fact that he wanted to go to war, whether there was a rationale or not, despite
evidence proving his duplicity.

Unthinkable. In the wake of 9/11, who would have thought that a president of the United States would sabotage the efforts to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice in order to pursue a long-planned but unrelated military excursion?

Unthinkable. It’s a word I would use to describe the acts of an administration that
leaked classified information to slander a critic and endanger his wife, then feigned outrage and ignorance about these very acts.

Unthinkable. How I wish I could consider anything this administration now does to be “unthinkable,” but after witnessing the willingness of this president and those around him to lie to the American people and to the rest of the world, after seeing them diminish America in the eyes of our friends and play into the hands of our enemies, after seeing them subvert liberty in the name of protecting it, after seeing them sacrifice the lives of countless human beings in pursuit of a policy dreamed up in think tanks and boardrooms . . . after seeing all this, what can possibly be unthinkable anymore?

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great CounterPoint Ted, I know exactly what you meant. Most sane people would consider a pre-emptive strike on Iran with nuclear weapons "unthinkable", but not the Neo-Fascists running the country today. When I ponder the source of the policies being implemented by the thieves and thugs that make up this syndicate that has hijacked our government, the word that comes to my mind is "unthinking".
Mike B. in SC

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ted,

You've said it very well: All these damn chickenhawks...Rove, Deferment O' Cheney, George W (for AWOL) Bush, O'Reilly, Bad-Bum-Rush, et al. are oh-so ready to "bring it on" and land on a carrier, etc., etc., while deep down, thumbing their noses at the sacrifices of our brave volunteers.

This group of jerks are guilty of disrespecting (and killing) our troops by putting men and women in harm's way UNDER STRENGTH. Real commanders would never trade in budget issues for lives -- particularly when our our country can afford it.

If we can afford tax cuts and no additional taxes on oil at home, we should be giving our troops every economic advantage... including enough force protection.

These ghouls are playing politics with the troops -- not wanting to deal with the unpleasantries of a draft. So those who are willing to sacrifice must take greater risks for W's comfort.

It's sick. It's unpatriotic.

It's shameful.


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