Not like I've ever been opposed to doing that, especially with my opinions.
But upon being reminded of this story, I felt myself moved by the four-year-old story of Mark Daily, in spite of it since being co-opted by the vomit-inducing vulgar and buffoonish right-wing in America (e.g. Michelle Malkin). Mark Daily, an honors graduate from UCLA, a self-professed agnostic, and registered Democrat, joined the United States Army with the very deliberate notion to combat the repugnant Ba'athist regime and subsequent, partially-imported insurgency in Iraq. He wanted to make a direct difference, something that I respect as I do not have the balls to do myself. He is, for lack of a better term, a hero.
Upon re-reading this story (and Christopher Hitchens' personal account of his experience with it) I felt genuinely moved. I was able to put aside something I have quite a bit of trouble putting aside, especially when it comes to political issues: my contrarian sensibilities. I felt myself crumble. I knew I had to make an admission that in the end I've only ever said in the contrarian context. But now I say this with a straight face, without any hint of irony or a sardonic smirk. This story inspired me to say very directly that despite my intense dislike of our previous administration, and the mishandling of the regime change as well as the unnecessary lies used to justify our much-delayed and necessary intervention, I am a supporter of the United States intervention in Iraq. History may not look kindly on G.W. Bush (HA) but at the end of the day, our intervention, after over 100 years of tumultuous sectarian and religious violence occurring in Mesopotamia, should be.
Now I do feel a tad hypocritical even referencing someone for trying to make a difference when all I do is bitch and moan. That needs to be said. But I consider Mark Daily to be a figure of inspiration for me: a young man who thought for himself. He didn't blindly take the side of the party he associated himself with. He was an example of opposition to the G.W. Bush "if you're not with us you're against us" mentality of American politics today. He found his moral compass and he stood up for what he believed in. I may be co-opting his words for my own selfish reasons, but I feel, especially after for the umpteenth time seeing those simple-minded, baboonish fools on Lake Street with their crudely scrawled "No Blood For Oil" signs, Daily had the right idea with this quote from his erudite "Why I Joined" essay:
"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."