Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Heroes. It's an overused word, applicable to everything from sports stars to teachers to guys in costumes who save lives in the movies to soldiers. Today, there's been a flap between John Kerry (and no doubt all Democrats) and the White House over Kerry's apparent (to Bush Administration) slight on the soldiers fighting in Iraq. To note, Kerry, speaking at a college, said that people who cannot navigate the country's education system "get stuck in Iraq."

To which I would agree. Back when I was about to enter college, I kept asking myself "Why?" With all the armed forces recruiters on campus and calling me on the phone, I felt like I was needed. Plus, I could get money to go to college in a few years, have relevant experience, see the world, get in shape, and serve my country.

But I went to college and got a degree.

But this isn't the point. Tony Snow (aka "Mr Snowjob") shot back at Kerry's remark:

"Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who've given their lives in this."

Kerry shot back, saying he was criticizing George Bush, not the "heroes serving in Iraq."

BULLSHIT. He meant what he said. If you don't get an education, one of a few alternatives a youngster has is to enlist. The bullshit part is the line about "heroes."

Is it heroic to do your job? I mean, most of the "kids" serving in the war signed up for the reasons I contemplated. They didn't aim to be heroes. Nor are most of them heroes now. Who have they saved? Allowing yourself to be put in harm's way by others is kind of cowardly, isn't it? Especially if you think the war is wrong, which apparently a lot of soldiers believe. So, why not stand up for your beliefs? What's so heroic about not doing so?

Don't get me wrong. Our men and women serving in Iraq are brave souls, due our respect for surviving under extreme circumstances. But are they heroes?

No. A guy who jumps in front of a bus in order to move a child out of harm's way is a hero.

A woman who puts her neck on the line to save hundreds of others without a voice, she's a hero.

A boy who defies the odds of winning the battle against cancer and becomes an inspiration to other children suffering from disease. He's a hero.

Heroes save others, either directly or indirectly. Martin Luther King was a hero. Men and women who dropped what they were doing to help in New Orleans: They are heroes.

Soldiers "doing their jobs" are not necessarily heroes. They might be under circumstances that call for it, but their presence in the face of danger doesn't make them heroes. It's what you do in the face of danger that makes you a hero.

Sorry. Heroes are few and far between. We mustn't use the term lightly.