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Rooney’s Overripe With Age
by A.M. Siriano
14 April 2004

According to Andy Rooney, treating soldiers as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it.

Andy Rooney used to seem almost wise.   I said almost, as long as he stuck to light subjects, such as the problems of mass transit or the residue from old toasters, which sometimes led to sage-like advice that one could file away.   Rooney should have got ripe with age, but maybe he’s a little too ripe ... and now the stench is pretty bad.

Recently he ridiculed Mel Gibson, and Christians in general, irreverently parodying God speaking to him to make his point.   In a new stinker of an editorial,  he knocks our fighting men and women in Iraq, insisting they are not heroes, but lackeys of the U.S. government.   He laments that the media is reporting mostly “death and destruction,” with “no Ernie Pyle to tell us” what the soldiers are thinking and doing.  Funny, I’ve seen Ollie North doing just that for the past year.  Or take the oft-liberal Geraldo Rivera, who has hunkered down for weeks at a time in order to get the Pyle-like scoop.  Obviously Rooney is only watching his “mainstream” news outfits, where they don’t give birth to Ernie Pyles these days.  Perhaps he should look to other sources, such as the U.S. Department of Defense’s website, where they regularly run a feature story on our brave men and women in the field.  Or perhaps he should search for the many military journals that have appeared on news and opinion websites.

If Rooney were to listen to something other than himself and CBS, he would find out that our soldiers have been asked the very questions that he thinks would indict the President:

1. Do you think your country did the right thing sending you into Iraq?  

The answer is always yes. But, hey, maybe those guys are just trying to please their out-of-touch commanders.

2. Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed?  

Option 1 is the answer, and were we to go home now, what do you suppose the terrorists would do then?  Where were you, sir, still nursing at your mother’s teats when Chamberlain was appeasing Hitler?

3. Do the orders you get handed down from one headquarters to another, all far removed from the fighting, seem sensible, or do you think our highest command is out of touch with the reality of your situation?  

Obviously you don’t understand the military mindset.   Orders are orders, and we are here to get a job done, and we are doing that extremely well, all things considered.

4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take?  

Who wouldn’t go home if they could?  But that is not the point at all.   Are you stupid or just too old to think?

5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you?

No, we would rather hear Americans telling us that we aren’t really heroes, even though we are putting our lives on the line every day to defend your freedom to be an idiot.  Of course we are encouraged!  You are obviously discouraged, or better stated, haven’t an ounce of real courage in your entire body.

Rooney, undaunted by the fact that he has already stepped way over the line of sanity and taste, goes on:

Treating soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it.  But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home.

Most soldiers never wanted to join, apparently unaware that being a soldier had anything to do with fighting, according to Rooney.   They were coerced, it seems, for want of all the jobs that President Bush obliterated, and now they are mostly terribly unhappy people, as evidenced by the whopping high suicide count of 23 last year.   Naturally Rooney didn’t check the figures, which show that the suicide numbers are not really alarming at all.

William Butler Yeats wrote a short poem called, “The Coming of Wisdom With Time:”

Though leaves are many, the root is one:
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

This is the way it’s supposed to be.  Sadly, what we are seeing here is an old man whose root, which should be strong and sure, has long fallen to the blight of Vietnam-era, pacifistic rot.

A. M. Siriano is a DBA/web developer by day and writes for his own website, amsiriano.com, by night

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