“Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting the enemy in Falluja,” Bush said. “He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: ‘I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to…. Never falter! Don’t hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.'”
Fairly generic and conventional, right? Well, read what else Mr. Clay had to say, in his last letter home to his parents (which has been publicly posted on the ‘net):
“This letter being read means that I have been deemed worthy of being with Christ. … This is not a bad thing. It is what we hope for. The secret is out. He lives and His promises are real! It is not faith that supports this …. but fact and I now am a part of the promise. Here is notice! Wake up! All that we hope for is Real. Not a hope. But Real.”
Sounds about as nutty as your average Islamic fundamentalist’s conviction that blowing himself up in the name of Allah is a guaranteed ticket to heaven. God help the rest of us trapped between these two mentalities. Can’t we just lock them all up in a room together and let them fight it out among themselves, and leave the rest of us out of it?
Aaron points out that Bush is clearly making a thinly veiled effort to reach out to his evangelical Christian base by selecting this particular casualty from among the 2000 plus other alternatives available (and there is no doubt that the choice was deliberate)… but that the rest of the world, particularly Muslims already suspicious of the motives behind the war, are just as likely to hear the message, and interpret it as validation that what is happening in Iraq is a Christian “crusade” against Islam. The Bush Administration can’t be so tone deaf as not to realize this, so one can reasonably assume that such a perception isn’t that far off… or that Bush doesn’t give a damn about the reaction of the rest of the world, and the implications such a reaction will have for national security, and the safety and security of Americans abroad and our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the success of their missions there.