Had Cindy Sheehan’s son been killed while he was doing a tax return in his office for a client or twirling in a pirouette during a performance of “Swan Lake” it would have been a case of murder. Sheehan’s son, however, was a soldier and fighting is what soldiers are meant to do. When they join the army, they have to be prepared to serve wherever and whenever they are needed. They can’t say “Sorry, that place looks too dangerous for me. I prefer to go to Barbados for the weather. Send someone else cause I don’t want to upset my mother.”
There are thousands of mothers who would have preferred their sons to stay home and be safe. After all, no mother wants to see her son go off to war.
There are many jobs where the risks are great. Policemen and firemen, for example, face danger every day and they do this fully aware of the risks of their job. We all remember their bravery during September 2001.
Cindy Sheehan was traumatised by her loss and we sympathise with her grief, but she should accept this loss as the risk that her son took when he enlisted. By complaining and demonstrating against the war she is diminishing her son’s profession, not to mention the contribution made by all military personnel and their families.
Do I advocate war? Most certainly not.The discussion should not be about the legality of the war in Iraq. That is an entirely different issue. But if Cindy Sheehan wanted her son to remain safe and coddled then she should have encouraged him to pursue a career with fewer obvious risks.
It was his choice, his risk and his life, and perhaps she would be happier today if she accepted that he did this in the hope that others would be safe. Even if his motivation were not based on the ideals of defending the nation, he made a contract to join the military and was obliged to fulfill it. He was not conscripted; he chose to join.