Diana West

I would like to pause for a moment as the United States weighs going to war to make the world safe for President Obama’s “credibility” to note that the Department of Defense announced the deaths of four American soldiers in separate incidents last week in Afghanistan. The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., reported:

“Staff Sgt. Joshua Bowden, 28, of Villa Rica, Ga., was on a dismounted patrol Saturday, Aug. 31, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked by small arms fire. Bowden was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado and assigned to the 242nd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), 71st Ordnance Group (EOD).

“Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo D. Young, 34, died Wednesday, Aug. 28, from small arms fire in Farah Province, Afghanistan. The Rosston, Ark., native was assigned to the 307th Engineer Battalion (Combat/Airborne), 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24, also died Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, from an insurgent attack on his unit that included small arms fire, indirect fire, and an improvised explosive device (IED). Hollis was stationed at Fort Drum in New York and assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light).

“Fort Hood officer 1st Lt. Jason Togi, 24, was killed by an improvised explosive device on Monday, Aug. 26, in Hasan Karez, Afghanistan. The Pago Pago, American Samoa native was assigned to 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in Texas.”

Georgia, Arkansas, New York and American Samoa. Ghazni, Farah Province and Hasan Karez.

We might ponder what American interest served in such places where these soldiers died. Nobody in Washington will do so. Instead, it is left to readers of this column to wonder what the fallen men’s comrades, their families, their friends and the honor guards who made the trip to Dover, Del., to receive these four flag-draped caskets made of these ultimate sacrifices.

Maybe Washington’s silence is a tacit form of acceptance, a shared belief that these continuing deaths shore up President Obama’s “credibility” – the Beltway cause of the moment – as if that is America’s “credibility,” too. Further, that an empty concept of “credibility” alone is an American interest worth dying for.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).