Andrew Horne gave us a taste of the kind of campaign that he would run against Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, and it is nauseating. In his quest for office, Horne cheapened the sacrifice of three Fort Campbell soldiers who were killed in Iraq. In essence, Horne took their voluntary service and draped it in the language of victimization that characterizes failed liberalism.
We all understand that every American soldier who dies, in Iraq or elsewhere, was a member of someone's family; the enormity of the tragedy cannot be overstated. And the sacrifice is all the greater when, as in Iraq, the soldiers enlisted voluntarily -- without the government coercion of a draft.
McConnell recognized the volitional nature and the selflessness of the Fort Campbell soldiers who gave their lives for their country: "Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers." Or to paraphrase, don't insult their offering by characterizing these men as unwitting victims.
Here's how Horne responded:
I would say that Mitch McConnell owes every member of our service and the families of the fallen an apology, but no apology from him can take back the venom he has spewed at our troops, this time. For anyone to believe that casualties of war are somehow more acceptable because they were not draftees is disgusting. For the Republican leader in the United States Senate to say that is beyond repugnant.
Horne has turned McConnell's statement on its head. The senator's point was not that the deaths were "more acceptable" but rather that these soldiers understood the risks -- including death -- and nonetheless volunteered to serve our country. We therefore celebrate their bravery and selflessness as we mourn them.
Horne's statement also reveals that when he said recently that he "is not afraid of losing," he was not just referring to a campaign against McConnell. Horne is not afraid of losing the war against terrorism as it is being fought today in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. But losing the war would not only make America less safe; it would cheapen the sacrifice of the three Fort Campbell soldiers as well as all who fell before them.
That's why Janay Albarran enlisted in the Army after her husband lost his leg in Iraq. "I made a promise that I would finish what he started," she said. Nor is Albarran an aberration. An Army spokeswoman said that others have joined the Army after the death or injury of a relative.
But the principle that "these dead shall not have died in vain" does not resonate with Horne. He is not the first American military man to run as a Democrat for political office and whose supporters' premise is that we should accept defeat. America was better off for General George B. McClellan losing his bid for office, and we will be better off for Horne losing his.
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