- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By D.J. Skelton
Best Defense guest columnist
Members of the Armed Forces volunteer to defend the constitution and protect those citizens who live under it. Sometimes we forget who those citizens are: Murderers, Thieves, Rapists, Drug Dealers, Child Molesters, Road Ragers, Assholes, Tax Evaders, and the list goes on.
There are also the White Collar and Blue Collar Americans who bust their butt 12 hours a day to buy a single family home in a nice neighborhood, with a white picket fence, a BBQ grill and an American flag proudly waving on the front porch and live the American dream.
Regardless of which group, the fact is each of these American citizens had the CHOICE to live their life. The CHOICE to be who they wanted to be. The CHOICE to live where why wanted to live. The CHOICE to do what they wanted to do and when.
It is this CHOICE that makes this country the best country in the world. It is in the preservation of the American’s ability to CHOOSE that the Service Member is willing to die. That I am proud to have given an eye. Even if that CHOICE was to be a knucklehead and walk off an American base during combat, that CHOICE was worth any soldier’s life who went out to retrieve him.
Bowe is an American. He is OUR knucklehead, no one else’s. He will have his opportunity to explain his actions. If those actions do not embody the American way of life, as it is outlined in our Rule of Law, then he will be held accountable.
DJ Skelton is an Army major and currently a student at the Naval Post Graduate school in Monterey, CA. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a former Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University, and past military fellow at the Center for New American Security think tank in Washington, DC. He has worked as a Military Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He is also the author of Our Hero Handbook: A comprehensive guide to wounded warriors and their families.