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Check facts before making accusations

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 11, 2006

In response to Gary Caruso ’73 [“Ignoring the Penn. Guard in Iraq,” 8 Sept.], his conversation with an unnamed National Guardsman has apparently given him the strategic knowledge to disparage the Marine Corps and the entire logistical network in Iraq. While this Guardsman has certainly earned the right to complain and even the right to make broad allegations against higher headquarters (which is almost tradition among combat troops and should be weighted accordingly), for Mr. Caruso to repeat spurious allegations from one soldier without any fact checking, and then to draw strategic conclusions from those observations, is imbecilic.

Most horrifically, Mr. Caruso implies that 10 Marines are at fault for their deaths because of their alleged arrogance in refusing to listen to the Pennsylvania National Guard. For him to make such a heinous, in-print assertion without any actual facts beyond the anecdotal, secondhand opinion of one National Guardsman (who worked maintenance) is the true arrogance. The fact that Mr. Caruso could so callously and irresponsibly disparage the fallen is nauseating. Thus, however many tears Mr. Caruso may think he has shed for “our troops,” it is clear that they are not truly human beings to him. Because if he were to truly see them as human beings he would not so blithely use their deaths as little more than academic props to support some argument.

And exactly what argument was he making anyways? That the U.S. military is humanly fallible? That military leaders are responsible for all that their unit does or fails to do? That people who make mistakes in combat get themselves or others killed? Those are not arguments, they are truisms. And I can assure Mr. Caruso that everyone in a chain of command, from General to Private First Class, is aware of and takes personal responsibility for the death of anyone they lead. They are the ones who have to make life and death decisions, such as balancing troop mobility against increased body armor, when any choice could easily cause more death. And they are the ones who live with permanent guilt over each death, whether they were at fault or not.

They need neither Ivory Tower academics nor effete intellectuals to remind them of that.

Babu Kaza


Class of ’02

Sept. 9