Yesterday I wrote that a doctor was rescued by special operations troops. At the time we didn’t know that it was SEALs or that one of those SEALs lost his life in the endeavor. Associated Press reports about Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo. and his organization, Morning Star;
Morning Star, a relief group that helps rebuild communities in Afghanistan, said in a statement that Joseph was uninjured and would probably return home in a few days. The group also said two of his co-workers were freed by their captors about 11 hours before the rescue, after hours of negotiations were conducted over three days.
Morning Star said the three workers were abducted by a group of armed men while returning from a visit to one of the organization’s rural medical clinics in eastern Kabul province. The group said the three workers were taken into mountains about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Pakistan border.
The relief group said it would not reveal the identity of the other two men because they live and work in the region. The group said it did not pay ransom to obtain their release.
Not to sound heartless, but I’m pretty sure that the loss of this special operator is a bigger loss than if we had lost the doctor instead. The use of special forces operators to rescue civilians is not the reason they’re in that country. If Americans are more accepting of the death of soldiers than civilians who were fully aware of working in the areas where they volunteer to work, then we have a big disconnect between those two worlds.
“He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free,” Obama said in a statement.
In a separate statement Sunday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld.”
Yes, it is selfless service, and the ideals, but it’s just not acceptable that we equate the life of a warrior worth the life of someone who ignores warnings ill-equipped for the dangers he’s about to face.
While I admire this unnamed SEAL for his selfless sacrifice, I also impress upon our military leaders that it’s incumbent on them to measure carefully the circumstances into which they send our armed forces.