Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Tale of two Mothers.

Jill Carroll, the “Christian Science Monitor” reporter kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year, is alive and well!

Wearing a green Islamic head scarf, American reporter Jill Carroll walked into an Iraqi political party office Thursday, set free nearly three months after being kidnapped in an ambush that killed her translator.

"I was treated well, but I don't know why I was kidnapped," Carroll said on Baghdad television, only weeks after she appeared weeping in a video put out by kidnappers who had threatened to kill her.

Her family thanked "the generous people around the world who worked officially or unofficially" to gain her freedom.

During the whole ordeal surrounding Ms. Carroll’s detention, I was struck by the contrast between Carroll’s mother Mary Beth and Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen soldier Casey Sheehan.

After Casey Sheehan was killed in the Iraqi conflict, Mrs. Sheehan turned her son’s death into a personal vendetta against President George W. Bush.

In addition to speaking out against the Iraq war, Sheehan has taken to spewing rhetoric on Hurricane Katrina, Israel-Palestine and taxation. In doing so, she has become a pawn in the liberal assault on Bush’s presidency. Michael Moore gleefully took advantage of Mrs. Sheehan’s newfound celebrity (since Moore himself was exposed as a fraud) by propagandizing her comments on his website. For me, one of the worst aspects about Sheehan’s rise to fame is that it is attempting to resurrect the career of another Bush loather in actress Susan Sarandon. Good ol’ Suze has been slated to portray Sheehan in a biopic film. Wasn’t it bad enough movie audiences had to endure Sarandon in “The Banger Sisters?”

Again, I have said many times that I truly sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. I’m told that there is nothing more heart-wrenching than your child leaving this earth before you do. I do not doubt that one iota. But the fact of the matter is Casey Sheehan volunteered to join the military and serve his country. When it comes to matters of war, our soldiers are not placated. They are made fully aware of the possible consequences that come with combat. Nevertheless, in an August interview with NPR, Mrs. Sheehan shamelessly accused the military of having lied to her son and that Casey was somehow duped into enlisting (listen to her disgraceful performance in that interview here).

Compare Mrs. Sheehan’s actions to the grace and dignity shown by Mary Beth Carroll. For the last three months she has had live with the dreaded fear that she may never see her daughter alive again. I can’t imagine the day-to-day trepidation that Mrs. Carroll felt in not knowing the fate of her daughter.

Jill Carroll had voluntarily gone to Iraq to report on the plight of the Iraqi people in war time. Upon her capture, there must have been a myriad of emotions going through the mind of Jill’s entire family. From everything I have read on this story, the Carroll family has never made public their stance on the Iraq war.

Instead, Mrs. Carroll came out and made a dignified plea for her daughter’s life.

Taking vengeance on my innocent daughter who loves Iraq and its people will not create justice. To her captors, I say that Jill's welfare depends upon you. And so we call upon you to ensure that Jill is returned safely home to her family, who needs her and loves her.

When interviewed by CNN in January, Mrs. Carroll stated that she had talked with her daughter about the dangers of going to Iraq.

"I told her frankly how I felt if she was kidnapped, what I would be thinking, and [that I would be] supporting her and knowing that she was doing what she loved and what she thought was very important to do, and that that would give me and her family comfort at this time, and it does," she said.

"She knew what the dangers were, she knew what the risks were, and she chose to accept those, because what she was doing to communicate to the world the sufferings of the Iraqi people was important."

I am certain Casey Sheehan also knew the dangers of his mission and what the risks were. By joining the military, he too chose to accept those risks knowing the importance of his service.

I know Cindy Sheehan still grieves her son’s loss. But couldn’t she, like Mary Beth Carroll, honor the commitment of her child in spite of not agreeing with the mission?

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