Of SEALs and Humanitarian Endeavors

English: United States Special Operations Comm...
Image via Wikipedia

This was on CNN today:

U.S. special forces swooped into Somalia in a pair of helicopters in a daring overnight raid to rescue two kidnapped aid workers — an American and a Dane — and killed several gunmen, American officials said Wednesday.

The hostages, Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted, were seized in October after they visited humanitarian projects in northern Somalia, said the Danish Refugee Council, the agency for which they worked.

Both are unharmed, the aid group said.

While SEALs received top-billing, it appears that the overall Special Operations team was mixed from around the services.

To all of them: Fantastic job, and thank you.

This team risked their lives and saved the lives of two people who, by accounts I read, dedicated themselves to trying to help those around the world who are less fortunate than most of us here in the choice parts of the Western Hemisphere.

We often focus on our Armed Forces in war, combat operations, and the politics behind their use.

Yet, one of the highlights of my career was deploying in support of Stabilization Force 6 (SFOR6) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We weren’t there to kill or conquer. Instead, we facilitated the building of schools, hospitals, and housing. We destroyed the weapons of war by crushing them with tanks (oh, the irony) or blowing them up in the middle of empty field. We removed thousands and thousands of landmines from farm-fields. We helped the nations of that area to heal and move forward from a truly disgusting war.

I loved my 7 months in Bosnia. I even asked to stay longer, but it was my time to leave. In that short time, I felt good about everything we did.

For that reason, I appreciate what the Special Forces Team has done. While I wish they could have accomplished their mission without loss of life (for anyone), it happened, and apparently out of necessity.

I hope that, in the end, they can look back at what they have done (and probably countless other unpublicized good acts), and feel the same way I do about Bosnia. They did what they had to do, they made a difference in the lives of good people, and they did all of this extraordinarily well.

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