Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Selfless service: Alwyn Cashe and Burhanuddin Rabbani

The 7 Army values are, of course, Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage.

Read about two heroes of the War on Terror who embodied Selfless Service, Army SFC Alwyn Cashe (thanks to blackfive) and assassinated Afghanistan peace-broker Burhanuddin Rabbani.

SFC Cashe deserves the Medal of Honor. His case should become a case study for a Medal of Honor upgrade, if the folks championing the cause can push it through the bureaucracy. SFC Cashe's actions as Platoon Sergeant to save his men by sacrificing himself exemplified the essence of everything we learned about leading soldiers and honored the Army NCO Creed:
My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers. . . . All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own.

The short version of the NCO Creed passed down to us as young soldiers was "Mission First, Soldiers Always".

In the 'Why We Fight', I was struck especially by these excerpts from Camelia Entekhabifard's NY Times column about her former neighbor:
By deciding to try to broker peace between Mr. Karzai’s government and the Taliban, Mr. Rabbani acted against the wishes of his political enemies, as well as many of his friends and colleagues. A number of influential spiritual leaders and political heavyweights who tried to guard Afghanistan’s young democracy in the post-Taliban period had already been murdered.
. . .
Though Mr. Rabbani often criticized the Karzai administration, he remained hopeful that the Afghan people would take advantage of the world’s interest in their country to achieve peace before it was too late. “We must act before international donors stop caring whether or not we achieve democracy or a higher standard of living,” he told me. “One day, the world will no longer care and we will lose our support.”
Emphasis added. Mr. Rabbani and the enemy who killed him understood the stakes. Do we?

10/2/11 add: The assassination of Mr. Rabbani reminds of the Jan 2011 assassination of Pakistani governor and liberal reformer Saleem Taseer.

Eric

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