I was in the car when I first heard of the rescue of Dr. Dilip Joseph and the death of Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque. My immediate reaction was, "We lost one to gain one. WTF good was that?"
The facts are that Dr. Joseph has worked for Morning Star Development for three years. During that three years he has made numerous trips to Afghanistan. He is not a volunteer; this is his job. He was captured with two others who were subsequently released. He is sixty-seven years old..
The facts are that Petty Officer Checque, 28, was a highly decorated Navy Seal who enlisted right out of high school. He had served for ten years, some of them in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the third Seal to lose his life in the past few weeks, all of them under thirty years old.
Dr. Joseph was a man of intelligence, I assume. He chose to go into a situation fraught with peril. Over and over he made the decision to go into Afghanistan.
Petty Officer Checque chose his job too. But I believe that we sacrificed this young man for something that was not his job. We had no right to risk the lives of him and his company of elite forces to bring a man out who was voluntarily putting himself in harm's way.
I appreciate the fact that Dr. Joseph, and others like him, do our dirty work. These international workers are to be commended. But I believe that they--and their organizations--must assume the responsibility for the safety and risk of their employees.
Of Checque's death, President Obama said, "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."
He gave his life for one American, and I am no safer, stronger, or freer because we sent this young man to meet his end to rescue Dr. Joseph.
It is a perfect example of the way we have justified for the past several years--since the Vietnam War--the sacrificial deaths of our young servicemen and women under the auspices of making the world safer, stronger, and freer.
Rest in peace, Nicolas Checque. You went above and beyond the call of duty in every way.