Kevin Myers: Brave US soldiers gave their lives for us all
Published 09/08/2011 | 18:00
It was a headline that briefly flared across the radio and television on Saturday morning: by Sunday morning, it was gone. Perhaps that's a measure of how unimportant most people here regard Afghanistan: but for me, the deaths in a helicopter crash of 37 US and Afghan special forces, were a special tragedy.
Firstly, I am a believer in the American imperium. It is the most benign global force that there has existed. For all the enormous blunders that the Americans have been guilty of, the US empire is an association of the free. No one has to join. And what prevented Ireland from having to teach German or Russian as a compulsory second language in the second half of the 20th century was American will, American factories, American bullets and American blood.
Secondly, I like America. I have hitchhiked over its vast prairies and through its mountain ranges. I have been given lifts in rickety pick-up trucks, wide limousines and transcontinental rigs. I have met the plain people of the US, in Iowa and Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico: they are the most generous, decent people on earth. Their values are generally simple: faith, family and flag, or some variation thereof. Many weren't too sure whether Dublin was in Scotland or Ireland, any more than we know the differences between Vilnius and Riga, but there was an earnest goodness about them that was very special.