Slain Activist Knew the Danger

Saturday, an Iraqi car bomb killed an American woman. Dedicated to helping Iraqis impacted by the war, Marla Ruzicka became another casualty of the insurgency.

The truth is Ruzicka was an anti-war activist. She was in Baghdad before the incursion began with Code Pink, a women’s anti-war group that traveled to Iraq to “shield” the country from our “invasion.” Part of her recent employ included collecting civilian casualty figures for Human Rights Watch. That she had any expertise in this area is unclear. Does this diminish her loss? It most certainly does not. Contrary to many others of her ilk, she bravely put her convictions before own her safety. For all their bellyaching, you don’t see Michael Moore or Sean Penn planting themselves in downtown Baghdad trying to help those they claim have been downtrodden and abused.

Now, Ruzicka chose to go to Iraq during a very dangerous time. Her situation is somewhat reminiscent of Nick Berg. Berg was beheaded by Iraqi insurgents while being held hostage. Berg, too, made the choice to go to Iraq as a civilian. Both Berg and Ruzicka chose not to stay within the Green Zone; they chose to travel around the country without body guards.

Ultimately, no complete explanation was provided for Berg presence in Iraq. His father said Berg was opposed to the war, but didn’t definitively state that was the reason for his trip. Some said he had gone to Iraq to make money. Some said he was the type of person to want to be in the middle of important events. Regardless of his motivation, Berg decided to travel to Iraq on his own.

Doubtlessly, this Ruzicka’s death will once again raise the question: Shouldn’t we be protecting our citizens in Iraq? Left-leaning AOL News already has a poll up asking if the US military should do more to protect foreign aid workers. The reality is our military doesn’t have the time or the resources to monitor every American that decides to place themselves in harms way. They maintain no authority to restrict a US citizen’s movements in normal situations. To do so would be an infringement of our constitutional rights. The US military is also a little bit busy training Iraqis to defend themselves, trying to unmask and defeat the insurgency, and trying to keep themselves and their brothers-in-arms from become statistics. After all, it’s not like these rogue Americans even notify our forces when they arrive in Baghdad.

So, mourn the loss of Ruzicka’s as a brave American dedicated to her ideals and beliefs – a woman who embraced the courage of her conviction. Just don’t try to make the US military responsible for her death . . . or the death of any American choosing to spend time in Iraq. Remember that our military men and women in Iraq are also dedicated to their ideals and beliefs — to defend and protect our country at home and abroad. Whether you agree with the Iraqi incursion or not, you must believe that our troops strive to help the Iraqi people in every possible way.

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