Every time I decry the war in Iraq, I get met with the same shortsighted response. That there are people out there, fighting and dying for our country and that we should support them and their sacrifices.
The reason that’s such a shortsighted response is because, simply put, I never said I didn’t. Supporting the troops and supporting the war are not mutually exclusive and anyone who things that they are is stuck seeing the world in black and white when this issue, like everything else, is shades of gray.
Just because I don’t agree with why the troops are over there or what their end goal is doesn’t mean that I don’t support them as people. After all, our troops are our friends and neighbors. I know many people in the armed forces, a few even in Iraq, and I know well the sacrifices they are making. I feel sorry for them, especially considering the nature of the war and the reasons it’s for, but I do appreciate their willingness to sacrifice so much just to protect our freedom.
But none of that changes the fact that the reasons for this war were lies, that America was tricked into entering this war and that the foreign policy of our current president has isolated America, worsening our terrorism problem and has done nothing to actually make America safer, unless one considers stretching its armed forces to the breaking point making the country safe.
The real shame of this was is that the people who started it aren’t those who are fighting. The brave men and women who enlisted in the military to keep America safe and to preserve our way of life have, instead, been shipped off into a deadly war about politics, not security, and are bogged down in a quagmire the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Vietnam.
Worse yet, many of the troops that were due to retire or be discharged from the military are being kept on longer by new pentagon policies as the government tries to scrape together fresh troops. Not only does this defeat the idea of an all-volunteer army, but it furthers the already incredible burden placed on our “Army of One”.
Now, is it true that most of those fighting overseas support the war? Yes. History has shown us that troops have to believe in a war to fight it effectively and that is what’s going on now. However, as many of those troops come home, some with permanent disabilities or severe wounds, they’re questioning the logic of the conflict and some, like those in the VAIW (Veterans against the Iraq War) are making a stand against it.
Of course, this isn’t the first war where this has happened. The Vietnam War saw a similar phenomenon; just ask Senator John Kerry.
The bottom line to it all is that it is possible to be against the war but for the troops. The troops, like the rest of the country, were led into this war on the back of lies and deceit. While the real motivation remains unclear, what is known is that the given reasons were just false allegations fired off by a saber-rattling administration.
It pains me to no end to know that countless men and women will give so much for this senseless war. Nonetheless, I thank them for their sacrifices and their willingness to do so and, as my repayment to them, I’m going to do what I can to make sure that they come home safely and quickly.
After all, what supports our troops more, leaving them to fight and die in a senseless war or bringing them home where they can be with their families and live to protect us another day in the future.
I’ve got my pick.