Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How Do You Support the Troops?

As I listened to Buddy Bush this morning tell the American people that his goal for the war in Iraq was to achieve victory (phew! I thought the goal was to lose, not win! Thanks for clarifying!), I thought about someone asking me last week whether you can be against the war, but still support the troops. Yes. In fact, I feel that by being against the war, you’re supporting the troops even more than anyone who’s for it.

A friend of mine from high school lost her father in 1998 to a long battle with Hodgkin’s disease, which he had been fighting for decades due to the poisonous Agent Orange. He fought in Vietnam. A war that everyone now agrees was fought for too long and for weak reasoning and with poor planning. A war that many have compared to the war in Iraq. And it is also a war that is memorialized, not with a statue of a gallant military victory or of a brave general who motivated his soldiers to fight an unwinable battle.

No. It is memorialized with a long, giant silver plaque, listing every single name of every single soldier who lost his/her life. To remind us how many lives were lost for such unclear justifications. Every one of those soldiers was loved by many people, many people who still mourn the loss of life. Every one of them mattered. And every one of the more than 2,100 soliders who have already died fighting “the war against global terror” matter. As do all the others who are fighting over there now. It is our duty as citizens of the country they are fighting for to make sure they are well-prepared, fully supported and that the war they’re waging has strong and clear justifications.

Fear is not an admirable way to lead. It is the tool that cowards use. September 11th is one of the single greatest tragedies in all of human existence. Reminding Americans of the fear and pain and confusion they felt on that day and the weeks following is not justification for war. It is distraction. And it will only work for so long. Because it may take years or decades, but I have faith in the American people and one day, we will all see the strings behind the puppet show, and we will all be saddened for the troops they did not truly support by saving them.

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