Supporting the Troops, but Not the War?

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More and more, I am seeing “Support the Troops” ribbons on vehicles along side of anti-war stickers. Frequently, when someone I've met finds out I am a veteran, I get the response of “I don’t agree with what we’re doing over there, but thank you for what you’ve done.” This position has me confused. I appreciate that those who oppose what America is doing in the Middle East have not, for the most part, resorted to harassing troops the way many Vietnam protestors did. However, I cannot help but feel this is a sort of back-handed insult. Everyone has a right to their opinions and freedom to express them, but how can someone hold this contradictory position?

To say you don’t support the war is to say you don’t believe in that for which we are fighting. Therefore, America’s current military actions are in vain, and those who have sacrificed life and limb also did so in vain. How is this support of the troops?

“Support the troops…bring them home” has me bothered as well. We are an Armed Forces made up of volunteers, doing the job for which we volunteered. Someone who is not willing to make that sacrifice really has no business telling us to stop. Regardless of your opinion on the conflict we are in, we are in it. At this stage, victory should be the only option.

The “Peace is Patriotic” slogan might be the one that irks me the most. When brave Americans are giving their time, sweat, blood, and lives for America, protesting their cause is NOT patriotic. End of story.

Al Qaeda’s strategy to defeat us involves outlasting us on the battlefield of public opinion. Whether you like it or not, if you protest the war on terror, you are on the side of terrorism. As another blogger has pointed out, “…I just can’t understand how the phrase ‘we are losing a soldier a day’ can be followed by anything other than ‘so let’s get those #@%ing bastards.’”

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5 Comments

fmcdonald said:

Well said, N.R.

It's like going to your kid's soccer game, criticizing everything the coach does and belittling your child's teammates at every turn.

One might go so far as to call it rooting for the other side.

Moderate 5-19 said:

fmcdonald,
What if you went to your kids soccer games and realized the coach himself did not know the game. He did not know a foul from a fair kick, he did not know how many players were needed on the field, he did not have one working play, he rarely ask for advice from others who did know the game, (and on the rare occasions he asked he did not take their advice). Your kid and other were injured because they did not have the protective equipment they needed, and he often told the parents to go to an incorrect field for the games. What would you do? What you really just say, lets get behind this coach no matter what. Or what you offer assistance and help and sometimes appropriate criticism while still supporting you kid and the game of soccer overall. You will NEVER find a person who supports the troops more then me, but having grown up as a military dependent and on military basis; I know that blind support for the administration is not always the best things for the troops.

No Relation said:

Moderate- While I don't agree with your analogy, let's say it's correct for the sake of discussion...

Would you tell the kids the game's not worth playing? Do you think it's appropriate to belittle that coach in front of the players? How about in front of the other team? Would you show up and call for a forfeit before the first quarter was over?

This is especially harmful in this conflict because of the "War of Ideas" that is essential to winning this. There's a time and a place for constructive criticism.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Relation,

First, the analogy was not initially mine, happy to drop it.

Second, why are you blogging at five in the morning?

Third, the answers to all your questions is no. Having said that I don’t believe this issue is quite that black and white. I do think this is the appropriate time for constructive criticisms; however that criticism does not always have to be relentless and so public.

Fourth’ A few months back I wrote an article on this subject for publications in my three local papers. Only one paper picked it up. I think it sums up my thought on this subject

So read on and then get some sleep.

Fallen Heroes

I am what is known as a “army brat”. I was born at military hospital in Stuttgart Germany, by the time I was seven years old I’d lived on two continents and in three states. During my young childhood I woke up most mornings to revelry, and in the evenings I stopped and placed my hand over my heart as the flag was lowered. Every medical appointment I had from age seven to age 22 was at Fitzmons Army Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. My favorite outing was to the base commissary, (I liked following the arrows on the floor) and at a very early age I learned how to recognize collar rank. As a child I came to believe the military men and women I saw every day were real life heroes, and I still do. The admiration and respect I have for the people who serve in our country’s armed forces requires more then mere words can express.

The war on terror and or military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq signifies the first time in our nation’s history when the people have not been asked to sacrifice for the cause. No gas lines, sugar shortages, push to buy war bonds, Rosie the Riveter, nothing. In fact most of us have not been negatively affected in any tangible way by this war, and for the first time in our history Americans received tax cuts during war time. Because most Americans are not “sacrificing for the cause” it is sometimes hard to remember we actually are at war and that our troops are losing their limbs and lives on a daily basis. But one has to only go to a local Veterans hospital to know the toil this war is taking on our active military, or talk to Veterans whose benefits have been cut to understand their financial hardships.

As our nation observes the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, I thought it an appropriate time to discuss a few of the many ways ordinary Americans can assist both active military and veterans. The following is a list of organizations dedicated to serving our military and their families, as well as our Veterans. In addition to contributing time and money to these organizations, citizens can also send letters and care packages to the troops or volunteer at a Veterans hospital or organization.

 Disabled American Veterans (Dedicated to building better lives for all American Veterans) contact at www.dav.org.
 The Military Order of the Purple Heart (Dedicated to provide service to all Veterans and their families. Contact at www.purpleheart.org.
 Vietnam Veterans of America (Exclusively dedicated to serving Veterans of the Vietnam Era. Contact at www.vaa.org.
 Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (Dedicated to serving military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operation in Iraq and Afghanistan). Contact at www.fallenheroesfund.org.
 Veterans of Foreign Wars (Dedicated to supporting patriotic efforts and being an unwavering support to our military). Contact at www.vfw.org.

Although many people did not agree with the President’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and many more are frustrated with how the war has been conducted, we can all agree that these are not the issues of the men and women fighting the war. Military personnel are duty bound to follow the orders of the Commander in Chief, and the vast majority of them are fighting and conducting themselves with honor and dignity. I don’t buy into the notion that if you don’t agree with the Bush administration you can’t support the troops. Neither do I believe supporting the troops should be based on ones political beliefs or party affiliation. It should not matter if you politics are those of Ted Kennedy’s or Dick Cheney’s, or whether you prescribe to the extreme beliefs of the Rev. Jerry Falwell or the Rev. Al Shapton. Supporting our troops should be something that Reagan Democrats and Mark Warner Republicans can agree on. It is a cause that Loudouners who support the far right Supervisors (Water, Delgaudio and Staton), the centrists (York and Burton) or the lone Democrat (Kurtz) can rally behind. Whether you are politically a deep blue democrat, a bright red republican or a perfectly purple moderate, we should all be able to coalesce around our military and their families. It is also important to remember that military personnel in the National Guard and Army Reserves often lose income when they are called to active duty, thus leaving their families with great financial strain.

Serving in the military is a noble cause during war time or peace, turmoil or calm. Our military and our Veterans deserve all the assistance and respect from each and every American. And they need the prayers of a grateful nation.

No Relation said:

Moderate 5-19:

1. OK
2. I posted that reply from the breakroom at work right before I started my 6 A.M. shift.
3. I think we are in agreement here.
4. Thank you for working to forward a worthy cause.

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