Policy Paradox: Can you end the war AND support the troops?
Any American concerned about the war in Iraq has become very familiar with the political rhetoric of the war debate. One of the most familiar lines is the call to support our troops. Its something we all want to do. But the politics come in when you ask what that involves.
On the political right, it means supporting increasing troop levels and continuing American combat operations. To some on the left, it means declaring the war a lost cause and pulling our troops out of a dangerous situation.
Like most Americans, I find myself tackling this question with no military experience to draw on. Ive never served in the armed forces. The closest I ever got was registering for the draft.
But Im pretty sure that if I were serving in Iraq, I would not want to see it as a lost cause. None of us likes to put our blood, tears and toil into something, and then hear someone tell us its a bad idea. And thats a dilemma isnt it? Because it looks more and more like Americas involvement in Iraq is a bad idea, and it may have been a bad idea from the start.
When I think about sending our troops to Iraq or bringing them home, I think about John Kerrys testimony to Congress when he came back from Vietnam. Back then, Kerry was a Vietnam veteran and a prominent war protester. He called for an end to the war by saying to members of Congress, How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
It was a loaded question and theres no good answer to it. Yet I do hope all Americans believe that theres honor in sacrifice and its not a mistake to serve your country. To me, there is nothing more terrible or untrue than telling the families of Americans who died in Iraq that their kids died for nothing. On the contrary, they died for all things that make this country great: freedom, equal rights, human dignity, and the belief that all the people of this world deserve the same.
Unfortunately, our fighting men and women serve at the will of fallible politicians. And while a soldiers sacrifice is noble, his assignment may not be. While our hearts should be with the troops, our minds need to stay focused on whether continuing a military conflict is the best thing for this country and for the rest of the world.
I wont say what I think should be the United States next move in Iraq. Decide for yourself whether setting a deadline for withdrawal is a good idea. Decide for yourself whether we should stay the course or cut our losses. Everyones right to do that has got to be one of the things our troops are fighting for.
April 10, 2007 at 02:59 AM
The U.S. Armed Forces are merely carrying out the mandate given to them by the Commander-in-Chief, who was duly elected by the Supreme Court;-- and the second time (IN 2004) by the electoral college also. Global War Bush is the legitimate Chief of State and Head of Gov't with loads of political capital to spend. If you support GWB; or if you pay federal taxes you are supporting the continuation of the war in Iraq. Silence equals acquiescence to the policies and spending of this administration. Greg -----
April 10, 2007 at 05:08 PM
Very well said Tom, I completely agree with your statement "To me, there is nothing more terrible or untrue than telling the families of Americans who died in Iraq that their kids died for nothing." Especially as someone with friends serving over in Iraq it is good to hear these stances being made.
April 11, 2007 at 03:10 AM
i quiet agree with most of your observation of the war.but i believe that continuing with the same mistake that brought us where we are will certainly take us no where.we owe it to the dead soldiers and their families to do the right thing for the ones still alive in iraq.what will be a disaster is when our remaining allies pull out and the iraqis take to the street to boot us out.
April 11, 2007 at 04:10 AM
My son is currently bravely fighting in Baghdad for this so-called "war on terrorism". He is in the infantry...out in those streets..fighting his heart out. Yet, he says he and fellow soldiers are becoming more and more disenchanted with their reasons for being there. Adding to that....these soldiers NO LONGER have adequate resources/equipment or manpower to successfully continue this fight, yet alone "win it" as our president insists. I FULLY support our troops...BUT...I fully support withdrawing ALL of our troops as soon as feasible. Prolonging this mess will only increase our casualty numbers. We have sacrificed too many already. My heart goes out to the Iraqi people, but it is now time for them to step up for their own defense since we won't be able to for much longer.
April 11, 2007 at 05:55 AM
Unfortunately, all soldiers who have died or been wounded in the War in Iraq have done so in vain. Many people have benefitted from this war, George W. Bush got re-elected, the oil companies will continue to control Iraqi oil, subcontractors (such as Halliburton) are reaping substantial profits from this war and are then funneling some of this largesse back to the politicians (in the form of contributions) who support this war, the military has greatly increased its funding, etc., etc. Tom Fudge has to fudge (no pun intended) his stance so as to preserve his job. Otherwise, any thinking person would come out solidly against this completely useless, ridiculous war which will end disastrously for the United States.
April 11, 2007 at 10:44 PM
Tom: I did not aim my statement that "silence is equal to aquiescence " at you personally. Our MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES choose to take an oath to defend the NATION, ITS PEOPLE, ITS INSTIUTIONS, AND THE CONSTIUTION. THAT IS A NOBLE, HONORABLE, COURAGEOUS COMMITTMENT FOR ANYONE TO MAKE, E-S-P-E-C-I-A-L-L-Y 18,19, 20 year old "kids". The rest of the nation owes its total support in EVERY WAY possible to facilitate and assist these heroes in their commitment... When the gov't in WASHINGTON D.C. F-A-I-L-S to support the troops, then THAT government in power is FAILING MISERABLY, AND IS BRINGING SHAME ON ITSELF. THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF IS FAILING catastrophically IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY. HE HAS LEAD THIS NATION INTO A WAR 1. OF HIS CHOOSING, 2. FOR REASONS WHICH WERE NON-EXISTENT, 3. AND WITHOUT A SANE RATIONAL, COHERENT STRATEGY OR TACTICAL PLAN TO FIGHT THE WAR. 4.AND WORSE--WITHOUT THE EQUIPMENT AND MANPOWER TO PREVENT THE BLOODBATH WE HAVE WITNESSED. The engine which keeps this war going is the shameless pride of "GLOBAL WAR BUSH" AND HIS MENTOR, CHAINEY. THE TROOPS ARE FIGHTING AND KILLING AND DYING IN OUR NAME. WE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE SAYING TO THE TROOPS: GO AHEAD KEEP THE KILLING GOING; KEEP FIGHTING, KEEP DYING!!!! (WHAT IS A FEW THOUSAND AMERICAN DEAD; AND TENS OF THOUSANDS INJURED BEYOND REPAIR?) LIFE IS STILL LOVELY IN SAN DIEGO.. WE EVEN WANTED TO TAKE OVER ONE OF YOUR MILITARY BASES DURING THIS WAR; AND CLAIM IT FOR BUILDING A NEW CIVILIAN cITY AIRPORT!!!! IT'S TAX TIME. TRY TO ESTIMATE HOW MUCH WAR YOUR ANNUAL FEDERAL TAX BILL IS PAYING FOR.. DO YOU THINK YOU'VE PAID ENOUGH IN TAXES TO REBUILD A HUMVEE? OR ENOUGH TAX MONEY FOR A FEW THOUSAND ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION.. MAYBE, YOU'VE PAID ENOUGH TAX MONEY TO BRING HOME A FEW CORPSES OF DEAD AMERICAN SOLDIERS OR MARINES OR SAILORS, KILLED IN IRAQ OF AFGHANISTAN --OR PERHAPS SOON, IN IRAN?????????? THIS MESSAGE IS AS HARSH AS I CAN POSSIBLY MAKE IT. BUSH KEEPS THE KILLING ALIVE. WE AID AND ABET BUSH, BY OUR PASSIVENESS--YES, AND OUR WALLETS. YOU ARE DEEPLY INVESTED IN THIS WAR. ARE YOU GETTING THE DIVIDENDS THAT YOU WANT????
"Soldier's Mom" sister
April 19, 2007 at 01:53 AM
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 I am the sister of "Soldier's Mom". Her son is in Bagdad as you read this. He called her this morning. He's a tall, skinny guy. But he said he's lost 10 pounds. He doesn't get enough to eat. He carries as many protein bars on him as he can carry. But since he's always on patrol (either in his Bradley or on foot) he can only eat what he carries in his pockets all day. She's been sending him protein bars as have I and my family. Actually, he has requested many basic items from us. How sad that he can't rely on the U.S. Army. Also, he's mentioned several times that his machine gun doesn't always work. To be sent into battle with a weapon that doens't work is simply suicide. George Bush - shame on YOU! If I had a machine gun, I swear I'd mail it to him myself. So far, he's lost 8 friends and he's only been in Iraq since November! He's in the Army Infantry. He told my sister today that he needs more protein bars. He's also mentioned several times that they need blood-absorbing bandades. What a horrible thing for a mother to hear. They need the expensive ones but aren't getting them. He asked my sister today if she knew his time (all of the Army's) is being extended. Yes, she did know. How sad that he's the last to know!!! At this point I support my nephew and his buddies in just stayin So please, everyone. If you say you "support our troops", prove it. Start by sending protein bars to any U.S. soldier. I am sure they would love to know tht someone cares. I know of a squd in Iraq that would really appreciate it! And God bless Private Jacob and his sqad. Signed, ~ His loving Aunt ~
"Soldier's Mom" sister
April 19, 2007 at 01:58 AM
At the end of my previous post I meant to say that I support my nephew and his buddies in just staying alive (not "just stayin"). Sorry for the typo, but this stupid, needles war gets me so darned mad. Signed, ~ Still his loving Aunt ~
September 19, 2007 at 07:21 PM
Wednesday 9-17-2007 I listened to "These Days" today. Your movie critic, Scott Marks, is aparently NOT QUALIFIED to discuss movies. I saw the new Jodie Foster movie "The Brave One" and LOVED it. Everyone in the theater I went to was rivited! I go to a new realease movie every Friday so I see lots of movies. He missed the entire point of the movie! ALL OF US is the recesses of our consciousness have the capability and potential to react to the our darker side if some impetus pushes us to that unknown edge and brink of reaction, even Mr. Scott. It is not a "how to" documentary on social action and responsibility. Jodie Foster is considered, by most, to be a superb actress. Mr. Scott is a fool and if I ever hear him on your program or any other - I will change the station or channel immediately.