I support our troops: But not how our govt uses them

Published 14 years ago -  - 14y ago 43

“I support our troops” has become a popular saying. It didn’t originate with the current ‘War on Terror.’ I first remember hearing this phrase during the first Gulf War, back in the early 1990s. I believe the origin of this saying is found in politicians who may have opposed military action but didn’t want to end up, for re-election purposes, on the wrong side of voters’ views of that war. It harkens back to opposition to the Vietnam War and the mistreatment of veterans. Time has allowed people to see how wrong it was to abuse and bad-mouth the people in uniform back then, as soldiers only fight the battles they are directed to, they don’t pick them (not to mention we had a draft during Vietnam, so many were reluctant soldiers, unlike today where we have an all-volunteer force).

Drive around town and you’ll see folks with stickers on their cars that say ‘I support our troops.’ Of course, there are folks who don’t support our troops (go tohttp://therant.us/hall_of_shame.htm to see one kook who hasn’t got a clue about the kind of people that join our armed forces, or understands their reasons for joining). I don’t have one of those stickers on my truck, but I have taken time to help collect items for gift packages my church has sent to troops, and I pray for the safe return of our troops. On a more personal level, I keep in contact with friends who are serving in Iraq, via e-mail, encouraging them and keeping them updated on things back home. My wife and I have even taken time to fix meals for their families here at home. Small things indeed, but it’s a way of letting the people that matter to us know we care.

I can relate to the ‘call to serve’ in the military. As a young man, I joined the Air Force out of a sense that I wanted to ‘serve my country’ and pay something back for all the blessings I had experienced in life up to that point. Plenty of people join the military for such idealistic reasons. Others join for adventure, and others still join hoping to get some kind of training they can take into the civilian world and use to make a living. There are lots of reasons people serve in the military, whether it be active, guard or reserve. But none of them choose to go to war. The Congress is supposed to do that (although they haven’t since WWII).

I’ve heard on a number of occasions from commentators that ‘you can’t support the troops and not support the war.’ That’s bull! I care deeply for my friends who are in harms way, and I respect those that chose to serve in the military at this time. Most just happen to have hit the timing for when our military is engaged in combat. There are plenty of people who understand the military’s role in our system of government, and support the troops, even if they don’t support a particular reason for sending them into combat. Besides, Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on saying you have to support the war if you support the troops. When Clinton attacked Serbia and subsequently helped NATO occupy Kosovo, most Republicans went around saying they supported the troops and not the war. If it was okay then to hold those views, it’s okay now.

There are people like Cindy Sheehan who, in my opinion, is clearly abusing her son’s memory by using his death to bash Bush over a war she disagrees with. Obviously her son disagreed with her or he wouldn’t have reenlisted and done a second tour in Iraq. This woman has put her politics ahead of respect for her son, and instead uses him and his choice to advance her personal agenda. It’s disgusting.

There are also those, like the people associated with the anti-war group Code Pink, who chose to protest not against the war but against injured soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Hospital. Again, soldiers don’t pick the wars they fight in. If these people are anti-war, they should go protest Congress and the White House, not attack wounded soldiers in a hospital. These are the kind of sick individuals that picked wings off of flies as children.

A good assessment of supporting troops, but opposing a particular war can be found here.

Personally, I supported sending troops into Afghanistan. There was a clear connection between Afghanistan, the Taliban, and 9/11. I did not support sending troops into Iraq, and there is nothing that has come to light since we toppled Saddam that has changed my mind about this. In fact, the more we learn, the less there is to justify our presence in Iraq (clear evidence of this is the government’s ever-changing justification for going into Iraq and staying there).

Yes, I support our troops and am thankful there are people willing to serve. However, I don’t support the politicians who have rashly sent our troops into harms way and refused to make this decision in the prescribed manner the Constitution lays out. There was a reason the founders set up a particular system for committing our country to war, and Iraq is a perfect example of how not to go about it. Now we are in an undeclared war (thus technically the Geneva convention does not apply to protect our troops in the case of capture; not that I believe their opponents would abide by the convention anyway) with no end in site, no clear definition of what victory will look like, or clear plans for when and how to withdraw from this conflict.

Every time I see the picture of another soldier that has died in Afghanistan or Iraq, I can’t help but think of all the lost potential, the life cut short, the grieving parents, siblings, spouses and children. The loss is great and the impact is not just on individual families but entire communities. I pray for our troops. I support them in their personal ultimate goal, which is to serve honorably and return home safely. What I do not support is our politician’s constant desire to go globetrotting around the world, un-Constitutionally ‘establishing democracies.’

We are in a mess that can find its roots in the fact that Congress failed to act, voting either to declare war or not to declare war. Giving an un-Constitutional approval for President Bush to commit troops to combat under dubious reasons falls way short of the basic requirements of the law of our land. For politicians, this war is about politics. For the average citizen, it is about billions of dollars of our money being thrown away in a foreign land, assisting to establish what will most likely end up being a not-so-democratic government that will be hostile to the U.S. (as apposed to whatever Saddam was?). The Bill of Rights is being whittled away at here at home while some of our finest young men and women are being traumatized, maimed and killed half a world away. And the worst part is that after all their sacrifices, I doubt we’ll see much, if any, difference in that part of the world, and we won’t be any safer than we were before.

One of my friends serving in Iraq came home for his mid-tour R-and-R a few months ago. He told me, “We are doing great things in Iraq, and God is doing a great work.” I didn’t argue with him, for I saw no need to send him back with a lecture about my views, or bringing his spirits down when he needs to stay focused to stay alive.

I half agree with my friend. God can do great things in the midst of all this. Here’s a piece of an e-mail from my friend since he’s been back in Iraq; it concerns a project he started to help the locals who lacked footwear and school items:

Operation Save a Sole is about to happen. The shoes and supplies are almost to Iraq! Over 2100 LBS of shoes and school supplies were collected and will soon be in the hands of the local civilians in our area. I plan on taking lots of photos to send back home of the kids and families that are being blessed by your generosity. If you only knew how many people are involved in this, your socks would fall off from the blessings. GOD IS AWESOME and HE provides.

Just as Paul used the Roman Army to plant seeds around the world in his day, America has been given a great opportunity to spread the gospel and plant seeds that may change the life of a lost soul. What an awesome responsibility. And just being here makes a big difference.

As my friend points out, God used the heathen, brutal Roman Army to spread the Good News. It was not the official intention of the Roman Army to spread the Gospel, as they brought death, destruction and a faux ‘Pax Romana’ to other lands, but God used them to His ends. So too today God can use what some see as evil to do good. The neo-cons may want to expand the American Empire and enforce a ‘Pax Americana’ on others, but all man-made empires die. In its wake will perhaps be left seeds for expanding the only eternal empire there is: the Body of Christ.

Do I support our troops? Yes. I support bringing the troops home and using them to defend us in a manner that will show more results: Put them along our northern and southern borders, and let the Navy work with the Coast Guard to protect our shores. This isn’t about ‘fighting the enemy over there rather than over here.’ The enemy is pouring in over our borders while our fat cat ‘leaders’ fiddle away in D.C. Support the troops. Buy them a one-way ticket home.

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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