Have you ever noticed how John Kerry and other Americans who oppose the U.S. occupation of Iraq often begin discussions, “I support our troops, but...“
Who are they trying to kid? It is impossible to disagree with a military mission and still be an advocate of its soldiers - you can‘t have it both ways. Peaceniks preface most anti-Bush tirades with support of our military personnel because they are afraid of being perceived as unpatriotic.
On the other hand, many advocates of the Iraqi invasion turn to monotonous platitudes supporting the U.S. military when asked to justify American‘s presence there. Let us be clear: support for our troops can accompany a military mission, but doesn‘t rationalize war.
Also, disagreeing with our government‘s policies isn‘t an unpatriotic act. On the contrary, it may be the ultimate patriotic act. It means that you give a damn. Citizens of this country who don‘t care enough to vote in our government‘s elections are the unpatriotic ones.
From my vantage most of the talk supporting our troops is blather. Reflecting the lack of concern for individual Americans at war, Brit Hume of Fox News was quoted as saying something to the effect that the average of 1.6 U.S. deaths each day in Iraq is nothing compared to the violence in American cities. Our soldiers who put their lives on the line each day must feel insignificant when our political experts begin downplaying their deaths. How much do you want to bet that Brit Hume doesn‘t have any relatives serving on the front lines of Fallujah?
Our military personnel are the forgotten ones. All we hear day after day are lectures from Condi Rice, Ted Kennedy, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Clark, and other politicians who SEND our sons and daughters into battle.
What do the troops, themselves, think of their presence in Iraq? Information received second and third hand from the relatives and friends indicates that most soldiers are neither gung-ho nor disillusioned, but are committed to doing their jobs under extremely difficult circumstances in a foreign climate and culture. As they put their lives on the line more and more each day, there can be no questioning the heroic efforts of our soldiers.
The relative anonymity of the U.S. soldier may be changing, soon. The escalation of violence in Iraq this week has suddenly made clear just how dangerous this mission has become for our military personnel. Even Britt Hume might be concerned that1.6 body bags have increased to ten or twenty for the time being.
Our soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice, but what can the rest of us do to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East? I found my answer written on a simple sign in a neighbor‘s front lawn, “Pray for our troops.“
Whatever you think of prayer, it is non-partisan. Republicans and Democrats pray. Anti-war types and hawks believe in prayer. Christians and Muslims pray.
For me, praying transcends merely “supporting.“ Prayer is desire and the more we pray for the same result; the sooner it will be realized. Whether in agreement or not with our government‘s policies, we can pray for the Bush administration to make wise decisions. We can pray that the Iraqi people will find peace and freedom. Prayer can be dedicated to end hunger and joblessness in the world.
Most of all, we can pray that our troops come home safely and soon.