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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Supporting the troops in a time of madness

UPDATE: Welcome Villainous Company readers! Thank you all for the kind words and an especially big thank you to Cassandra =)

I can actually pinpoint several, specific experiences in my life that made me feel the way I do about the military today.

The first is when I was in elementary school during Operation Desert Storm. My parents would watch the news coverage at night after dinner and I was just getting to an age where I was interested in watching things other than cartoons. That was probably the first time I had an inkling of war and what it was. In school, the third grade teachers taught us to sing "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and made a videotape of us singing it to send to the troops. They told us about the sacrifice of the men and women fighting overseas to protect our freedom and those of the Kuwaitis. They had us write letters to the troops because the soldiers and marines were far from home, away from their families and it was important for us to show them that we supported them. As a conservative I tend to bash public school teachers a lot for being hippy liberals, but I loved all of my elementary school teachers (junior high and high school, not so much) and thinking back on this makes me appreciate those third-grade teachers ten times more. Because I think they instilled in me the seeds of a deep respect for our military men and women. A respect that they certainly deserve.

(I have to admit here that I did go through a period of "America sucks and our military perpetrates evil acts" but I place the blame for that squarely on my 8th grade social studies teacher who fed my innocent young mind some total bullsh*t about our military using experimental weapons on innocent people in Panama - yes he actually told us that. Once I realized my teacher was a biased hippy I moved out of that phase pretty quickly.)

The next "moment" was when I took an ethics course at the local community college during the summer before my junior year in high school. I had an awesome professor who covered everything from abortion, to the death penalty, to foreign policy in an extremely even-handed way. To this day I still have no idea where he stood on any of those issues. In one of our discussions about war he posed this question to us: Do we owe something to the men and women who have fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy every day? Do we, in fact, owe them our lives? The question stuck with me and coincidentally Saving Private Ryan came out a few days after this lecture and I went to go see it. I kid you not, I started bawling about five minutes into the movie as they panned across those rows and rows of graves because it just hit me so hard...the realization that all those brave men had died unimaginable deaths, thousands of miles away from home, for me. For my right to be free. For my right to live in the greatest country in the world. And yes, like Private Ryan, I too owed them my life. Needless to say I spent the rest of the (very long) movie sobbing.

When I was a sophomore in college I met my ex-boyfriend E, the marine, who is still a good friend. On one of our first kinda-sorta-dates we saw Black Hawk Down and I think that was another big moment for me. Watching that incredible bond of brotherhood. The loyalty. The amazing courage. Amidst all that carnage. It left me in total awe. It left me with no doubt in my mind that our military? Is the best America has to offer. And America has a whole heckuva lot to offer so that is saying something.

It goes without saying that the experience of loving someone in the military, who was sent overseas to fight in a war, also gave me a whole new dimension in my respect for the military...I learned enough about the difficulty of just being in the military (even during peacetime) and how much of a sacrifice even that can be. It also gave me a new level of respect for their families - wives in particular - because they sacrifice so much too.

Anyway, why did I write all of that? Because I was reading MaxedOutMama's latest post and it made me really think about the fact that as much as this election may effect our lives here in the States (Supreme Court, immigration, etc.), the repercussions will be nothing like what they will be for our brave servicemen and women fighting overseas. Their very lives are at stake. And that worries me to no end. Because they deserve better than to be hung out to dry by a bunch of politicians pretending to "fight" for the American way while living their comfortable little lives in DC.

And as much as I hate the idea of pulling out of Iraq, I agree completely with M-o-M and the sentiments of the military bloggers which she posted on her page: If the politicians decide to pull out (and this is looking like a definite possibility - Colonel Hunt was on O'Reilly tonight saying Rumsfeld's resignation and Gates' appointment indicates that withdrawal is very much so on the table) then they have to do it right. They cannot leave some troops behind to be sitting ducks just to make themselves (the politicians) feel better and to make the whole thing easier to justify to the American people.

Our pullout from Somalia was an "Aha!" moment for Osama bin Laden and any hint of weakness in Iraq will certainly give al-Qaeada the motivation to redouble their efforts to kill our troops. The paper tiger is crumbling, they will say to themselves.

One of the posts M-o-M quotes from is written by Oak Leaf, a serviceman currently serving in Afghanistan. His post at Polipundit brings up a whole new dimension to a pullout from Iraq, one that hadn't occurred to me at all - the consequences for Afghanistan:

The first point that they [community leaders in a typical Afghanistan village] made was this election was "between President Bush's party and those that want to abandon Iraq." That caught me off guard and I had to verify with my translator that "abandon" was the correct translation.

They next expressed that the Taliban would be emboldened by an Iraq pullout and that co-operation between the Afghani People and American/NATO forces would come to a halt. You have to realize that the Afghani People have little choice here. The moment they sense the mere possibility/suggestion of American Forces leaving, they will realign themselves with the Taliban. Further, the Taliban will effectively exploit American "redeployment from" Iraq. I left that exchange shaken, something that I have never felt before.

This is just beyond depressing to me, but it makes perfect sense. If we pullout of Iraq the whole world will be watching. And the whole world will understand that Osama was right and we don't have the stomach for war. The whole world will know how to beat America. And why should the people of Afghanistan believe in us when it will appear as though we have lost faith in ourselves?

I hope Nancy Pelosi means it when she says she supports the troops. I hope she means it when she says she wants to send more troops there, not bring them home. For their sake, I pray to God she means it.

But I just don't know. I guess we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you pray, please pray for our troops and for wisdom for the politicians who hold their lives in their hands.

In the meantime, go read all of Maxed-Out-Mama's post, as well as Oak Leaf's. They're both full of good stuff that needs to be said and heard, written, read, whatever.

What is Project Valour IT?


wingless was still breathing at 1:14 AM -

Can I get an A-men from the chior!

I was directed here from "Villainous Company", as was KJ, I would suspect.
(Unless I have that backward)

You certainly seem to have your head on straight at a relatively early age...good for you. Keep on keepin' on!!!
very good stuff
I'm glad I clicked on the link from vil co! It's a young & hot & conservative trifecta. Book mark added!
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