Monday, April 16, 2007

How can you support the troops and not support the war?

I saw this question posted on a conservative blog and it ended with this:

They would rather support the failure of a political adversary (the President, the Republican party, an alternative ideology) than the future of a free people. And they call themselves "liberals" or, better yet, "progressives".

The question has come up hundreds of times, and there are plenty of people who have made stupid statements like the one above, suggesting that anyone who doesn't back Bush is pro-terrorist and will somehow rejoice in America's defeat. What a pantload. But occassionally we have to engage in the conversation in the slim hope that light will finally dawn. Here's what I wrote:

I consider myself a liberal, but I'm not sure it means the same thing as you think it means.

People I know who think this war is a futile effort include military, retired military, active intelligence, former federal law enforcement and a whole bunch of average citizens just like you and me. Not a one of them wants Bush to fail.

Predicting failure and then pointing it out when your worst predictions come true is not a thing that gives me comfort.

As for not supporting the future of a free people, that's something the people themselves have to choose. It's not a gift we can pass along and then suddenly animosities that go back to the Fifth century will vanish like a bad smell in an ocean breeze.

That's not going to happen.

I think Iraq will be a disaster if we pull out, but this surge is far too little and far too late. If we were serious about fighting this war, and this is just me, I'd put another 400K troops in, create safe training places for the Iraqi military and police, draft a boatload of young American men (attention College Republicans!) and raise taxes, yes taxes, to pay for it.

That's not going to happen.

That means we're not serious about fighting this war and if we're not serious, how can you ask your brother to pay with his limbs or life?

Vietnam? The VC and NVA demonstrated by kicking Japanese butt and French derriere that they were willing to do whatever was necessary for as long as it took. The American people, with good reason, weren't willing.

My father was a staunch supporter of that war until he had two sons in uniform. He'd lost his brother and countless friends in one war, a good war, a war worth his sacrifice, and he proudly sent his boys off to serve when our time came. But when the reality of that homebound box hit home, he started asking why. It didn't make him a cut and run American. It didn't diminish his patriotism and sacrifice. It made him question the cost and he decided that the benefit wasn't worth his potential loss.

No American, left or right, wants our president to fail. Because if he does, it means we sacrifice our fathers, brothers and sons for a mistake.

I'm a liberal, but I take a back seat to no one when I say I love this country.

But I mistrust this government and that's a whole different thing.

As I get more time I'll catch up with the film festival with a few titles for you to watch for; an appreciation for my nephew, a smart kid who has taught me more than he probably suspects; and another love post to my wife as we begin the 28th year of this adventure.

On this Monday morning I consider myself a very lucky man coursing with the milk of human kindness. But stay tuned, that could change by lunch.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

Eloquently said.

JD Rhoades said...


Oh, and while we're here...

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)