Veteran’s Day seems the perfect day to repost this entry from over six and a half years ago, with perhaps an addendum at the end:
It seems that the hype over this Middle East sortie is taking longer to warm up than the last one (1991, or somewhere around there – for those who feel compelled to refer to their archived TV Guides. It was under “Desert Storm”, usually after “Friends” or “Just Shoot Me”, depending on what channel you were watching…).
Regardless of how our digestion of these next days/weeks/months comes to manifest itself, I’m concerned about one particular issue, among several…:
For those who think “Pro-Choice” means pro-abortion, the following might prove confusing:
I am Anti-War. I think that most of the world is Anti-War. There are few people on our planet who relish the prospect, and welcome the promise, of impending war.
I am NOT however Anti-Servicemen-and-Women.
I’m saddened by the inability of some Europeans to separate US Government policy from US citizens traveling in Europe (see “French spitting on US citizens abroad”, and “Germans cursing at American athletes abroad”). There was a time when Americans at home were unable to separate US Foreign Policy from the individuals sent to enact said policy, regardless of their personal beliefs. The Vietnam War was an era when scarred young veterans returned home to the collective abuse and scorn of their fellow citizens. It was a time when we forgot that our servicemen and women do not have all the liberties that we have. They cannot choose who they want to fight, or when. Their job is to protect our liberties, and they do this by surrendering theirs for the duration of their service…
So, regardless of what happens abroad or- God forbid – here at home, please remember that whatever your views on war may be, the only stand that seems fair and honourable, when it comes to those of our servicemen and women who go forth into battle in the name of our freedoms, is FULL SUPPORT AND RESPECT.
Rail against the right-wing administrative machine that sets draconian policies and makes us ashamed to call ourselves American, but don’t shame our nation further by repeating the mistakes of our past. Welcome our troops home with warmth and love.
I am proud to report that European sentiment toward servicemen and servicewomen has improved considerably. As one British gentleman put it in a piece on today’s NPR, “Don’t get me wrong: Support for troops is undying”. The gentleman goes on to add, however, “It’s just they shouldn’t be out there because, I think, the whole policy is all wrong. We just shouldn’t be there.”
Young adults today have grown up knowing nothing but conflict with the Middle East. We value the sacrifice made by our young troops, but so many do not see the value in the work they are sent to do. There are no easy solutions, no clear-cut answers, not even a lucid argument that puts our minds at ease. We are once more mired in a conflict that is seen as largely American, when in fact the struggle is global. Our allies “support” us, in some cases only grudgingly. The sacrifices made by their troops are all the more painful to them, as some among them believe they should not be involved.
I wonder if the dying swan of print media, still unmatched when it comes to investigative journalism, is hard at work trying to find answers to the following heavy questions?:
- Should we really not have gone in to Iraq at all?
- Should we leave Iraq NOW?
- What are we doing in Afghanistan, and how long should we stay?
- What should we be doing with respect to Pakistan?
But above all others, there sits one question:
What are you DOING about it?
Are we, politicians and citizens alike, doing all we can to ensure that we participate in the pursuit of a firm and lasting resolution to the conflict? Are we supporting our troops, not with once-a-year pleasantries, but with ongoing action of our own? If you believe in withdrawal, what are you DOING about it? If you believe in an increase of troops, what are you DOING to support that position?
On Veteran’s Day, I wonder how many of us still think it is enough to simply stand on the side of the road, while the funeral cortege passes by.