Saturday, December 8, 2007

What Do We Owe Our Iraq Veterans?

Rather a lot.

If you've been reading my blog at all, you know that I am a bit left wing. As a friend of mine puts it, "[drewkitty], you're a moderate, but the country went so far right you fell off the left wingtip about a decade ago."

That said, recent events have caused me to think a bit about what we as a nation owe our soldiers and sailors and Marines and aviators who have gone in harm's way and paid with sanity, limb and life.

My opinion about the Iraq War boils down to "We broke it, we bought it." Having committed to this strategy in the Middle East, we simply MUST see it through. The national security and perhaps the ultimate survival of the United States now depend on a victory in Iraq or a departure that does not weaken us in the eyes of our (more numerous) enemies worldwide.

The members of our armed forces have lived up to their side of the deal. Sign up for dangerous work (that sometimes kills in peacetime), some training, mediocre pay and benefits . . . and receive the indifference of a distracted nation.

What about our side of the deal? Yes, the Iraq War is a stupid and unjust war. So? We called, they hauled. Consider how much harder it is to fight a war under these conditions, when it's pretty blatant that it's an American power grab.

What about military objectors to the war who chose to suffer disciplinary action or courts martial instead of going? Good for them, putting their lives and futures where their hearts and mouths are. Better, that they serve our nation by challenging and helping to define our rules while pricking our conscience. Sad but necessary that they will be found guilty and do their time. We need an armed forces that does what the civilians tell them to do, that goes where directed and stays where needed.

Thank a vet. Be nice to a vet. No matter how you feel about the war, they deserve your respect and your thanks. The Iraq War may have more to do with protecting your SUV's gas tank than the city of New York, but that does NOTHING to lessen what we as a nation -- and those of us who are civilians individually -- owe to those who put their bodies between "home and the war's desolation."

Also we need to do our part. VOTE VOTE VOTE! You don't like America's foreign policy, vote in a President who will do something about it! Unhappy with the Iraq War? Look up your Congresscritter's voting record and decide how much blood is on whose hands, and vote accordingly.

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