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Supporting the troops, not the war

Posted: March 13, 2008 1:21 a.m.
Updated: May 14, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
To The Editor:

It is possible to support our troops and not support the ongoing Iraqi occupation. But not according to Barry Colman ("The Ultimate Sacrifice for Freedom," Letters, March 6). In the logic of his world, if you agree with the occupation, then our soldiers are heroes of the highest order. If you disagree with this occupation, then you are demeaning the troops as "violent opportunists or ignorant dupes." His words, not mine.

Having grown up in a large military family, I find his words somewhat lacking in insight. It seems in his mindset that supporting the troops also means supporting Dubya Bush's current stated public policy for being there: "It's part of the War on Terror." Colman believes the words of the man from the ranch (with no cattle) in Crawford. I don't.

As the military will tell you, the armed forces are an instrument of policy, apolitical and take their marching orders from the president with authorization from congress.

In several letters I've written to this paper, and to our local congressman and senators, I've expressed the need to change the deplorable conditions, both medical and financial, that our veterans face when returning from combat. I've questioned why the troops aren't receiving the armor and other necessities for operations in the field in a timely manner, especially when you consider we've spent more taxpayer money on this conflict than on any previous war.

If this was World War II, we would have had roughly 30 aircraft carriers deployed from just the four at the start of that war.

It is an absolute national disgrace to hold our servicemen on a pedestal while they're overseas and then treat them like an annoyance when they return.

The original point of my previous letter, which was unfortunately lost upon Mr. Colman, was a discussion of the true meaning of the word "freedom," which I observe so many people use carelessly without seeming to understand the word's true value.

Further pondering Mr. Colman's response, what makes a patriot? I wonder if it is better to be what he terms an "elitist," educated in the history of America, the principles of the Constitution, the American tradition to question a commander-in-chief who calls upon our families and friends to make great sacrifices while he vacations for 400+ days (more than any other president) - or is it better to be blissfully ignorant and say "all I need to know is..." then switch on "American Idol" and follow our "dear leader" into the long goodnight?

Perhaps Orwell was right after all.

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