Support our troops
Published Sun, Oct 28 2007 9:51 AM
Technorati Tags: War on Terror, United Nations, Iraq
"Support the troops — bring them home now!" That's what we hear from the anti-war crowd.
That raises a few questions in my mind. The first one is about the nature of their "support".
The purpose of our military is to protect and defend the United States by aggressively stamping out any threat to our national security. They do this by protecting us from invasion. They do this by protecting the nation from insurrection. They also do this by seeking out and destroying foreign agents that seek harm us remotely. The military also protects our national interests by supporting our treaty obligations with other nations.
The United States was attacked by Al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. Once it had been reliably determined that the attackers had been based in Afghanistan and were receiving support from the Taliban our military was sent there to destroy the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. They continue in Afghanistan to support the new government that replaced the Taliban, and they continue to seek out and attempt to destroy Al-Qaeda wherever they may be found.
In the early 1990s Saddam Hussein and Iraq invaded Kuwait in a bid to seize their oil and annex the land. The United States and the United Nations together conducted a war to liberate Kuwait. Faced with overwhelming force and a collapsing military, Iraq "surrendered". In surrendering they agreed to several conditions, which were backed by United Nations Security Council resolutions and the threat of force.
No-fly zones were established. Weapons inspectors were commissioned to see to the destruction of Iraq's capability to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, and to see to the accounting for and destruction of any existing weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq failed to live up to the terms of its surrender. They continually thumbed their noses at the United Nations. They twisted the oil for food program into a way to line both Saddam Hussein's pockets and the pockets of corrupt French, German, Italian, Russian officials, and Kofi Annan's son, as well as corporate interests the world over. They continually provoked and fired upon aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones.
In 2003, in support of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, despite the objection from governments that had been corrupted by Saddam's money and by business opportunities with his weapons makers, the United States Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution to use force against Iraq. Our military once again answered the call, and once again in short order defeated the Iraqi military, this time overthrowing Saddam Hussein's corrupt, dictatorial and totalitarian government.
The United States, especially since the middle 20th century has conducted itself in a rather unique way during and after its wars. After World War II, the United States went to great trouble to rebuild Europe and Japan. We established an occupying presence in Germany and Japan, not as conquerors who would turn the defeated nations into vassal states, but to rebuild the shattered economies and to establish governments that served the people rather than themselves.
Within a few short decades both nations were thriving, with booming economies. In some ways they were rivaling our own. Today, many of the things we enjoy in our economy come from Japan. We buy Japanese cars, Japanese computers, Japanese televisions, and all manner of luxury goods. Some of the industries that produce these products were established when American entrepreneurs went to Japan to help educate their businessmen about our manufacturing techniques and helped them to establish their own technological base.
Japan is not a "vassal state" in some American empire. If we had behaved like conquerors of the past, Japan might be the 51st state.
During the early stages of the war in Afghanistan, the United States military did an unprecedented thing. In addition to rooting out the Taliban, in addition to bombing their hideaways and bunkers, the military dropped food supplies for the Afghani people. After all, it was not the Afghani people we were at war with, but the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
When Saddam Hussein's government was overthrown, the Iraqi people rejoiced. They danced in the streets and celebrated. In all of these wars, and on all of these battlefields, the United States military has been there to help rebuild afterwards. Soldiers have given aid to children, re-built schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.
Our military helps to keep the peace in the places they've been. They sacrifice their lives and their comfort not just for us, but for the people they liberate. They have to put down insurrections and the last remaining resistance of the enemies they have defeated to protect those they've liberated. And in Iraq, they have to deal with foreign invaders that seek to destabilize the fledgling nation and prevent it from becoming an example of democracy.
They do all of this willingly. Every man and woman in our military is a volunteer. They see it as their life's work and mission to do these things. For the most part, they are the noblest among us, willingly sacrificing their lives, their health, their safety, and comfort to do things that the vast majority of us will never do.
Yet they are reviled by the anti-war crowd when they come home. They are spit upon by passers-by in the malls. Some are even beaten by small groups of "pacifists" when they are caught alone.
"Support the troops — bring them home now!" What a twisted statement that is.
Support the troops by preventing them from doing the things that they believe they must to protect our national interests and the idea of democracy in the world. Support our troops by belittling their mission. Support our troops by abandoning the people they fought to liberate. Support our troops by reviling them as baby killers. Support our troops by falsely accusing them of war crimes. Support our troops by pretending to have been one of them and recounting imaginary atrocities.
I've got a better idea. Why don't we instead support our troops by honoring their service? Why don't we support our troops by giving them the budget and equipment they need to do their job? Why not support our troops by encouraging them in their duties rather than denigrating them and their mission?
War seems to be a constant in our world. I don't mean that we are constantly at war, but rather that at times it is the only way to ensure the safety and freedom of the greatest number of people. It's an ugly thing though.
The "anti-war" crowd loves to feel righteous in that they're protesting the horrors of war and the death and destruction that go with it. They twist things though. If you aren't one of the "anti-war" crowd that implies that you're "pro-war".
Strangely enough, maybe I am pro-war. After all, I believe that it's better to use antibiotics and disinfectants on a wound early to prevent an infection than to have to use massive amounts of intravenous antibiotics and surgery to prevent death when the infection spreads and turns to gangrene and sepsis. It's better to fight "small" wars now to avoid having to fight "huge" wars later.
If Adolf Hitler had been stopped in the 1930s, the entire world might not have been at war in the 1940s. I just hope that we haven't put it off until too late this time.
Support our troops. Let them finish the job!
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