Friday, December 08, 2006

A Myth and a Reality

Myth: the American people will not tolerate losses (deaths of their soldiers) in a prolonged war.

I utterly reject that as an oversimplification. I believe that the American people will grieve for the losses but will support any war, however long and however costly, that forwards the principles for which this country stands or which is truly in defense of this country or its allies. We have done so before, and we will do so again whenever and as often as needed.

After 9/11 there was broad support for the invasion of Afghanistan, and the sorrow for those lost in battle did not soften the resolve of the American people to pursue the purpose of that just war. We were a nation united in outrage, and of one mind in the determination to bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice.

What Americans will not do is accept so much as one soldier lost in a war that is waged for political reasons, be those politics national or international.

The more murky has become the reason for our presence in Iraq the more we have turned away from supporting it. When it was revealed that the purpose of this war was unjust, that it was begun and is being pursued for reasons political and unrighteous, we began to cry out against the lives lost, lives wasted.

That "the tree of liberty must from time to time be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants" is a fact that the American people will accept.

But we will not send our sons and daughters to die in a distant war fought for the political ideology and self aggrandizement of a demagogue.

Self evident: When interviewed, the soldiers in Iraq say they do not want to leave before victory is achieved.

Newscasters cite this not only as an illustration of how heroic our troops are (which is true enough - they are indeed), but to indicate that the troops support the "we won’t leave until the job is done" advocated by Mr. Bush.

These are (mostly) young, highly trained, heavily armed men and women, loaded with hormones and dedicated to being as lethal as possible. They have trained for years for one thing and one thing only: to enter the field of battle and vanquish the foe. They are unwilling to leave until they can (figuratively speaking) stand with one foot on the conquered foe, wave the American flag and declare victory.

To leave prior to that would be like a racecar driver deciding to quit in mid race. When a driver’s car fails and he is forced out of the race, a driver is angry and distraught. Like a soldier in battle, he wants to finish the job. It is hardly surprising that our soldiers do not want to leave Iraq at this point.

But soldiers do not make policy, and it is not for them to determine the course of action that will best serve our nation. However admirable their attitudes, their words must not be used as justification for the continuation of an unjust and failed war.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Like a soldier in battle, he wants to finish the job. It is hardly surprising that our soldiers do not want to leave Iraq at this point.

But soldiers do not make policy, and it is not for them to determine the course of action that will best serve our nation.


Brilliant analysis, really. Well done, there.

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