Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vets and Vitriol, Soldiers and Sedition

Soldiers in IraqThe following is an angry letter I got from a co-worker chastising me about my views on Iraq:

From MyBuddy in Air force
""FUCK THE PEOPLE WHO SAY FUCK THE WAR!" You stay up for 16 hours. He stays up for days on end. You take a warm shower to help you wake up. He goes days or weeks without running water. You complain of a "headache", and call in sick. He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward. You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends. He still fights for your right to wear that shirt. You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket. He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags. You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you. He knows he may not see some of his buddies again. You walk down the beach, staring at all the guys. He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists. You complain about how hot it is. He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow. You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong. He doesn't get to eat today. Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes. He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean. You go to the mall and get your hair redone. He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today. You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over. He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months. You call your boyfriend and set a date for tonight. He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home. You hug and kiss your boyfriend, like you do everyday. He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume. You roll your eyes as a baby cries. He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet. You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything. He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting. You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him. He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded. You see only what the media wants you to see. He sees the broken bodies lying around him. You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't. He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger. You stay at home and watch TV. He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat. You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable. He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long. "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! SO YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR LUXURIES""

Let's begin the dissection with a story of a true American hero. Everybody is familiar with the name of Pat Tillman, and most have an idea of his inspiring life and tragic death. A talented football player forsakes the seductive promise of money and fame to join the military and fight for our profligate "way of life". The DoD couldn't have penned a better propaganda tale. Yet, there's plenty that's left unsaid about Tillman. For example, he was an atheist and had once met with one of his favorite authors, Noam Chomsky. Tillman was an intellectual who was critical of the Iraq War. He joined the military to fight in Afghanistan, not Iraq.

I say that to say this. At the core of this message is by opposing the war we oppose the troops because every soldier thinks exactly the same. But what should we do with the Pat Tillmans? Are they against themselves? Or soldiers like these:

Anecdotal statements alone should not change people's minds. The truth is there are as many points of view in the military as there are soldiers. One doesn't need to quiet him or herself because their thoughts clash with those of a single soldier. Despite personal disagreements most would agree those in the military deserve our esteem to the point of only asking for their sacrifice when threatened with truly imminent doom.


Chuck said...

Well said! I concur completely with your point of view.

FreeThinker said...

Same here!

Anonymous said...

War should be ended.

End of story.