Wait, you mean the wars not over…?

March 26, 2009

Every afternoon as I sit eating lunch, I scan the big headlines on Boston.com. I know I’m not alone when I say that I don’t read every single article just because the Globe decided to print it. I scan the headlines, reading sentences here and there, but I rarely find what I am ultimately looking for. Being the daughter of a United States Soldier, I spend most of my time looking for articles with news from overseas. I search the papers and watch the news in an attempt to feel connected with my father and his comrades. But, alas, the wars overseas are no longer news worthy. America has indeed moved on, and there are apparently much more important things to report on. For instance just today I happened upon an article about Dane Cook’s half brother being held for a million dollars bail. Now THAT’S news! I don’t think I could have lived without reading about that! In fact if you haven’t read about it yet, you better Google it right away, or else you’re going to be seriously out of the loop…

Imagine my surprise when last Sunday I came across an article which in title alone perfectly voiced my opinion. “As Public Largely Moves On, Local Guardsmen Dive In, Ship out”. Although I found the article itself a little wordy, it attempts to hit upon a key point. There are still soldiers fighting, despite the fact that the U.S general public has abandoned them. The article focuses on a few members of the 211th Military Police Battalion (which being my father’s battalion is near and dear to my heart) and how they are currently preparing to deploy to Iraq in early July. Despite the fact that troops are gearing up for deployment, the public is blind to their very existence. Many civilians believe that because Obama’s political stance was to pull the troops out, that the troops are all already safe at home. My own grandmother firmly believes my father is lying about his upcoming deployment date. Her argument is “Obama said you weren’t going”. Okay Grandma, whatever you say.

Sadly, my grandmother is not alone. I have even been forced to be subject to professors at my institution telling me that the war was over and that no more troops would leave our soil. Oh yeah? Try telling me that in July when my father is putting his life on the line for our country, fighting the war which is apparently not as over as the public thinks.

As I read through the comments on the article, some of them nearly made me sick. I understand that some people are against the war, but there is no reason to be against the actual soldiers who fight it. These men and women are under orders, they didn’t just decide to take a plain over and start shooting the place up. If given the choice, I’m willing to bet most soldiers would prefer to be home with their families, rather than overseas. The support for the war shouldn’t affect the support of the soldier. The phrase “it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it” comes to mind here. I’m not asking for constant patriotism, however it would be nice. I’m just asking for people to realize there are heroic men and women still putting their lives on the line for this country. This war isn’t over, and ignoring it won’t change that. Show some support, if not for the war, at least for the soldiers. Don’t you think they deserve it?

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5 Responses to “Wait, you mean the wars not over…?”

  1. thebeerphilosopher said

    You said, “I’m not asking for constant patriotism, however it would be nice.”

    To quote a bumper sticker, dissent is patriotic. I agree with you that it is never acceptable to berate a soldier simply for doing his or her job. But being against the war is neither patriotic nor unpatriotic.

    Let’s not forget the chest-thumping, flag-waving, superficial kind of “patriotism” that characterized the first several years of this war. As Edgar Allan Poe’s famous character Montressor said, “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit,” or “no one attacks me with impunity” — he then went crazy with revenge and sold his sanity for the satisfaction of retribution. Seems to be a fitting analogy. And completely un-American.

    My thoughts and prayers are with your father and all the soldiers who have fought, are fighting, and will fight for this country — for my safety — in the future.

  2. Aaron said

    I am not entirely sure what you mean when you call the “patriotism” of the first several years as “chest-thumping, flag-waving” and “superficial”. Are you implying that those waving their flags were not actually being patriotic or feeling patriotism? That their feelings were superficial?

    As for dissent being patriotic. Yes, that I would absolutely agree with. But there is a difference between dissent and undermining the military fighting overseas. The last six years has had a fair share of legitimate dissent concerning the war. But it has had a much larger share of not dissenting but disruptive undermining of our soldiers (cementing rail lines here in the US used by military troop and supply trains is a good example).

    And I’m sorry … but dissent is not an allowance for breaking the law. Those who marched at various events and did things like broke windows of businesses (like in Seattle) are not patriotic dissenters expressing their free speech. They are law breakers.

    • thebeerphilosopher said

      Aaron, I do believe that many people after 9/11 engaged in what could be called superficial patriotism. Consider all the flags draped over cars immediately after the attack on the twin towers — where are those flags now? I don’t doubt that those people love their country, but the steady decline in approval ratings for the war are indicative of a changing sentiment which, I think, is further indicative of a more realistic perception of patriotism.

      And I would never advocate law-breaking for any reason other than utter necessity. Cementing rails and breaking windows are unacceptable. Period. I don’t know how you inferred that I was for that kind of thing. As for it being “a much larger share,” I challenge you to produce those statistics. More publicized maybe (a BIG maybe) but I strongly doubt that the number of violent dissenters outnumbers the number of non-violent dissenters.

  3. modernpiracy said

    I think the author makes a very under appreciated argument. The fact of war, not just this war, is that winning it is only half the battle. I don’t necessarily mean physical battle but rather the commitment and time necessary. Capturing Berlin and the Nazis was the “end” of World War II yet it started a new generation of active military involvement in Germany. My Great-Uncle was a teenager who watched his uncles go fight WWII. Yet when he came of legal military age, there he was in Germany defending mail carrying trains. The reasons for the current war aside, America achieved its stated mission and objective – to remove Sadam Hussein from power. The problem, as the author is keenly aware of, is that we only then start our involvement. Like my great-Uncle in Germany or my good friend spending eight months of his prime in Iraq (he deployed earlier this month) their commitment is unquestionable, theirs are the flags still hanging from the back of the pick-up. Although as a culture it is hard to recognize this level of heroism once the spotlight has been turned somewhere else, I think articles and personal experiences like this are a good start.

    • thresholdlurker said

      I know that I am somewhat apathetic about the war at this stage. Not because I’m against anything or that it doesn’t arouse feelings when I think about it, mind, but rather because I feel as though there’s just not much I can do on this end. I feel like any action I take will be a breath on the wind, lost and ineffectual. While it might make me feel good, that’s not a good reason for doing something.

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