A warm welcome to Mudville Gazette and Free Republic readers (thanks, bnelson44)! As long as I've got your kind attention, please check out Valour-IT, a Soldiers' Angels effort to provide voice-activated laptops to troops with hand/arm injuries. More info is on the sidebar. Thanks so much for dropping by my humble little blog! Oh, and don't be afraid to comment. I don't bite... though I've been known to scratch! ;)
Okay, the gloves are off. I'm out of the closet. Whatever you want to call it. Let's talk politics...
I could probably be classified as a philosophical Conservative, with Libertarian tendencies (my thoughts on social issues run the gamut from typical "liberal" views right through libertarian leanings). I also am a Christian, something that colors my attitudes in ways most people don't expect; I believe that we have the God-given right to choose our spiritual and physical paths, including rejecting God completely and doing things that will cause us personal or spiritual harm. Besides, who knows if my beliefs are correct, anyway? So, on an individual level, short of interfering with someone else's choices/life, we can do what we want; we'll all answer for it in the end. My particular brand of religion also encourages a strong separation between church and state.
Until 3 years ago, I was a registered Independent. When I moved at that time, I said I'd been lying to myself and I might as well register as a Republican. I did, and after seeing Sen. Kerry running for President, I called up my local party office and put in hours helping to make sure he wasn't elected. In those hours, I met some great people, and I met a lot of people that scared the you-know-what out of me: single-issue voters and those who thought George W. Bush was the herald of the Second Coming. Their political discussions consisted of slogans from talk radio shows and showed a level of ignorance of basic history, logic, etc., that was startling. I was embarrassed to be associated with three-fourths of them (Interesting sideline: many of the employees and local party officials quietly told me they were Libertarians). I haven't gotten around to changing my registration back, but since I've moved again, I'll be registering as an Independent. I'm no Bush Worshipper, but I have had the opportunity to interact with him very briefly, and while I don't agree with all his policies, I found I greatly admired and respected him as a human being.
Why am I telling you this now? Because I read something at Smash's that compelled me to speak out, and I want you to know where I'm coming from.
I support our fighting men and women and I support their mission. One. Hundred. Percent. That shouldn't be a surprise to most people who already know me, but let me make sure it's clear. I believe that what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is vital to the future of this country and possibly the world. They should be out there as absolutely long as they need to be in order to leave stable and non-threating countries behind them when they go. I'm not saying that it's been conducted with anything close to perfection, or even by people with pure motives, behaviors, etc. I'm just saying that it matters and it must be done, as terrible as it is to see.
My heart literally aches at the news of each death, both Coalition and Iraqi. War is hideous for what it does to those who must carry it out, those who die, those on the sidelines, and those who love them all (civilian and military, on all sides). But this world is a messed-up place (my religion says that humans will never make the whole world perfect or even "good"), and so we have to muddle along as best we can. Sometimes that means war is necessary. I despise its necessity, but I see the world as it is, not as I wish it to be.
So, when I read the post I linked above, I was in complete agreement with the Marine in Iraq who wrote:
They [enemy in Iraq] absolutely cannot defeat us militarily and have no strategic vision except the destruction of all who oppose them. A strategy based on such a negative is doomed to fail, unless we cut and run. That is the enemy's only chance to win. The biggest threat we face is a determined enemy who will not quit because, like the Vietnamese they see the possibility of victory because of a perceived willingness to quit at home. [break]
I've said it several times before: this war will be won or lost on the homefront, and the fact that there are so many of our so-called fellow citizens determined to defeat us scares me. You are the ones who can keep history from being repeated and you can help us by not allowing the anti-American crowd to help the enemy snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. [break]
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal after his retirement, [North Vietnamese] Col. Tin explicitly credited leaders of the U.S. anti-war movement, saying they were "essential to our strategy."
"Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9AM to follow the growth of the antiwar movement," Col. Tin told the Journal. [break]
"Through dissent and protest [America] lost the ability to mobilize a will to win," Col. Tin concluded. "
Thanks for taking the time to help us out. You are the ones who clearly support the troops... because you support our mission. You may not appreciate the role you will play in helping to win this fight. But I do.
A commenter replied simply, "I guess Iraq is Vietnam, then."
And another commenter responded:
You bet it is.. and it's going to end the same way, not because of the anti-war movement, that is simply an effect, not a cause, but rather because both wars were started for the wrong reasons, with false goals, naive bravado and arrogance. [break]
...This weekends protest will hopefully mark the beginning of the real rise of public dissent against the Iraq war across the American population. Polls are showing that Americans are finally starting to realise their Administration has no plan to win this war and is just betting aimlessly on the lives of thousands of American men and women and an untold number of Iraqis... and THAT simply isn't American.
I had just finished breakfast, and when read that I honestly had to swallow hard because I thought I was going to throw up. Truly. As I said in the comment thread at Smash's, "May whatever god you believe in forgive you for what you are trying to do."
I'm too young to remember the Vietnam war, but I am increasingly frightened and angered by the ignorance, self-centeredness and almost suicidal tendencies of so many who call themselves "anti-war" protestors (Btw, we're all anti-war, you idiots! Get off your high horses!). Whether we win or lose IS all about our homefront staying power. I have respect for tender souls who are philosophical pacifists (a very rare breed). But whether they know it or not, in our multimedia, interconnected world "anti-war" activists are acting to make us lose, with all the disastrous results that implies. And they DO have the power to do it if we let them.
So, get off your butts and get out there to counter those who (largely due to ignorance and lack of thought) want America to lose. You heard it from one of our fighting men: you have the power to help our warfighters win.
UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments on Smash's post to see the Marine in Iraq's response to people like the commenter quoted above. Very powerful.
UPDATE II: See my follow-up post here.