Thursday, January 26, 2006

Can you be anti-war AND pro-soldier?

In a blunt column that begins, "I don't support our troops," L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein this week argued that it is illogical and rather disingenuous for anybody who says they oppose the war in Iraq BUT support the troops fighting it. Under the headline, "Warriors and wusses," Stein writes, in part:
"... Being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward. Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there ..."

I've long believed that you couldn't be both anti-war and pro-soldier. Imagine yourself talking to a young soldier and saying: "I think everything you risk your life to do is ill-advised, stupid, inhumane, murderous, sickening and the people who declared it are liars, cheats, thugs and swindlers who don't care if you get disemboweled by a roadside bomb ... but I support you entirely."

Do you think that young soldier FEELS supported?

What do you think? Can you hate the war but love the warrior? Can you love the war but hate the warrior? Or is saying so just a way to have your cake and eat it, too?

18 comments:

Jeremy said...

No, you can't support the troops but oppose what they're doing. BUT that doesn't mean you want soldiers to die. It just means that you divorce yourself from the interests they claim to be defending. I mean, I oppose the income tax, but I don't support the IRS anyway.

If the left was always this consistent, maybe people would take them seriously.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

No. The peaceniks are lying (as usual) when they claim that. They are against all war; not just this war. They are therefore necessarily anti-military and have no respect for our warrors.

Chancelucky said...

I've had some contact with various Gold Star Parent groups who have come out against the war. They certainly do support or supported their own "children" and other American troops while quite openly disagreeing with US policy. I don't question for a second the fact that they support our soldiers as individuals.

I've been a 49er fan for many years in football. I happen to think that the current owners are idiots and do just about everything wrong. I still root for the team on Sundays.

Ranando said...

I disagree.

I was all for the War in Afghanistan and I would be for any War against Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Hamas or any other terror nation.

I was however against the invasion of Iraq. We are now there in full swing. I have friends and relatives in the Military in Iraq as we speak and I support them with all my being. I want them to win and come home safe and alive.

Once again Yes, you can be against a War and support our troops.

Cris said...

I am against all war. I believe war is what happens when the "powers that be" can't make their points on their own words so they have to bring something more to the table.

I think the concept of supporting the troops comes from the knowledge that most of the militia is made up of young men (and now women) who join the services because they have no other way to survive in the general population, whether for economic or social reasons. the price they pay for survival or education or training is their blind allegience. I also think that there are enough of us who saw what happened to our peers when they were drafted into Vietnam, and came back from that horror to be treated as pariahs, and do not want that to ever happen again.

Because a young person volunteers (or is conscripted) to serve their country, and commits to the structure set up to do that, does not mean they are warriors by choice.

I do not believe war is the answer to anything. I think its a violation of any ethical standards that currently exist (from religion to the law). That people who have made a committment to follow the direction of the powers that be can be directed to violate those standards under the guise of patriotism is the greater evil.

Its the powers that be that deserve our distain, not the pawns in the game they call war.

Love, Rita said...

What great food for thought! Yes, a person can be against the war, but support the troops. The soldiers enlisted to protect our nation and the things we believe in. I have the greatest respect and admiration for their willingness to risk their lives so that we can enjoy our liberties.

Moreover, our elected officials have total control over what becomes their assigned duty. The poor decisions of our government's leaders have placed a great many loyal souls in harm's way. And soldiers cannot just lay down their arms and walk away if they are ideologically opposed, can they? They would be guilty of desertion.

No, I don't support this war. But, God bless the soldier who is giving his all to fulfill the obligation he made to the United States!

Joe said...

Yes, you can hate the war but love the warrior. Many people in this country that oppose the war in Iraq and/or Afghanistan just want our troops to be safe.

Stein's article was refreshing to say the least, because while there are anti-war folks who have a genuine interest in our troops' safety, there are also plenty others on the left who find them despicable. "Warriors and Wusses" is the rallying cry for this demographic, whether they like to admit it or not.

Ivy said...

I support my sister, family, friends, and will in the future support my kids in just about everything they do. I however even though I do support them,I will not have to approve of or be for what they are doing. (of course that will always depend on circumstances..)

Its not a must for being supportive. You can support someone and still be against what they are doing.

For one. Its their job. They joined the military they choose that job. You can support that 100%. And you SHOULD be thankfull that we do have some who are in the military and that they choose that instead of having drafts. You should be supportive of that!

However when they signed up. They KNEW there was the possibility of going to war. They knew what their life COULD come to. BUT for a good many of them they did not know which war they would be fighting. Sure a good many who are going in now or have gone in recently know which war they are fighting but a good many of them sign up knowing hte possibility is there. Not which war they would be fighting. They didnt choose to go into iraq. They are however doing their job. And its not a job they can just walk away from. They do not have that option. That luxury.
You have a tiff with your boss.. You can easily walk away. Find another job.. These guys.. They dont have that option. They had that option before they signed up. Their option was to join or not join.. They don't have an option to quit.
And for that. You should support your troops. You don't have to agree with where they are at or what they are doing but you should be supportive of what they are.

None of us really know how many are over there that DONT want to be over there. You can be against the war but for the troops.
And now that i've rambled. You want them home alive. They are trying to get there..

SingingSkies said...

Back before the war in Iraq began, I was adamantly against the war, and still am. One day, I was asked to both show my support for peace with a white ribbon and support for our troops with a yellow one.

I carry both with me - a white one that we might have peace in the world and a yellow one that all troops (regardless of country) may return safely home. Support can take a variety of forms other than solely a tacit approval of an obedience to the military structure.

I have family who have chosen to serve in the military, even though I disagree with their choice. I cannot find it in myself to not support them. I also cannot find it in myself to condemn the individual choices of those who are attempting to improve their lot in life through military service.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” This can be applied to our current situation in the war on terror. If we don't stand together, even if we disagree about the way it's done we will all suffer because of it. When we air our dirty laudry for the world to see and hear, we put ourselves at more risk. The more we fight amoung ourselves the longer it will take to win this war. I honestly believe it will and has cost more lives in this war because we don't all stand together.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin Franklin summed it up when he said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” This applies to our surrent situation in the war on terror. The more we fight amonug ourselves the more likely it will cost lives and time to win this war.

Houston said...

My answer was too long for a comment, so I talked about it on my blog here.

Paloma Cruz said...

I guess the consensus is that you can, in fact, support the troops while disagreeing with those who give them their orders. I'm glad, because it almost feels silly to say that.

Truthfully, I support our troops a lot more now than I did before my brother joined the National Guard. However, I do still disagree with his commander in chief.

BigNewsDay said...

Blanket statements and generalizations are very seldom true. Some of those that I see have commented on here are smarter than this. Jeremy is comparing the IRS to our young men and women fighting a war. Patrick is basically lumping all who oppose the war in Iraq as a "peacenik" that "have no respect for our warriors", but this is simply nothing more than a generallization that doesn't hold water. I fully supported or President's decision to go to war in Afghanistan, but I disagreed with Bush's decision to go into Iraq. But our soldiers are now there, so I hope they kick as much butt as they can, and most of all, I want them to return home safely.

So even though I don't support the current war, I do support our troops 100%.

Don said...

Around middle of last year, I flew to Atlanta on business. On my way out of the airport, I passed by a group of soldiers who were waiting to be deployed.

I looked at their faces and I froze! These were kids!!! Kids fighting a grown-up war! Kids getting killed for what?

As I stood there, I couldn't help but feel remorse for everything that's happening. It made me sick to my stomach, thinking that these young faces will have lost their innocence and sweet smiles... and that some of these faces may never come back alive.

This war has already killed so many kids.

When people talk about being pro this and anti that, I wonder if they have seen the faces of these kids who give up their lives blindly following their commander and accepting the fact that they may never get back home alive.

Taking a stand won't save these kids. Talking about issues won't bring back their innocence.

I don't care if your pro this or anti that.

What are you going to do to save those kids?

Ivy said...

Those kids didnt go into this blindly. They choose that path. Although I'm against sending our young men and women over there thats a choice they made. Doesnt matter which war it is that we are fighting. These kids (and yes a good many are in fact kids) made that choice. Blindly no. I know several who went over at 18/19. They put alot of thought into what they were doing and where they were going. One of those kids, is my close friend's brother. I babysat him. He put alot of thought and time into his decision. He went against what his family wanted for him. He went and is now in a hospital in another state because his convoy was blown up by a bomb and he was injured. Not once but twice. Shrapnel tore through his body like it was nothing. Even though he was inches away from death and still is in the hospital and has been for a while he doesnt regret it. he is certainly something i'm not. I would never go in in the first place. And if I did.. I'd have a world of regrets. Kids yes..

I'm still glad there are men and women willing to join the service instead of being forced. A draft imo would be so much worse..

Mrs.K said...

Yea, you tell it Ben!

Dwight P. said...

I don't support your point at all -- and others here have explained why better than I could. But here's oxymoronic conduct that you may reasonably muse on: The Bush administration claims to support the troops, but denies them adequate supplies, provides substandard conditions for their day-to-day lives, and proposes budgets with massive cuts to veterans benefits. Cool rhetoric, eh?