Monday, March 19, 2007

Thanks For The Support, Dad

The following was printed in the Times-News Sunday, April 8, 2007

Boise had an anti-war rally over the weekend. The parents of a medic in Iraq spoke at the rally, and were quoted as saying, "It's hard to maintain morale with a lack of a mission."

Perhaps the bigger threat to troop morale is having the parents of your unit's medic speaking at anti-war rallies.

Or maybe it's having members of Congress essentially buying, and even more perverse, selling, votes in order to pass legislation hastening withdrawal.

Maybe morale is hard to muster when news outlets pander to war protestors in Washington while ignoring or downplaying 30,000 respectful, US flag-waving, veteran supporters of a worthy mission.

I'm sure happy thoughts abounded when Jane Fonda, that great lover of America's military, was a noted speaker at last January's war protest.

How are we to expect our soldiers' morale to be high when we bombard them with political rhetoric that they have failed, that they're "stuck in Iraq" because they're stupid, and that their lives and the lives of their fallen have been "wasted" on a country and its citizens- citizens who, until recently, were ruled by a genocidal dictator allowed to maintain power by a world community more interested in his bribes than in stopping his atrocities; a world community apparently convinced that since he "contained" his murders to his own people, it didn't warrant intervention.

If troop morale is low, it would be because instead of giving hope and resolve to our soldiers and the people of Iraq, America tells them sorry, it's much too hard, the price is too high, it's time to quit and come home.


Charles D said...

The responsibility for troop morale rests with the commander-in-chief who sent them into battle unnecessarily, with inadequate support, inadequate training, inadequate equipment, no plan whatsoever, and totally inadequate treatment for the injuries they received in combat.

The best way to improve their morale is bring them all home ASAP into the arms of their loved ones.

Then we need to be honest enough with them and with one another to acknowledge that stopping a "genocidal dictator" or "restoring democracy" or "bringing freedom to Iraqis" had nothing whatever to do with the Bush Administration's decision to put our troops in harm's way.

All we are doing by stifling dissent is hastening the day when another egocentric idiot in the White House sends a new batch of troops into another ill-conceived, unnecessary conflict far from home.

Cameron said...

Were you and the protestors really concerned with your first paragraph's list, you would be marching and legislating solutions to those problems.

Instead, you have done nothing but protest and play partisan games. Take a look at this picture from Portland's "peace march" and try to explain how that is supporting the troops.

Jessica said...

I've gone to protests all over this country and those that burn the flag are always in the minority and are usually confronted by many in the protest.

Aren't we supporting the troops by exercising our constitutional rights that they are supposedly fighting for?

Cameron said...

Jessica, I was hoping you'd comment and I'm glad you did.

As I wrote in my Jane Fonda post, I don't deny the right to protest to anyone. I think it is a fundamental right of all Americans. Public protests are really what started the ball rolling to independence in the first place.

However, I think it is important to fully understand the implications of the protests in regards to the soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere. They are very aware of the protests. They hear the rhetoric and are affected by it.

Moreover, in my Jane Fonda post I also asked about the implication that the very people we are fighting are very aware of the protests and the resulting weakening of public resolve and support of the war effort. There is quite a bit of evidence that North Vietnam's strategy was to simply wait us out. There is a lot of evidence that that is the terrorist's goal in Iraq as well.

Those two things are a very big deal to me. I will support anyone's right to speak out, but I want them to understand the implications of their actions.

Additionally, many of the organizations that put together these big protests are pretty out there. Many of the people involved are pretty out there. The flag burning and the angry rhetoric are not isolated incidents. These are very radical people with very radical intentions.

For instance, the NY Times reported on the protest march in Washington on Saturday. The following excerpt is instructive:

Saturday’s march was organized by the Answer Coalition — named for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — an organization that was initially associated with the Workers World Party and now affiliated with a breakaway faction of that party called the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Brian Becker, the national coordinator of the Answer Coalition and a member of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, said the group held out little hope of influencing either the president or Congress. “It is about radicalizing people,” Mr. Becker said in an interview. “You hook into a movement that exists — in this case the antiwar movement — and channel people who care about that movement and bring them into political life, the life of political activism.”

Jessica said...

I've actually attended some ANSWER protests and I can assure you that, while at first, they were viewed like any other anti-war organization, in my own opinion, like United for Peace, they are now viewed with suspicion by many active protesters.

They sponsor protests against the war, but then have speakers who speak on a wide range of topics.

Having attended these protests and having seen the firsthand reactions, people are not pleased. Many come to a protest to protest the war, or rally for peace, not for this or that, and not for anti-America rhetoric, yet that has happened in speeches and is more than likely to occur at an ANSWER protest.

I frequent Democratic Underground, and I feel that DU has a wide range of opinions (on the Democratic and Independent side of course), most of the people there are quite liberal, but I notice a lot of anti ANSWER threads.

Another thing is that protests can actually cost a lot of money to put on. Aside from the bureaucratic paperwork to secure a location and all that entails, you must have a sound system, entertainment, including speakers, and sometimes more! It can cost thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for a large protest (numbering in the thousands). ANSWER has been successful at sponsoring so many protests because somehow, someway, they get a lot of money. This is worth some research, I think.

Unfortunately, until ANSWER runs out of money, they will continue putting on protests.

As far as providing strength and motivation to the enemy-perhaps that occurs. Though I feel that most things that happen always have intended and unintended consequences and until we can know if the negative outweighs the positive, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to stop protesting.

Perhaps someone with a greater and deeper perspective has something to say about this.

I want to write more, but I'm finishing up my own post, then getting ready for class. I'll be back though.

Cameron said...

If people are not pleased, why do they keep showing up? Why are groups like these still being supported?

I would love to see an expose on where ANSWER's funding is coming from. It's obvious what their intentions are.

Have you heard about the counter protest last weekend? There was a large group organized to rally at the same time that the protests were going on in Washington. From what I have been able to gather, it seems as though these people were motivated mainly by two things. They wanted to protect the national monuments because of the spray painting that happened in January. What struck me the most though were the many quotes from Vietnam veterans. They said that they remembered the protests during that war, and they didn't want it to happen again.

Charles D said...

I am not a marcher. Not because I don't believe in their cause, but because I think it is a waste of time and energy. You may recall that in November we elected a Congress that actually may legislate solutions to these problems, instead of more Republicans who line up to kiss GW Bush's Texas behind.

As for your carping about who is involved in the protests, when you are not in power and need to organize resistance to immoral government policies, you end up marching with people you don't totally agree with. That doesn't mean you are one of them, just that on the issue(s) in question, you agree more than you disagree.

Cameron said...


I think both Jessica and I disagree with your assessment of the effectiveness of these protests.

Your argument that sometimes it is necessary to join forces with people you don't necessarily agree with actually fits pretty well with the United States' alliance with Iraq in the 80's.

I'm sure I can expect you to stop carping on that point from now on.