Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, January 29, 2007

Columnist Abuses Soldiers' Deaths

The Daily Evergreen carried an opinion article today titled “When will they realize the war is wrong? The author used a few choice phrases to express exactly why she felt our presence in Iraq was unjust or wrong. Most of those points have been said before by other columnists, TV hosts, or so-called experts. But what angered me was just how seditious and damaging the author’s words were, especially about our military:

Another headline Thursday in The Daily Evergreen, “Former WSU student killed in Iraq,” dominated the front page. On that day, the “war on terror” became all too relevant, even though it is being waged nearly 7,000 miles away. Last Thursday, the war once again became local news. One more name. One more life. One more son or daughter who will never come home. One more child who will never know their father or mother. One more unfulfilled destiny. One more name in the newspaper, one more name on a list, one more headline. Last week, the war took two more men with ties to Eastern Washington. When does it stop?

I think regular readers of this blog know my stance on the United States military. I have enormous faith in and love for those that have volunteered to risk their lives for this nation and for others. Not a man or woman serving in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard (though no longer an Armed Force) was ordered to take the uniform. We were never ordered to enlist, fight, and even die for the United States; we all, for whatever reasons, made a conscious decision to join. For a columnist to use the loss of any soldier as a means to push a political point is misdirected, as well as detestable and cowardly.

The cost and death of war is terrible: It has been since the early history of human kind, and will continue to be so for as long as we exist. Yes, parents will loose sons and daughters. Yes, husbands will loose wives; and wives, husbands. Children will grow up never knowing their mother or father; only knowing their sacrifice. The pain of war cuts deep, far deeper than many of us may ever know. How dare anyone use that pain to chastise their sacrifice. They did not die 7000 miles from home with the hope that we could site here, safe and comfortable, and rebuke the very reasons they laid down their lives. Shame on those that believe they can praise the troops from one side of their mouths and curse their cause from the other. For those that honorably serve in the Armed Forces, their cause is their life and their death. To insult their reasons for being in Iraq and elsewhere is to insult their service and their sacrifices. To a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine, there is no difference.

When does it stop? A good question, to be sure. Nobody hates war more than the warrior. I pray to God, however, that it stops when and only when the job is done. Let us press on until be can truly say our sons and daughters died not only for a noble cause, but for a successful one as well. President Bush is being stubborn on this matter, and I cannot blame him. Who wants to be the one to tell a grieving mother that her son died for nothing? To say, “I am sorry for your loss. We tried to make his death worth something, but in the end we weren’t willing to do what it would take to achieve success…”

More may and will die. That is the cold reality of war. I do not claim to understand what it means to know battle; to feel and see death around me. I have never seen a man die with fear and pain in his eyes, or felt that pain and fear for myself. In the future, perhaps I will. But I do understand where our soldiers are coming from. I know what motivates the vast majority of us to walk with heads held high in pride and purpose. It is not so that others can capitalize on the horrors of war. It is not so others can degrade our president, or abuse our choice.

Our military fights in war so others can live in peace.

If you believe the war should not have happened, you are entitled to that opinion. But the war has already begun, and that cannot be changed. Don’t make it worse by stirring hatred and resentment here at home. Our service men and women fight so you don’t have to. Please honor their commitment. One more name has been added to a growing list of those that willing gave everything they had. One more newspaper headline has been written. But instead of reading headlines like “Terrorist car bomb kills seven in Chicago playground,” we read of soldiers dying in foreign lands, thousands of miles from our homes and families.

The war is far from over; the issue is far from resolved. We have reached a point in this conflict when America is losing….[President Bush] seems to believe we can still hold on; we can still make a difference and win, whatever winning means.

If we do lose this war, I assure you it will not be due to any lack of military proficiency, supply, or will. Failure will occur here at home as it did for Vietnam, and with an attitude like that seen in The Daily Evergreen today, we are already on our way.

Do not let members of our military die in vane. Don’t let fear overcome resolve. Everything of worth comes at a high cost, especially peace. God bless our men and women in the Armed Forces.


Tom Forbes said...

Great post RK.

Here, from strategypage.com, the Top Ten Myths of the Iraq War, dedicated to Amelia Veneziano:

1-No Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Several hundred chemical weapons were found, and Saddam had all his WMD scientists and technicians ready. Just end the sanctions and add money, and the weapons would be back in production within a year. At the time of the invasion, all intelligence agencies, world-wide, believed Saddam still had a functioning WMD program. Saddam had shut them down because of the cost, but created the illusion that the program was still operating in order to fool the Iranians. The Iranians wanted revenge on Saddam because of the Iraq invasion of Iran in 1980, and the eight year war that followed.

2-The 2003 Invasion was Illegal. Only according to some in the UN. By that standard, the invasion of Kosovo and bombing of Serbia in 1999 was also illegal. Saddam was already at war with the U.S. and Britain, because Iraq had not carried out the terms of the 1991 ceasefire, and was trying to shoot down coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone.

3-Sanctions were working. The sanctions worked for Saddam, not for Iraq. Saddam used the sanctions as an excuse to punish the Shia majority for their 1991 uprising, and help prevent a new one. The "Oil For Food" program was corrupted with the help of bribed UN officials, and mass media outlets that believed Iraqi propaganda. Saddam was waiting out the sanctions, and bribing France, Russia and China, with promises of oil contracts and debt repayments, to convince the UN to lift the sanctions.

4-Overthrowing Saddam Only Helped Iran. Of course, and this was supposed to make Iran more approachable and open to negotiations. With the Iraqi "threat" gone, it was believed that Iran might lose its radical ways and behave. Iran got worse as a supporter of terrorism and developer of WMD. Irans clerical dictatorship did not want a democracy next door. The ancient struggle between the Iranians and Arabs was brought to the surface, and the UN became more active in dealing with problems caused by pro-terrorist government of Iran. As a result of this, the Iranian police state has faced more internal dissent. From inside Iran, Iraq does not look like an Iranian victory.

5-The Invasion Was a Failure. Saddam's police state was overthrown and a democracy established, which was the objective of the operation. Peace did not ensue because Saddam's supporters, the Sunni Arab minority, were not willing to deal with majority rule, and war crimes trials. A terror campaign followed. Few expected the Sunni Arabs to be so stupid. There's a lesson to be learned there.

6-The Invasion Helped Al Qaeda. Compared to what? Al Qaeda was a growing movement before 2003, and before 2001. But after the Iraq invasion, and especially the Sunni Arab terrorism, al Qaeda fell in popularity throughout the Moslem world. Arab countries cracked down on al Qaeda operations more than ever before. Without the Iraq invasion, al Qaeda would still have safe havens all over the Arab world.

7-Iraq Is In A State of Civil War. Then so was Britain when the IRA was active, and so is Spain today because ETA is still active. Both IRA and ETA are terrorist organizations based on ethnic identity. India also has tribal separatist rebels who are quite active. That's not considered a civil war. This is all about partisans playing with labels for political ends, not accurately describing a terror campaign.

8-Iraqis Were Better Off Under Saddam. Most Iraqis disagree. Check election results and opinion polls. Reporters tend to ask Iraqi Sunni Arabs this question, but they were the only ones who benefited from Saddams rule.

9-The Iraq War Caused Islamic Terrorism to Increase in Europe. The Moslem unrest in Europe was there before 2001, and 2003. Interviews of Islamic radicals in Europe reveals that the hatred is not motivated by Iraq, but by daily encounters with hostile natives. Blaming Islamic terrorism on Iraq is another attempt to avoid dealing with a homegrown problem.

10- The War in Iraq is Lost. By what measure? Saddam and his Baath party are out of power. There is a democratically elected government. Part of the Sunni Arab minority continues to support terror attacks, in an attempt to restore the Sunni Arab dictatorship. In response, extremist Shia Arabs formed vigilante death squads to expel all Sunni Arabs. Given the history of democracy in the Middle East, Iraq is working through its problems. Otherwise, one is to believe that the Arabs are incapable of democracy and only a tyrant like Saddam can make Iraqi "work." If democracy were easy, the Arab states would all have it. There are problems, and solutions have to be found and implemented. That takes time, but Americans have, since the 18th century, grown weary of wars after three years. If the war goes on longer, the politicians have to scramble to survive the bad press and opinion polls. Opposition politicians take advantage of the situation, but this has nothing to do with Iraq, and everything to do with local politics in the United States.

Scotty said...

The guy she is writing about is Brian Freeman. Someone I knew personally. We lived in Stephenson East together and he was a member of my executive hall government that year.

He was a sharp guy and when he interviewed for the postion in the executive staff he blew the competition away.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

I would say that everyone should just ignore Veneziano as she comes off as being about as bright as a burnt-out light bulb, but I do agree that her use of the honorable deaths of soldiers for a political end is absolutely disgusting. I had a similar thought as I read through it: "Does she not realize that our entire military is made up of volunteers?"

I wonder if she realizes how she's perceived by us living veterans, particularly the Iraq veterans. Maybe she thinks insulting the service of a dead man is safe, but I guess she has never realized that demeaning his sacrifice does so in turn to the sacrifices of those who fought and survived the war.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

I'm so disheartened by this article. Our men and women in uniform need our support.

Satanic Mechanic said...

Sarcastic Housewife,
I could bring myself to finish that piece of tripe of an article. Looks like Veneziano has passed her Yellow Journalism class and finished reading the traitor Jane Fonda's book.