As combat veterans, I feel we are in important positions to oppose ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is one thing for pro-war American civilians to turn their backs on those annoying anti-war hippies, liberals, and protesting college kids, but it is quite another for them to tell a combat veteran that his views on the war are wrong. It’s easier for pro-war Americans to hide behind yellow ribbons and bumper stickers than to risk being viewed as “unpatriotic,” but to be pro-war you must also accept the fact that you are anti-constitution, pro-bureaucracy, and willing to kill people, simply because they were born in a different part of the world than you. It is through ignorance that many Americans believe that being pro-war and being loyal to the troops are one and the same. It is our job to inform them otherwise.
Washington D.C. does not get off that easily. If stabilizing the region was ever their true goal, then the people who run this country (past and present included) have made down right stupid decisions at almost every turn, and occupation and rebuilding appear to be afterthoughts, with little to no planning. But that’s not because they were ill-informed by the commanders on the ground; it’s because they ignored the sound advice of the military they put in harm’s way.
Even though I believe it is impossible to come out of any war smelling like a rose, our military created opportunities to keep a least some of the fallout off our nation; however, those chances are long gone, lost in red tape. One shining example is the fact that, after we had toppled Saddam in 2003 and there was growing lawlessness throughout Iraq, especially in Baghdad, commanders of the Iraqi armed forces, no longer forced to serve under Hussein’s regime, came forward to negotiate terms to commit their troops to the rebuilding effort and to the establishment of a new Iraqi government. Against the urging of our military, on May 23, 2003, the order was issued to dissolve the entire Iraqi army, leaving 400,000 – if not more – Iraqi men of fighting age disgruntled and out of work. I believe that order to be a major turning point in the failed effort to stabilize the country of Iraq.
Yet, here we are in 2011, still with no clear military objective, and a president who lied about ending the wars. We have a handful of play-by-the-establishment-book GOP candidates who are either chicken hawks and wish to stay the course, or we have the others – whose ambiguity may be worse – who have no articulated stance on continuing, or ending, the costly, misguided wars in the middle east. Only Ron Paul is above this foolishness and clearly, our only hope to restructure our botched foreign policy and bring an end to the incompetence and lawlessness of our federal government is to elect Ron Paul as president.
I hope those who ask, “Well, shouldn’t we support our troops?” hear me loud and clear when I say YES!
But allowing men in suits and comfortable offices to gamble with their lives for one moment longer…that is not supporting our troops.
Supporting the troops means becoming active in local programs that aid returning veterans and campaigning for more veteran benefits here at home, instead of wasting endless tax dollars on an inefficient, bureaucracy run war machine. Supporting the troops means doing the one thing in that private ballot box that would allow our boys to knock the sand off their boots for at least four years, and hopefully for the rest of their days.
Support your troops. Vote for Ron Paul in 2012.♠
CPL Grady Fowles served as an Infantry Squad Leader with Suicide Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines during the Invasion and initial occupation of Iraq.