Last night I began reading this account of the man-in-the-mosque controversy in Falluja. This morning I awoke to a radio transmitting stories of several young men recently killed in Iraq. It may seem like I can't relate to these military families, so traditionally conservative and sometimes so harsh in their estimation of the "enemy." I grew up in a military town, however, went to a high school with one of the better ROTC programs around, and watched many of my good friends join the Air Force, Navy and Marines. It was peacetime for us, but the first Gulf War had just ended when we started high school, and parents, siblings and friends had, for the most part, returned from Iraq unscathed. If I hadn't such significant and worsening problems with my own physique, I would have tried harder to do the Navy ROTC in college. So you see, I have no problem with supporting the troops, though I personally can't conceive of the waging of war.
I had trouble slicing through the breast bone of the cornish hen I was preparing last week. So perhaps combat is not for me. Not in my current circumstance anyway. Maybe gore and guts will not bother me so much when the revolution comes.
I can support the troops. What I can't support is the cavalier way in which the Bush administration makes decisions regarding their fate. A friend of mine knows someone who just had a baby, who is supposed to have completed her obligation to the US Military. Her husband is supposed to be finished too. Despite this, the stop-loss prevents them from leaving, and they have orders to leave for Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. With a 6-week old baby. It was, until I learned of this, my perception that pregnancy and infancy excluded mothers from assignment. I guess not, when you overcommit troops to a region.
I don't disagree with some of the aims of this war. I think the Middle East is a fucked up place and that Saddam was an evil man who deserved to be removed from power. I don't believe those were the true auspices under which this war was prosecuted, but as we know with the Bushies, the ends always justify the means, and the means and the ends are subject to change. However, failing to establish sufficient troop levels--which, in my opinion, was done to keep Americans from uprising--has created a situation in Iraq of chronic understaffing. I don't believe that these hot spots contained enormous weapons caches prior to the invasion. I don't think that significantly more troops wouldn't have subdued the opposition quicker, perhaps even before it got off the ground. How many 20 year-old lives might that have saved?
And so I can't believe we've given this man another 4-year stint in office, based on that alone. For so many other reasons he does not deserve a second term, but this one is so glaring. Chickenhawks suck.