Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Support the War

(Pat Burgwinkle)

NOTE: This is a letter I sent to the GWU Hatchet on Monday in response to an opinion piece in the September 10, 2007 issue. The original op-ed can be found here.

I read Frank Broomell's opinion piece with some confusion. Retain respect for the troops? I didn't even think there was an issue in this department. The American public at large has been incredibly supportive of our soldiers in Iraq even as support for the increasingly desperate situation they were thrust into declines steadily. Who are these people who don't support our troops? I've never even met one! I can't think of a single liberal I've ever met who didn't completely support and who didn't have the greatest sympathy for the men and women of the US military in Iraq. The question then becomes, why are we always reminded so incessantly to support the troops if so many of us already do so.

Even Mr. Broomell asserts that "GW's students, along with most college students across the country, have been vigilant thus far about separating" the soldiers from the politicians who created the mess in Iraq. In my opinion, "support the troops" has been hijacked as a slogan by those who really want us to "support President Bush's war in Iraq". Just because I don't slap a yellow ribbon on the back of my Hummer doesn't mean I don't support the troops, just as when I assert that I am not a "pro-lifer" it doesn't automatically make me "pro-death". Throughout the war, "supporting the troops" has really only been code for "support the war".

This is unfair to people who support our men and women in uniform but who do not agree with the war and it is unfair to our soldiers to make supporting them and the war the same thing. With General Petraeus testifying before Congress, I think people should not have to hear about how they should remember to "support the troops". The vast majority of Americans already do. Instead, I think people should start considering how best to salvage the situation in Iraq, even if that means supporting a withdrawal from Iraq, without fear of being labeled unpatriotic for not "supporting the troops".