Friday, February 09, 2007

Who really supports the troops?

Now we’ve had two Express-News columnists take shots at a Washington Post blogger William Arkin for his post last week in which he referred to U.S. troops in Iraq as “mercenaries” in the midst of berating some of them for expressing their dismay that so many Americans disapprove of their mission.

First, Jonathan Gurwitz calls Arkin an “ungrateful jerk” for writing such “garbage.”
Then the next day, Ken Allard chimes in saying that his former NBC colleague had “slipped the surly bonds of sensibility.”

Both comments were fair, in my opinion. Arkin was flooded with more than 900 e-mails in response to the blog post to which he responds here.
But what upsets me is that neither Gurwitz nor Allard stopped with just bashing Mr. Arkin. They carried it over to bash everyone who is critical of the war in Iraq.

Gurwitz was the most blunt, stating outright that — “There is inherent tension in the concept of opposing the war in Iraq but supporting the troops.”
This is wrong on so many levels I’m not sure where to begin, but let me start with my initial gut-level response. I think it is people who are the most die-hard supporters of this war who have the most explaining to do about how they are supposedly “supporting the troops.”
People such as myself who criticized the war from Day 1 and who argued that Iraq did not pose an imminent threat necessitating a pre-emptive attack, invasion and occupation of the country, have been proven absolutely right. Our military is supposed to protect our national interests, not used as a pawn to advance the current administration’s political goals.
This administration sent our troops into Iraq based on outlandishly unrealistic expectations that it would all be over in a matter of months, if not weeks. They ignored the advice of military leaders who said we needed more troops. They did not provide the troops with adequate body armor and protective gear. And yet, four years later those of us who want to bring the troops home ASAP are accused of not supporting the troops. While those who insist that we leave our troops in the midst of a chaotic Civil War indefinitely are supposed to have our troops’ best interests at heart.

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