Politics Aside, Support Our Troops

Susan Page
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Wednesday - September 19, 2007
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If you can keep your head when all about you,

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise ...

-Rudyard Kipling

There is a distinct and deep divide in this country and it all revolves around politics and power. And the war in Iraq is the chasm into which each side, Democrat and Republican, is tossing verbal explosives.

And while political spin swirls, our nation’s undaunted heroes - our military men and women - continue to rise above the rhetorical IEDs detonated every day by those who seek to win power. These brave Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen, who put their country before self, are second guessed at every turn by the “experts” who fight the war from the Capitol dining room. These men and women press on with honor, dignity and sense of duty to a mission clear to them but fuzzy to many Americans who accidentally catch a news sound bite while channel surfing.

It would be wonderful if all Americans are really studying the complex challenges we face in the global war on terror, including today’s reality in Iraq, and making election decisions based on thorough examination, but the cynic in me knows better.

The war in Iraq is on the channel we don’t want to watch. It interferes with football and game shows and Oprah. In fact, many want Oprah to decide this war issue for us so we can focus on more important ones like celebrities who embarrass themselves. She can tell us what to wear for thinner thighs while also telling us who to vote for. Easy.

Make no mistake, the deep divide is not about the Iraq war. This nation’s “house” became most deeply divided way back when Bill Clinton was impeached. The election of 2000 widened the divide. If you voted for Al Gore, you’ll forever believe that “Bush stole the election” no matter how many vote recounts by objective organizations. (I didn’t vote for Gore, but I understand the sore feelings over an election too close for political comfort.) All other political paranoia, crazy conspiracy theories and vitriolic attacks gathered believers from here. Neither side is pure.

Even though the attack on 9-11 provided President Bush temporary cover, political animus just doesn’t heal that fast, even with a common enemy to fight.

The war in Iraq gave reason for suppressed political hatreds to re-emerge. Granted, despite outstanding work from our troops, it went badly under Rumsfeld, especially when no WMDs turned up. Now Democrats claim to have known it would go this way all along, and Republicans don’t want to talk about the past. No matter what side you’re on, video tape has recorded the actual truth, which will surely be exploited - though edited heavily - in political ads.

Divided right down political lines, Democrats believe Democrat candidates on the war - leave now - while Republicans lean toward the president’s belief that the “troop surge” is working and Gen. Petraeus should continue, and never the twain shall meet, especially when power’s at stake.

So where do you stand?

I stand with our troops. MoveOn.org billionaire George Soros is financing specific ads against our military, and Hollywood is rolling out films that defame our troops: director Brian de Palma’s piece about two Marines convicted (and serving life sentences) for raping and killing an Iraqi girl, and Oliver Stone’s new film is on the My Lai massacre of Vietnam. Radical Islamic terrorists worldwide will surely praise Allah for these films to use to train their fighters against America, claiming all our soldiers commit atrocities.

That just doesn’t work for me. My own position is not political, it’s rational. I back those whose credibility is solid, who haven’t any political ax to grind, who’ve selflessly volunteered for duty in Iraq, many for second tours, many laying wounded yet ready to go back, legs or no legs. Those who say things like, “We’re here to serve our country. We want to give the poor people of Iraq a chance at democracy, to protect them from a vicious enemy, to keep terrorists from coming to America. We believe in our mission of giving Iraqi’s a chance at self-governance. We want to finish the job and return home with honor.”

I vote for those men and women who “keep their heads, while all about them are losing theirs and blaming it on them.” Those who haven’t fallen into the wide divide.

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