D.R.: Forgetting who’s boss
Vail CO, Colorado
Buddy Sims, a retired Air Force officer I admire very much, asks a question to the wrong people when he disagrees with those against the war in Iraq.
Following a state legislative committee endorse the national resolution against President Bush’s troop surge, Sims expressed disappointment.
“What I see is this is going to affect the morale of all Colorado soldiers. The troops’ morale is going to go straight down the drain. Why should they be fighting?”
Well, indeed. Why should they be fighting?
Soldiers are not trained to question the commander in chief, or to need to be convinced before taking up arms at the order to move. The order comes; they go. That simple.
But this is the essential question, isn’t it? Why should our troops be fighting in Iraq?
The warrior culture is yes sir, dive in to the end. Even if the reasons turn out to be corrupted or hopelessly flawed. President Bush’s ultimately rash act, carried out with ultimate hubris and rank stupidity, has humiliated the United States. There is no easy, nice way to parse this. We screwed this one up.
The silver lining might be that the death toll of soldiers didn’t reach 50,000 ” as in Vietnam, before we figured it out. Vietnam was no dominoe, as it turned out. And Iraq is not the key to the Middle East. The hornets nest lies just to the east.
It’s America’s strength that its people can rise up when government turns the wrong way, even with that warrior class conditioned to be unable to separate the cause from the men and women ordered to carry it out.
This may be why soldiers and ex-soldiers have trouble understanding how Americans can support their military people but not their assignment.
Well, it’s our country too. Not just the administration’s. Not Congress’. Not the military’s. Our country. The people. If the people are so stirred, they have an absolute right to demand the return of their troops.
The problem is these folks in leadership positions sometimes forget that they ultimately are servants. And the soldiers they order into combat also serve us.
If we want them home, well, they need to come home. The president is not king or pope. He’s a man. Maybe the next one will be a woman. Either way, they are accountable to us.
Seems some of the soldiers and ex-soldiers have forgotten for the moment who they are supposed to serve.
Ordinary citizens have a right to protest the war. They have a right to support the war.
The war supporters, however, do not have the moral high ground in claiming that bad orders well followed make the orders right. Or that bad orders must be supported by the citizenry or else the citizenry is disloyal to the soldiers who must carry them out. Nothing is further from the truth.
This rhetorical line ought to be retired. It’s patently false. It’s used to claim a moral high ground that does not exist. It misses the point. Entirely.
God bless the soldiers. But Americans who believe it’s time to bring them home are not being disloyal in the slightest in demanding their return.