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How to Support Our Troops
A divided country is made more divided by presidential arrogance.
By Ed Knudson
On my way to a meeting today I passed a busy intersection in my town. On each of the corners were lots of people with flags and signs which said "Support Our Troops." Polls indicate already that more of the American people support the Iraq war now that it has begun. Yesterday the United States Senate voted 99 to 0 to support our troops.
At the Lenten service in my church last Wednesday a Vietnam veteran spoke on "Peace". He said that fighting in Vietnam led him to believe he was doing the wrong thing. The people there hated him. He came to believe he himself was a wretched person for using his guns to kill people. As he returned home he was embarrassed to be around others because he felt so ashamed of what he had done in Vietnam. It took him over a year to begin to feel it was proper for him to be out in public. There were not many dry eyes as he expressed his most honest feelings about his experiences.
I thought, what a terrible thing to send young people into a wrong war, what devastation to the soul is done by such an action. Any president should make absolutely sure that this kind of thing never happens again.
And yet that is exactly what George W. Bush has done. He knew before hand that the country was divided, that the world was very seriously divided, over the idea of war with Iraq. He knew he had been elected by the narrowest of margins, in fact, that his "election" was actually more a kind of appointment by the Supreme Court. You would think a person so appointed would be careful, would be especially sensitive to not over-extend himself.
But George W. Bush has been acting in what can only be called an arrogant manner. Yes, September 11 was critically important. But to respond to the terrorist attacks by wildly lashing out at Iraq does not make good sense. Iraq is an exceedingly weak nation, having existed under sanctions for a decade now. It is no big military victory to defeat Iraq. But most important, it puts our troops in the position of fighting a wrong war for a wrong purpose.
This is going to be painful in many ways. We are going to see on our television sets American soldiers being wounded and killed in battle. People who support the war are going to get more and more angry at those who protest against it and attack them for not supporting our troops.
But remember, those against the war did not want the troops there in the first place. If you need to blame someone for American life being lost, there is one person to blame, George W. Bush, and the people who enouraged him to go into this war and the people who elected him in the first place. He has made a tremendous blunder by taking this country into war. His readiness to shed American lives for an unneeded war means their sacrifice cannot have the meaning it otherwise deserves.
The cause of all this pain is presidential arrogance. Our troops should not be in Iraq. They deserve our prayers that they may return home as soon as possible.
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