Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Supporting Our Troops

I don’t understand people who say, “Sure, I support the troops, BUT…” Laura Ingraham calls these people the “butt monkeys.” I agree with her.

You either support the troops, or you don’t. If you support them, you speak up on their behalf. You tell people that you are grateful to them, that you remain in awe of their bravery, dedication, and patriotism. You might write letters and e-mails to encourage them, or send care packages of favorite items from home, as do the Soldiers’ Angels . If you truly support the troops, you understand that we Americans can never repay their many very difficult sacrifices on our behalf.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with the politics of the war in Iraq. The fact remains, the best and bravest of our young people are fighting and dying to protect us at home from the onslaught of the radical Islamist terrorists. That’s what we need to remember. They deserve our full support. We should speak out for them as we would our own children. Our military is entitled to far better treatment than the constant bad-mouthing of their efforts that permeates the airwaves of Old Media.

There was no greater offense to our troops than the blathering of the senior windbag from Massachusetts, Sen. Ted Kennedy. To advance his warped agenda, the morale of our troops becomes his burnt offering on the altar of party politics. I don’t think he deserves the protection of our military, but he gets it anyway. The troops don’t discriminate for idiots. They do their jobs for all of us, regardless of our worthiness. Because of them, Kennedy gets to bellow and sputter about the “quagmire” they’re in. Thanks, Senator, you’re a big help—to the terrorists. How encouraging must it be for the terrorists to listen to Kennedy’s drivel! If I were a terrorist, I’d be able to hunker down for at least another month on the strength of Teddy’s disgraceful naysaying. It's tantamount to cheerleading the enemy.

We hear many references to “free speech” when this topic comes up. Yes, we all have the Constitutional right, as Americans, to speak our minds, freely and without censure. Are enough of us aware of what a blessing we have in our homeland? How many other countries have this unfettered right to mouth off at will, regardless of the stupidity of our words?

With rights come responsibilities, always. Yes, we have the right to free speech. How we apply it, with regard to the troops, says everything about our sense of responsibility. We can serve our own agendas with single-minded purpose and complete disregard for consequences to others. Or, we can think of those who are in harm’s way to defend our lives and our rights, and speak in support of their valiant work.

I was a teenager during the Vietnam War. I hated the very idea of that war, for reasons that any young person would recognize. Did I support the troops? I hope so. It didn’t matter that I didn’t like the war; our guys were over there. At school, I got the name of a soldier to write to in Vietnam. We exchanged letters regularly for six months, and then his letters stopped coming.

I never had the courage to try to find out what happened to him. But if I ever visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., I know I’ll look for his name. And if I find it, I know I’ll cry.

Support our troops. What they are giving us, in time, in duty, and in blood, we can never repay.