In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Monday, June 06, 2005

Question everything

I firmly believe that as U.S. citizens, we have the right to question anything our government does. So while it's hard for me to listen to people question our actions in Iraq, I know that it's their privilege to criticize Bush. In addition, I have a hard time understanding how people can support soldiers, but not the war. A commenter from this site had a very good take on this...

"Being anti-war and pro-soldier is like thinking about war on a tactical level versus a strategic level. On the level of individual soldiers and units it is impossible for me not to respect people that have sacrificed so much. Anyone who has a problem with troops on this level is stupid. But it is very wrong to expect people to support things on a strategic level. So if I were to say something like “but I respect the military for the job they’re doing” what I'm actually saying is that I support the battle but I am against the strategic decisions and policy that have led to it. The troops have no more to do with the strategic and policy decisions than I do. Pro-war right-wingers love to link support for the troops with support for the war because it kills debate. It is possible to be critical of strategy but love the troops."

This statement from Jake makes complete sense. Hell, I've questioned every government move in my life... Why are we going through with NAFTA? (It will kill American foresters)... But just because I question the government doesn't mean I hate a secretary at the FDA. I appreciate the way he or she can staple 55 papers per minute (PPM).

I guess you could say people from this site have opened my eyes to different viewpoints and ideas. I used to think that people who questioned the actions in Iraq were anti soldiers. And then I started writing this blog, where I heard from hundreds of anti war / pro soldier types. If there was any question that such persons exist, read this great post "The Debate for Iraq" from MJ. It really makes you think and say... it's OK to question our officials. After all, that's why we're Americans.


At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.

I come from a long line of servicemen. I work at a college of music. Ten years ago I turned down an academy appointment. My only regret. My biggest relief.

Reading the news (when the fuckers remember there's still a war) is conflicting, to say the least.

Meantime, some of my best friends are flung around the world, protecting my ass.

It's often so very hard to express how much I love them for what they've chosen to do ...

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Household6 said...

Before marrying my husband, before I even met him I couldn't understand the military nor why they did what they did. I was completely adimant that my spouse must get out of the Army if I were to stay married to him.

As I witnessed more of military life my views changed, I changed. I saw people with great civic and patriotic pride. I saw people who knew what community meant, who took care of their own, who stopped on a street corner to give you a ride even if you didn't ask.

I don't always agree with my current government and some of the service memebers don't either, but being in the military is more than just following orders, its a sense of pride like no other, an honor, and a choice to help your neighbor.


At 11:53 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

Nice one, I'll sit back and read.

At 12:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here Here! I have the deepest respect and admiration for soldiers. I also strongly believe the actions in Iraq have made us less safe as a country. Even though I oppose the war, I don't blame the soldiers who fight there for following orders.

Thank you for your service, and know that most rational people who oppose the war want the troops home safe and sound (even if they don't always say it).

At 4:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say, that when I wrote the quoted comment I really should have added that I think pulling out of Iraq would be a disaster. I was anti-war but I firmly beleive that, like Vietnam, more people will die if we pull out. I don't think that people who call for a pull-out have thought through the consequences.

Imagine a country that is at war with itself, take away regular food supplies, any semblance of law, and you have Iraq if the troops were pulled out too early. I don't understand how people can call for a pull out now.

Something good has to come out of this. I have no sense of schadenfreude given my stance before the war. Now is a time to be pragmatic. That doesn't mean I support the politicians, but I really want Iraq to succeed. Every time I read something good it makes me happy and every time I read something sad it depresses me.

Because I know that there are people out there doing a job and a vast majority of the Iraqi people that want peace. I must be in the minority of people who were anti-war but pro-'occupation' (note inverted commas --- I don't think it is anything as simple as occupation, it is part peace-keeping, part-policing and part-soldiering).

If we pull out of Iraq then we have effectively let the terrorists in Iraq win. They are not noble republicans, they are largely scum that consider civilians legitimate targets. Handing a country to people like that is a worse geopolitical move than the war itself.

Jack (jack dot toerson at gmail dot com)

At 5:22 AM, Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

Oh, man, Sminks and MJ, you guys crack me up...first you guys are pulling karate moves on each other, and now the love's positively heartwarming, and sweet...;-)

At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who doubts that ordinary Iraqis want peace should read this: One Day in Iraq: Daily lives. It isn't just about Iraqis - it is about the troops too. It's possibly one of the best news pieces about Iraq in a long, long time.

And please, keep in mind that article came from the BBC. Not some predominantly right wing news source. It is not propaganda.

Contrast what ordinary people think with the wider picture: One Day in Iraq: At-a-glance.

It strikes me that the main stream media concentrates on 'Iraq at a glance' but barely reports what average Iraqis feel, want and hope for (LET ALONE THE TROOPS). I think it is true of both sides of the political divide. News has become all about supporting an ideolological picture (And some blogs: LGF, DKOS etc. etc. WHAT A BUNCH OF BABY POLITICIANS LOL), rather than about ordinary people. Shame on them.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Smink, thanks for the link.

I'm glad that we can agree that not everything is black and white or with us or against us. There is some middle ground.

I must say, however, that I'm not anti-war. I was for this war in the beginning and I'm still for it now. But I do make a complete distinction between the war and the strategic decisions, which have proven costly.

But I think we have to stay on course. History will judge our generation with the outcome of Iraq. We can't quit now.

You certainly have opened my eyes to many things as well.

Thanks again.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Toni said...

Hey Smink - I can agree there are those who do support the troops and not the war although I do believe the number of people in this category are small. Many 'say' they support the troops but don't in any way shape or form. These are the same cowards who go out and demonstrate with signs that say they support the troops by killing their officers or support the troops by bringing them home and show a body bag. Those who believe anything and everything Michael Moore says were also saying they supported the troops way back when. That was the ultimate in hypocrisy to me. Michael Moore just was out to make alot of money off the blood of soldiers. I'm always respectful when someone says they support the troops and not the war. When I ask them what they have done to show this and if they tell me they've sent care packages or donated to Soldiers Angels or Wounded Warriors (et al) then I believe them. If, on the other hand, they have done nothing then I know they are lying to themselves and others.

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony, why should donating to some charity that supports soldiers mean that you do or don't support the troops? By definition there is only a need for charity when there is a deficit in what is already available. I think Troops should receive more money, better support, and so should their families. Some of us don't think charity is the right way to do that and I don't anyone likes to rely on charity. They should be provided for by government because they have sacrificed so much. They shouldn't have to rely on handouts like you suggest. As far as I can see you're another person that likes to link Michael Moore to all of those who opposed the war in order to kill off debate. I don't want to live in a world where soldiers are charity cases or people make bad strategic decisions. The two are not linked.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

Anonymous, I believe that you may have misunderstood Tony's point. Simply saying I support the troops does not make you a supporter. Sending care packages, donating to soldiers angels or wounded warrior is not about charity, its about doing something to show your support for the sacrifices our soldiers make. When I sent calling cards and care packages to my nephew and his team, or soldiers who are perfect stranger, its not because they needed my charity, it because they needed to know that there is someone back here in the states who thinks about them every single day, worries about their safety and prays for their safe return. It may not seem like much, but it was the best I could do.

Now your suggestion that they should be paid more and provided more is very valid. Unfortunately, just saying it here does not solve anything. However, if you took that idea forward and worked to provide them with better pay and support for their families that would truly be doing something. As it stands right now your point is only words...not support.

At 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strykeraunt, if I like a particular political party it doesn't mean that I have to donate, or that I have to be an activist in order to be considered a supporter. If I wasn't considered a supporter, why would I publicly defend that political party? It would be a particularly short lived political party if it did not consider people who don't donate (time or money) supporters.

But I suppose you're right; given that we're talking about "only words". If you don't donate to soldiers charities or send care boxes don't even bother thinking about it. It's only words.

Next time you get to the ballot box don't think about the soldiers, it's not support, it's only words. Next time tax is discussed in government, don't think about the soldiers, it's not support, it's only words. Next time the media slanders soldiers, don't think about it, it's only words. Next time someone misrepresents soldiers, don't argue, it's only words. You're not a supporter. Because it's only words. Maybe Newsweek should have tried that argument.

I'm sorry to be sarcastic, but I think words mean a lot, and support doesn't just revolve around donation of time or goods.

As it happens I have given money to a soldiers charity but I don't begrudge people who haven't, and I certainly wouldn't be arrogant enough to question their support. Because what they think matters.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will assume you are just a bit overly sensitive, since the focus of your response to Strykeraunt seems to be money. So let's talk about the support word in a different light. What about writing letters. (I know, it costs money for paper, or for the postage, so perhaps this is still too much charity?) But it is one of the finest ways to demonstrate your support in the finest age old tradition. A yellow magnetic ribbon on your car and stating you support the troops is nice, but it does not have impact. Yes, we all like to believe that the world is just waiting for our opinion, but my belief is that actions - both large AND small are what really demonstrate commitment.

And that takes me to voting. Everyone has an opinion. But we have a miserable record of voter turnout. Voting requires conscious ACTION, so again, if you vote, that can show support. Lots of folks have opinions, but far too few vote. Voting is not just words, it is action. But just talking? I think we do too much of that, as we are generally enthralled with our own voices. And we are so anxious to respond that we do not always truly understand what is expressed. One of the golden rules to live by - Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Just my opinion, and of course, while I think it is important, it doesn't mean a damn thing unless I act in a manner consistent with said opinion.

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jck, I think there is a great danger in discounting other people. My response to Strykeraunt primarily wasn't about money. It was about not discounting what people think, or getting into the 'I'm a better supporter than thou' argument. Opinion matters, backed by action or not. Wars have been lost because of opinion (the war I'm thinking, you're thinking, wasn't lost by actions of its opponents, or the use of facts). The whole 'I support X, you don't, you're not a real supporter' alienates people further and just helps people who really don't give a damn. Pushing people away, calling them hollow supporters, just helps the opposition.

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My view is that SOME anti war people in America are like Smink details and some really do desire we LOSE in Iraq.

Those who desire we actually lose that conflict are the types that I question. And they definitely exist.

I would put their numbers in the single digits. I think these people truly are anti soldier as well as anti American.

Anti soldier because the soldier,sailor airman and marine are the power behind the flag,without you guys,we're nothing.

It's all based on WHY one opposes a given war effort.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Good Grief Anonymous - at least you could sign your name in the post without registering. BTW - it's TONI with an I not a Y. You do seem too focused on the money and support is more than money. Thank you StrkyerAunt. You expressed my view very well.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


By Dr. Jack Shepard, founder of People for Peace Group.

Hello let us all pray for Peace.

I have made a 2.5 minute video Warning the Iraqi Suicide Bombers to beware; if they kill themselves they go to Hell not Heaven.

Please visit to see my Video warning to the Iraqi Insurgents.

If my message gets somehow to the Iraqi Insurgents and the Palestinian Suicide Bombers, and they learn what they do is against the Koran I think they will stop.

Then God willing we will have Peace In Israel and Iraqi and Love and Peace will have a chance.


Then take it to your local TV Station to play for 2.5 minutes to stimulate a discussion about Suicide Bombing as a Weapon of War. Please advise the TV station after they play my brief 2.5 minute video.

I would suggest that the TV station organizes to have a group of religious scholars from all faiths give their opinion what each religion teaches its followers about Suicide.
May God Bless the World with Love and Peace

Dr. Jack Shepard, founder of People for Peace

To contact Dr. Shepard with ideas or comments

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At 3:48 AM, Blogger nope said...


I'm sorry for being intrusive in to your blog. But I am Melissa and I am a mother of two that is just trying to get out of an incredible financial debt. See my hubby is away in Iraq trying to protect this great country that we live in, and I am at home with our two kids telling bill collectors please be patiant. When my husband returns from war we will beable to catch up on our payments. We have already had are 2001 Ford repossessed from the bank, and are now down to a 83 buick that is rusted from front to back and the heater don't work, and tire tax is due in November.

I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family

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At 6:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The point of public relations slogans like "Support Our Troops" is that they don't mean anything [...] that's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody is gonna be against and I suppose everybody will be for, sportsbook, because nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. But its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something, do you support our policy? And that's the one you're not allowed to talk about."


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