"Now the president has decided that in order to honor those who died for nothing, more must die for nothing.
" ...Charlie Anderson
by Charlie Anderson <email@example.com>
February 6, 2006
Published on Monday, February 6, 2006 by CommonDreams.org
I’ve seen you around. I’ve seen you driving your gas guzzling SUV with the “Support Our Troops” ribbon on the back. I’ve seen you wearing your pro-war/pro-bush t-shirts as you walk right past me in my Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirt as if I don’t exist. And I’ve seen you at anti-war rallies and meetings where I often speak, as you wave your American flag and call me a traitor. In this country we have freedom of speech. But you owe me and every other veteran of this war the respect of listening to our experience.
Your magnet says “support our troops,” but what have you done for us? Not a penny of the proceeds go to us, instead they go to sweatshops in China. You say that I am not supporting the troops when I say that they should come home. But I am, because I know that there was no threat to our nation from Saddam Hussein, I know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and I know that we were not welcomed in Iraq as liberators. I know that the Iraq war was not worth fighting. I know, because I fought there. You say I’m confused. But what do you know about Iraq? You’ve never been there.
You have the audacity to claim that by not supporting the president, I don’t support the troops. Yet, the president chose to send over 160,000 of us to Iraq unprepared and without a defined mission. We had no body armor, no vehicle armor, and poor supplies of ammunition. Our families spent thousands of dollars that they did not have to supply us, while President Bush did nothing. In fact he didn’t even scold his Offensive Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, when he told our forward deployed troops, “you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.” Moreover, the mission was originally about weapons of mass destruction, but there were none. Then it was making Iraq a democracy, but yet the “insurgency” worsens. Now the president has decided that in order to honor those who died for nothing, more must die for nothing.
At present, 2,241 of my brothers and sisters in arms have died. In some way, they may be the lucky ones. Over sixteen thousand others have been wounded in this war, thousands more than planned. The term wounded sounds sterile, bland, and inoffensive. But, in reality, many of them have been so horribly damaged that medical science had to create a new word to describe their wounds: polytrauma. These people would have died in earlier wars, but because of the gallant efforts of brave doctors and medics, they get to live. They get to live with teams of ten or more doctors just trying to get their broken, mangled bodies through another day, as their families look on in horror. They get to live in a physical and emotional hell, not able to recover and not able to voice the pain they feel or the psychological demons they face. All the while suffering with a Veterans Administration under funded by nearly three billion dollars and unable to care for them in the manner they deserve.
So which one of us supports the troops? You, who has never set foot in Iraq and wants to leave my brothers and sisters there until they complete whatever the undefined mission of the week is, or me, the veteran of this war who has seen the carnage of battle, the rampant indifference of my countrymen, and just wants to bring my brothers and sisters home alive and care for them when they get here?
Keep coming to the rallies. Maybe I’ll get through your thick skull eventually. But remember I waved my flag in Baghdad, so you can sit down, shut up, and listen to me.
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