Coming soon to my local paper:
Lately there has been a healthy debate on our editorial page about the legitimacy of the anti-war effort brought to the headlines by Cindy Sheehan. Those of us who have supported her have been called bin Laden sympathizers, traitors, even (gasp!) Jane Fonda. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that those who favor war as a means to solve problems should declare verbal war against us peace-lovers.
To which my response is, bring it on. If it makes you feel better to call us names, here's my other cheek. But there is one line of reasoning that raises my hackles: to say that anti-war folks are demoralizing to the troops and offering aid and comfort to our enemies.
The rest is below the fold. I'm just looking for a little feedback before I turn it in tomorrow. Have at it!
Isn't it possible that our enemy has been aided and comforted far less by the peace movement than by the incompetent civilian leadership of this debacle? If this war was unavoidable, couldn't we at least have acted like a superpower and caught the bad guy? What could be more demoralizing to a soldier than to look across one of Baghdad's dusty streets and see a civilian contractor doing the same job for three times his pay grade? Especially if that soldier is a National Guardsman whose wife is back home working three jobs just to keep the house while he's gone. I find it hard to believe that my participation in a candlelight vigil is more demoralizing to the troops than being sent to Iraq in insufficient numbers with inferior equipment. How about finding out that the reason you marched down to the recruiter's office whistling God Bless America was a lie?
Make no mistake: it's not the whistleblowers who expose the lies that are demoralizing to the troops. It's the liars.
I'll tell you why there is now an active peace movement in this country. Contrary to what the right-wing media will tell you, it's not because of Cindy Sheehan. Or Michael Moore or Moveon.org. It's because of George W. Bush and his fellow starry-eyed dreamers in the White House and the Pentagon. The best way to shut down the peace movement would be to win the war(s). But this administration has shown itself completely incapable of doing so. If Bush were as politically savvy as we all have been led to believe, he would simply declare victory and bring the troops home. We went over there to find WMD. There were none. Great. Come home. But, wait. As long as we're in the neighborhood, let's take out Saddam. Done. Come home. The military has done everything Bush has asked of them, and more.
But now there's a power vacuum and impending civil war, so we need to rebuild the country and establish a democratic government. As we used to say to my eighth grade algebra teacher when she assigned homework, "Let's not and say we did," I mean it. Mission Accomplished, part deux. But this time, after the flight suit stunt, follow through by bringing the troops home.
Honestly, do you pro-war people really think this has been well executed? Sure, wars are messy, but we haven't even secured the road to the Baghdad Airport! This is not--I repeat, NOT--our service members' fault. If the buck ever stopped in this administration, we'd see that the fault lies at the top.
Those who criticize the anti-war movement like to compare us to the war protestors of the Vietnam era. As someone who was in second grade when the last troops left Saigon, let me say with confidence: We are not the same movement. Even though some in our ranks were protesting back then, I'd like to think we--and they--have learned from their mistakes. We are not calling soldiers baby-killers. No, we are calling Bush and his cronies soldier-killers.