Friday, May 18, 2007

Supporting the troops while opposing the war

I have written in the past about how it is possible to support the military and the members of the military but not support the war. I suspect that some people think I'm off my rocker and that to oppose the war is to automatically oppose the members of the military. I've noted that members of the military are nothing more than instruments of national power used by politicians to attain political goals.

Jay Lindsay writes for the Associated Press about a Boston University professor, Andrew Bacevich, who agrees with my line of thinking. Mr. Lindsay wrote,

Bacevich, a conservative, viewed the war as a delusional overreach by political and military leaders who overestimated the power of the American military to transform the Middle East.

"There are no easy answers, but one at least ought to acknowledge that in launching a war advertised as a high-minded expression of U.S. idealism, we have waded into a swamp of moral ambiguity," he wrote in the Washington Post in July 2006.

Bacevich advocated withdrawal from Iraq, writing in The Boston Globe in March that the war had made the world more dangerous for the United States.

"Our folly has alienated friends and emboldened enemies" he wrote.
Wow. In 2003, Dr. Bacevich wrote the war would "test the nation in ways that would 'make the Vietnam War look like a mere blip in American history.'"

Mr. Lindsay also quotes a colleague of Dr. Bacevich's, Erik Goldstein who is the chairman of the international relations department at BU, as saying Dr. Bacevich, a West Point graduate and retired lieutenant colonel, has "the highest regard for people who wear the uniform." Dr. Goldstein is also quoted as saying, "The appreciation for what the military does is differentiated from his opposition to the conduct of this particular war."

Dr. Bacevich's son, Andy Bacevich Jr., a First Lieutenant serving with the First Cavalry, died this past Sunday in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat patrol operations in Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq.

It is indeed, dear readers, possible to support the troops, to even have a member of your family give the ultimate sacrifice and still support the men and women in uniform, and oppose the war.

We live in an ambiguous world. We live in ambiguous times.

And, that is why, over at the Daily Kos, LarryInNYC wrote this past Monday,
the image of the Bush twins partying in Paraguay or at Fashion Week here in New York while Professor Basevich is burying his son and namesake seems to me unspeakably unjust.
Who supported the American military men and women more, Dr. Basevich or President Bush? Who truly sacrificed while embracing the ambiguity that is our life today?

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