Saturday, March 04, 2006

Regarding our troops and their use

I am usually troubled in several ways when I read things like this. There is the empathy for the situations those fighting men and women have to deal with and also unease at the reasoning or method behind what they are instructed to do or sometimes do of their own will.
It comes down to the fact that as uniform as the military may be, there are still personal touches based on the men and women on the ground and making decisions. I understand where some intentions are, whether they be to free people or simply to get the job done for the ticket home. The problem is that the main polarized sides of the argument are just that, polarized. I don't think most Americans disrespect the troops (although they aren't fully appreciated either), I also don't think that our *stated* Mid-East policies are necessarily as beneficial to the people in all those foreign countries as one might be led to believe. It isn't necessarily that intentions are wrong but when it comes down to it, it is their country, not ours. Right or wrong, they need to come to realizations themselves or else the same effect with teenagers and their parents will occur (and it is it seems).
I believe that those who are blowing themselves and other up are wrong in doing so but I can see how desperation and suspicion coupled with religious fervor and other socio-economic factors could drive people into such actions. It is something that should be able to be curbed. My fear is that too much emphasis has been put on military presence and that this is detrimental to the stated goal of winning hearts and minds. The flip side of this of course is the issue of trust between our nation and those abroad. The point has been made that there was a serious breach at the end of the 90's Gulf War when many were led to believe there would be an uprising against Saddam Hussein. When the US decided to pull back, those who had joined the bandwagon to overthrow the dictator where consequentially targeted and suffered for it.
Of course there are reasons we were also suspicious and reasons we had to be concerned about the goings on of the Mid-East world. There are many that feel strongly about the western world and both its produce and policies. My concern is about who is going to keep the cycle of violence from continuing and how to get it to stop. I don't think the world is a worse place because there are self-sacrificing soldiers, I think it is a worse place because there are unfortunately some that aren't. It wouldn't be unreasonable to say that part of the blame for that is leadership misunderstands or underestimates the implications of actions they consider reasonable and puts troops in places that they perhaps are not the most effective in. That is in no way meant to disrespect the troops or leadership, there are complications and considerations that if all factored in and attempted to be catered to would simply not be possible. I would simply state and ask for further re-assessment of goals and methods, honestly looking at everyone's best interest. When it comes down to it, we're all just people, and we all have the same palette of basic human emotion and need. There are people around the world that endure hardship, throughout generations, regular people have fought and suffered to help bring both our own and other's freedoms and standards of living to great heights. We should be very grateful to those that serve and repay them with being careful in their use, caring for their needs, and honoring those who are brave enough to face situations daily where their lives are literally on the line. At the same time, we should be cautious, humble, and respectful of those that our country interacts with.

This post came from a response to the following bulletin:
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SUPPORT THE TROOPS!!!

Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.
He stays up for days on end.
__________________________
You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.
__________________________
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.
He gets shot at, as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.
__________________________
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.
__________________________
You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.
__________________________
You talk trash on your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
__________________________
You don't feel like helping out your dad today, so you don't.
He does what he is told.
__________________________
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
__________________________
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
__________________________
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He does not get to eat today.
__________________________
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for months, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
__________________________
You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
__________________________
You are angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He is told he will be held an extra 2 months.
He does as he is told.
__________________________
You call your girlfriend and set a date for that night.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
__________________________
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.
__________________________
You ditch class to go to a movie.
He goes where he is told.
__________________________
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
__________________________
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own government and remembers why he is fighting.
__________________________
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of the men like him.
He hears the gun fire and bombs.
__________________________
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the bodies lying around him.
__________________________
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does what he is told.
__________________________
You stay at home and watch tv.
He takes whatever time he is given to call and write home, sleep, and eat.
__________________________
You crawl into your bed, with down pillows, and try to get comfortable.
He crawls under a tank for shade and a 5 minute nap, only to be woken by gun fire.
__________________________
You sit there and judge him, saying the world is a worse place because of men like him.
If only there were more men like him
Please repost if you appreciate those who fight for your freedom

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1 comment:

Sarah Jo said...

Hey Eric!
how are you doing these days.
I would probably agree (maybe ;-) with your post but it's just too long for me to read!

I hope life for you is going okay, there's not much on this site to tell if it is or not - that's okay, just know that I was thinking of you my friend.

-never settle-