What It Means To Support Our Troops

Dr Drew Westen on How Democrats should frame their Positions

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Weeks ago, as I stood my post in support of peace, our soldiers, and all civilians worldwide, a young fellow stopped and asked me how could I do as I did.  The fellow declared my actions treasonous, disrespectful of the troops.  I replied.  I have family who served, and one about to enter the fray.  The man, visibly irritated, yelled as he pointed to other protesters. “What about them?” he said.   I began to explain how one of the women has a son stationed in Iraq, another . . . my voice trailed off as he waved in disgust.  Then, the inquisitive chap left.

It seems that many who advocate global harmony know not what to say when they are told to protest against the war is to dishonor those that serve our country.  Peace people could explain as Drew Westen, Psychology Professor, at Emery University has.  Doctor Westen offers, when George W. Bush declares we must continue to fight, and fund a futile battle built on false assumptions, Americans who care must respond . . .

Mr. President, do you want to know what it means to support our troops?

1. Don’t make the families take up a collection for their body armor.

2. Armor their Humvees so they don’t lose their lives or their limbs when they don’t need to.

3. Don’t send them into someone else’s civil war.

4. Don’t send them to war unless you would send your own children.

5. When they come home damaged  . . .when they come home with their bodies frayed from that war, don’t you dare warehouse them with cockroaches in Walter Reed Hospital.

6. When they come back to the shores that they will never see again after having given their life for this country, don’t wisk their bodies in the middle of the night because it’s good PR for people not to see their bodies. You proudly display their flag-draped coffins like every American president has done in American history before you.

7. Don’t you ever, ever write a letter to their parents, to their spouses, to their children — when they lost their lives for this country — with a mechanical pen. You write it your own hand so you feel what it means when they lost their lives for this country.

Do you really want to know what it feels like to support our troops?

Bring them home.

~ Drew Westen, Professor, Emory University, November 7, 2007

I thank you for the thought, for the guidance, for the wisdom you share, Professor Westen.  I hope all Americans will embrace the essence of your words.  It is time we truly show our support for soldiers, for the principles we hold dear.  Stop the killing. End the madness.  Exit Iraq; not possibly in the next five years, if then, but now.

Iraq Veterans Memorial Remembers Four Years of Death; May We

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

On this the anniversary of the first bombing of Iraq, let us take time to reflect, to remember, and to recognize the senselessness of this continued war effort.  The Iraq Veterans Memorial endeavors to help us.  It asks us to consider that we do not honor our soldiers when we allow them to be slain, severely maimed, or when we place them in highly stressful situations.  This organization gives life to the fallen.  Sagas are shared in a meaningful manner.

I offer an opportunity to be one with our servicemen, women, their families, and friends.  You might wish to take time to watch this presentation, titled Iraq Veterans Memorial.  Please listen to the tales.  Behold the tears; see the sorrow; allow yourself to feel.  Know to your core, our soldiers are more than mere statistics. 

They are human beings with families, friends, and familiars.  The troops are as civilians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Americans, and allies.  They hurt; they bleed.  They cry and many become bitter when engaged in battle.  Sadly and frequently, some take their lives when the pain is too great.  They want no one to feel their angst.

You may recall, the first bombs blasted on March 19, 2003 or March 20 depending on where you were living.  It was on this date that dying began en mass.  America was committed to a cause that never was valid; destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction before they obliterate us [the United States of America.]

Now citizens of the USA fear fleeing this Iraqi folly.  They worry that if we admit to defeat, if we abandon all hope, if we leave, we will not be venerating our soldiers.  However, perhaps we never were. 

Reveries of the ill equipped Walter Reed hospital race through my mind.  Poorly armored Humvees did not protect bodies that were inadequately clothed.  The tales of neglect are multiplying.  Our Defense Department never acted in support of our servicemen and women.  Yet, we muse that staying in this war of woes serves any of us well.

Today, let us consider spending less money in defense of a pretense.  This endeavor is not wise.  Might we avow that we cannot “Support the troops,” while leading them to slaughter.  Could we, would we, make more time for truly honoring our soldiers in life?  Perchance, we could show our authentic love and respect by helping to save our servicemen and women from fates such as death.  If we end this serious silliness, we would no longer murder the innocent Afghanis and Iraqis.  Life would bloom rather than wither away quickly.  For every America soldier that perishes, approximately one hundred Persian Gulf citizens live no more.  Imagine the correlation when we consider the injured.

The psychic and emotional traumas are too numerous and well hidden.  We cannot begin to count these.

If we are able to prevent permanently debilitating injuries, or a distress so deep that there is no recovery, would we not wish to do so.  Might we consider that if we genuinely wish to demonstrate our appreciation, admiration, and reverence we would not place our young men and women in harms way. 

When there is a physical passing, we all well up.  In the last four plus years, pain is plentiful!  Lives are lost daily, in an instant.  Limbs are shattered; souls are too.

I am reminiscent of this in my own life.  This weekend I attended a funeral.  Friends and family gathered to honor one man, a father, a friend, a husband, a son, a sibling, and a saint in a human body.  The gentle giant that left this Earth did not lose his life while serving his country.  He was not an innocent Iraqi civilian or child caught in the crossfire.  Phillip was you; he was I.  He was every living, and breathing being.  Phillip touched so many lives. 

Those affected by Phillip filled a church.  Later the throng stood at his gravesite, and cried.  After, we met and told stories of Phillip.  We recalled the joy his physical presence brought us.  Phillip was one person; yet, he could and did fill the hearts and minds of many.  Each of us does.

This war was years in the making.  America has executed this battle for what feels like eons.  There is no end in sight.  The futility flourishes.  The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have devastated many a person.  Thousand are buried.  More than we might imagine are affected for life.  Limbs are lost.  The ability to see is severed.  Those that fight and fought for the fantasies of a few may lose their lives and their minds; however, the memory of their vibrancy lingers.

On this date, the anniversary of our attack on Iraq, may we hold our heads high and speak in support of the troops.  Please bring our boys and girls home.  I invite you to speak to your Congressman or woman; tell your Senators.  We want the funds for this futile battle cut.  Let us exit Iraq and enter a world where peace and negotiations are ongoing.

Looking at love, life, loss, and the Iraq war . . .

  • The Iraq Veterans Memorial
  • Iraq Coalition Casualties Count.
  • As Iraq Casualties Mount, So Do the Stories We Must Tell, By Tara Lohan.  AlterNet.  March 19, 2007
  • Swift Action Promised at Walter Reed, Investigations Urged as Army Moves to Make Repairs, Improve Staffing.  By Dana Priest and Anne Hull. Washington Post. Wednesday, February 21, 2007; Page A08
  • pdf Swift Action Promised at Walter Reed, Investigations Urged as Army Moves to Make Repairs, Improve Staffing.  By Dana Priest and Anne Hull. Washington Post. Wednesday, February 21, 2007; Page A08
  • Frantically, the Army tries to armor Humvees. Soft-skinned workhorses turning into death traps. By Michael Moran. MSNBC News. April 15, 2004
  • Soldiers in Iraq still buying their own body armor. The Associated Press. March 26, 2004