Monday, May 01, 2006

Ranting, Ranting, & More Ranting

So much to kvetch about, so little time.

Let's narrow it down to the protest in Manhattan on Saturday against the war. Ok, it's everyone's right to protest, but IT DOESN"T DO ANYTHING EXCEPT PUT OUR SOLDIERS' LIVES IN DANGER.

Now, whoever's left after thinking to themselves "Oh God, he's one of THOSE right wing nuts," please read on and you might understand.

Yes, everyone wants peace- especially the soldiers who are over in Iraq. Many of the protestors have family in the military, or are the family of the wounded or killed, and I am sure that their intentions are to bring our troops home safely. But do you really think that President Bush & Co. are going to say "Oh no, another protest- let's pull out now!" All that is going to happen is these marches are going to show up on Aljazeera. Chalk another one up for the terrorist propaganda machine, provided for free by the citizens of the United States.

"Good, good that the people of Iraq see that we're not all war-like-"

No, BAD that they see that the U.S. is not behind its troops. (Ok, if you haven't clicked that little x in the upper right hand corner, I'm proud of you. Keep reading.) This whole mess started back in the 80s, when the Regan administration supported Saddam Hussein against Iran in the chess game of the Cold War. When Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, President Bush (Sr.) sent our troops over to stop him. While the right thing to do, this sent the unfortunate message through the Middle East: "Don't trust the U.S. They'll be your friends one minute, then attack you the next."

But Saddam was clearly in the wrong, and many Middle Easterners (and Americans) believed that we would invade Iraq and take Saddam out of power. Many cheered us. When we pulled out after Saddam left Kuwait, those who cheered were the first to be executed. Again, the message was reinforced: Don't trust the U.S.!

This attitude of mistrust- which is our own fault- is the true enemy we're facing in Iraq. Many countries in the Middle East and citizens of Iraq are afraid to help us, because they don't trust us. They don't trust us to stay and finish the job. And they know that if we leave before the nation is stabilized, then all those who stood up to be free, all those who helped to rebuild their country, those who proudly held their purple stained thumbs up because they were able to vote for the first time, will be put to the sword. Much of the terrorist action in Iraq is NOT aimed at our troops- it's aimed at the Iraqi's who help us- those who join the police, those who are trying to rebuild the country, those who want to have a better life. This is because the terrorists know that the only way we can ever stabilize Iraq is to have the Iraqis stand up on their own, to build, govern and protect their own country.

"But the War is just for oil/ it was started for false pretenses/ My children will be paying their taxes to Haliburton for years to come/ The Bush administration is evil!..."


Many of these things are debatable. (Keep in mind the U.N. NEVER doubted that Saddam had weapon of mass destruction- the question was whether to do anything about it or to sit back and let France make Francs off the Oil for Food Program while the Iraqi citizens suffered, but I digress.) I personally feel that the Bush administration has made so many blunders at home and abroad- especially in the execution of this war- that he should be impeached for pure incompetence. HOWEVER this doesn't change the fact that if we pull out of Iraq before the nation is stabilized it will descend into terrorism and chaos- and I mean worse than it is now.

But again, all that is beside the point. The question remains: "Will marches of protest bring our troops home, or just put their lives in danger by demoralizing them and providing propaganda for the enemy?" That's what it boils down to, folks. You want the troops home- we all do, especially those of us with families over there. However, all the protesting in the world is not going to make it happen. Sorry. If you want to change the world, then instead of giving up a Saturday to pretend you're back in the 60s, go volunteer at an old age home, become a teacher, a police officer, a first responder, or do meals on wheels, or SOMETHING. Just don't put our soldiers' lives on the line while doing it.



kat@ohmtastic said...

hi Tony,

i'm glad you bring up this perspective, it's an important one to consider. i think most of us citizens do want to support the troops, whether that means for us supporting the war or demanding they come home. we don't always think how our actions are perceived overseas.

Tony LaRocca said...

Thanks, Kate. Just to clarify, I don't think of protestors as traitors, evil, or anything like that- though I wonder sometimes if the protests are aimed more at Bush than at the war itself. I just think that a) it just hurts more than it helps, and b) if you want to make the world better, do something that matters.