To the brave men and women serving in our military:
I think I can speak for all Americans when I say that I have the utmost compassion and gratitude for you who have sacrificed so much, including your very own jobs, lives and health, to serve in our armed forces. You have taken the risks that most of us at home could not or would not take. You have endured the hardships that most of us at home couldn't possibly have sustained. And you have represented our country with pride, passion, dignity, and integrity.
Our country should owe you enormously for the service you've performed. But unfortunately our government has let you down in so many ways. We sent you into war's theatre without adequate equipment or leadership. And when you returned maimed and broken, we didn't take adequate care of you. Those of you who returned in caskets never received proper recognition. Instead you're a statistic - well into the 3000's now. As President Bush implements his "surge" strategy in Iraq, we know that you'll be staying in the theatre longer, and/or returning to battle sooner, and it pains us to see you endure even more hardship.
What bothers me the most is that our government sent you into harm's way under false pretenses. We know that now, with a multitude of evidence, that this invasion of Iraq was wrong in so many ways. It wasn't just wrong in how we did it, it was wrong that we did it in the first place, since the intelligence wasn't just faulty, it was fabricated. It wasn't just wrong that so many lives were lost, it was wrong in that so many people profited. It wasn't just wrong that America's standing in the world stage has diminished, it was wrong that turmoil, tensions, and violence in the Middle East have magnified because of it.
Today I write to you to give you a message from the vast majority of Americans who feel like I do. We want this senselessness to stop. We want you to come home, in one piece, and with all your pieces.
President Bush's mission in Iraq has been a disastrous failure from the inception, but it's not your fault. You have valiantly and gallantly performed your duties as ordered, but the mission was doomed from the start. You went into a country and successfully overthrew a government and military headed up by the minority party, and installed a democracy which by definition means that the new government is headed up by the majority party. A civil war was inevitable. There was no way you could stop it then, and there's no way you can stop it now. The Sunnis and Shiia have been battling for centuries, and Bush's ousting of Sadaam Hussein essentially tore down the barriers to their own conflict. As occupiers of this country, America's presence is only making this situation worse.
Your Commander-in-Chief treated you with disdain and contempt when he arrogantly misled you into thinking you were protecting America's national security. Instead, you were sent there to protect the interests and profits of our military-industrial-complex. We don't blame you for the failure of his mission. We blame George W. Bush and his neo-con cabal for contriving this imperial conquest in the first place. Please know that our anti-war efforts are directed at our President and his mission. They are not directed at you. We don't want you to be in harm's way over greed, arrogance, stupidity, or a personal vendetta.
And when you do return, we want to treat you with respect, dignity, and appreciation for your service. You should have your old jobs back or a reasonable alternative opportunity. You should have access to the finest health care just as our law-makers have. And you should be recognized as the heroes you are.
American Citizen (and blogger)