Monday, August 29, 2005

Supporting Our Troops

I know that parents and families who have loved ones in Iraq are fearful about their safety and their morale. I consider those troops as members of my extended national family and I too am concerned for their well-being. That is why I support the troops by wanting them out of that hellhole of war and want them to come home as soon as possible!

They have shown that they are willing to put their lives on the line in the service of their fellow citizens, and I am grateful for their willingness to do so. They are our heroes because of their genuine service to us and nothing can change or diminish that.

It is not their service I find lacking but the motives of the leadership that has used them in a conflict that has nothing to do with the defense of this nation. They have been betrayed by that leadership and are being pressed into service at the risk of life and limb for an ulterior agenda by leadership which seeks to take over and exploit Iraq for its resources and to establish a military presence in the middle east from which other mid-east countries can be threatened and attacked.

How do the leaders who tell us to support our troops support them? If one looks at the facts, we can see that they do not do everything possible to support our soldiers.

The US military has used Depleted Uranium weapons in Iraq. These weapons cause radiation poisoning, not only to the land of Iraq, but to our soldiers. Exposure to DU results in eventual organ failure, cancer and the birth of deformed babies from those afflicted. In the first Gulf War there were 148 casualties but since then 8,000 have died from the 'mysterious' Gulf War syndrome. The Pentagon refuses to admit to the role of Depleted Uranium poisoning in these deaths, but retired Major Doug Rokke, a military doctor has documented its effects. What ethical leadership would expose its own soldiers to this deadly hazard?

There is still a shortage of body armor and armor for humvees that would protect our soldiers from attacks. Needless deaths occur because the leadership has not insisted that those protections be available.

This leadership has reduced veteran care for those returning home wounded and suffering from emotional stress of war. Veterans who suffer illness or wounds not resulting from direct combat do not qualify for the same care or compensation as those wounded in action.

Our soldiers are trying to hold their own against an insurgency that comes primarily from those who are defending their homeland against an occupation. It is a losing battle. We are in their country and unless we kill most of the Iraqi people, the onslaught will continue. Eighty-five percent of the Iraqis want us to leave. If an occupying force were here in our homeland, we would fight as hard to be free of it.

The reasons for this war have evaporated one by one. There were no WMD'S. Saddam did allow the inspectors back in November of 2002. The UN did not give a resolution to the US for Military action and the inspectors said the inspections were proceeding well when Bush declared War in March 2003. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and there were no Al Qaeda connections. Terrorism (except that conducted by Saddam Hussein against his own people) did not exist in Iraq until we invaded. After 9/11, Iraq was not identified as a terrorist state by our own State department. Thanks to the US arming and support of Saddam in the 80's, he was able to defeat every internal attempt to overthrow him.

I can't believe Bush wants a democracy in Iraq since right now the building of fourteen, yes 14, US military bases continues. In the previous Iraqi Constitution, Iraq's wealth and resources were owned only by Iraqis with no outside ownership. They had state sponsored health care, electricity and water works as well as numerable businesses which employed thousands of Iraqis in dairy, agriculture and clothing mills. Oil was state owned. Bremmer void the constitution and all of Iraq's state owned properties were put up for sale to international buyers in the name of “a free market.” Iraq has become a money-maker for the corporations who have billion dollar contracts to “rebuild” it and who provide the weapons and machines of war. The Iraqis and our soldiers are the ones who are paying for these blood-stained profits.

Those of us here, safe at home, owe our soldiers our protection and care to insure that they are not used for anything other than to do the job they signed up for, to defend our nation.

I do support our troops, and because I do, I don't want their lives endangered in a military action that has nothing to do with national defense. I want them home safely to give their lives as living, healthy members of society who really do “get to be all they can be!”

Going to war on false pretences is a violation of the trust the people and military give to a Commander in Chief. Leadership that abuses this power should be held accountable in a court of law. History shows that leaders do not always have the well-being of their people at heart when they use military force on others. If those who question the judgment of our leadership are considered anti-American or unpatriotic, then can we infer that Germans and Italians who questioned their leadership in the 1930's and '40's were unpatriotic also?

Susan Dyer