War Cheerleading From Yellow-Ribboned False Patriots
There have been other posts in the blogosphere today about the column written by the New York Times’ Bob Herbert, in which he comments on the declining support for Bush’s war in Iraq. Yes, I cite many times these same polls, and it enrages me every time I see one of those yellow “Support Our Troops” ribbon decals on the back of a gas-guzzling, 11-mpg SUV, more times than not with a “Bush/Cheney 2004” bumper sticker on it as well.
To me, there is nothing so immoral as someone who would claim a moral superiority over anyone while living a life that is built on the need for other folks' sons and daughters to die for your perceived right to cheap gas. There is nothing Christian about these people.
Herbert writes pointedly about how the people most loudly proclaiming their support for “staying the course” in Iraq are those who don’t have kids over there and never will send kids over there.
You can still find plenty of folks arguing that we have to stay the course, or even raise the stakes by sending more troops to the war zone. But from the very start of this war the loudest of the flag-waving hawks were those who were safely beyond military age themselves and were unwilling to send their own children off to fight.
It's easy to be macho when you have nothing at risk. The hawks want the war to be fought with other people's children, while their own children go safely off to college, or to the mall. The number of influential American officials who have children in uniform in Iraq is minuscule.
Last week's New York Times/CBS News Poll found that the mounting casualties and continuing turmoil in Iraq have made Americans increasingly pessimistic about the war. A majority said the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq and only 37 percent approved of the president's handling of the war.
What hasn't changed is the fact that the vast majority of the parents who support the war do not want their children to fight it. A woman in the affluent New York suburb of Ridgewood, N.J., who has a daughter in high school and a younger son, said: "I would not want my children to go. If there wasn't a war it would be different. I support the war and I think we need to be there. But it's not going well. It's becoming like Vietnam. It's a very bad situation. But we can't leave."
The Bush crowd may be bellicose, but for most Americans the biggest contribution to the war effort is a bumper sticker that says "support our troops," and maybe a belligerent call to a talk radio station.
The home-front "warriors" who find it so easy to give the thumbs up to war endanger the truly valorous men and women who are actually willing to put on a uniform, pick up a weapon and place their lives on the line.
The president and these home-front warriors got us into this war and now they don't know how to get us out. Nor do they have a satisfactory answer to the important ethical question: how do you justify sending other people's children off to fight while keeping a cloak of protection around your own kids?
Amen. With our all-volunteer military, many of these same materialistic faux-Christians who drive their yellow-ribboned SUVs with their Bush/Cheney bumper stickers will forever be detached from the consequences of their lifestyle. Yet these are the same people who will claim to be more patriotic, more moral, and to have a Christian superiority to those of us who oppose this president and this war. Have Bill Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, or any of the guys at Fox News, or the Wall Street Journal editorial board sent their kids off to Iraq? Trust me, these folks’ empty cheerleading dishonors the real sacrifices made in this war, and Jesus would recognize none of these people.
Families are being destroyed in this country by this war, a war built upon lies and petty revenge, and which had little to do with our national security. As Bush digs in and tries to paint a rosy scenario about his Vietnam, more and more lives will be claimed needlessly, while SUV drivers and the GOP’s Fighting Keyboarders in the blogosphere and the chattering class prattle on about patriotism and supporting the troops.