An organizer of yesterday’s “support our troops” rally at the State Capitol expressed frustration at the pro-war stance of many who attended. It’s frustrating, yes, but not surprising. I haven’t come across many who make the distinction.
It doesn’t help that “support” is so nebulous. Have you given much thought to what it means? I haven’t. Do I wish for our soldiers to come home safely? Yes. In fact, I wish they’d come home now. Am I saddened when I hear of soldiers dying in this war? Yes, deeply. Will I spurn those who return, angry at their participation? No, of course not. Does this mean that I support the troops? You tell me. Am I aware of and grateful for the sacrifices they’ve made in the defense of this country? Yes. Do I think this war in Iraq is in defense of this country? No. Do I oppose the war? Wholeheartedly. Does this mean that I don’t support the troops? You tell me.
I’m not going to write a whole lot about the war. It angers me too much for me to be rational about it, and there’s nothing that I would say that hasn’t already been said hundreds of times elsewhere. For now, let it stand that I oppose the war. I do not accept the Bush Administration’s rationale, and I fear the path that they are taking this country and the world.
I do not say that lightly: I fear this path.
If you don’t understand why, I suggest that you read Fareed Zakaria’s excellent essay, “The Arrogant Empire.” While you’re at it, Gary Kamiya’s elegant “Sleepwalking toward Baghdad is well worth your time, as are the remarks by US Senator Robert C. Byrd: “The Arrogance of Power.”
Oh, one more thing. If you didn’t read the whole article about the rally at the Capitol, you missed the closing paragraphs:
The only speaker who received a hostile reception was N. Ruby Zigrino, a Muslim from Minneapolis. She was initially cheered when she said she supports “ousting a tyrant regime.”
But she then read passages from the Qur’an, suggested that a new Marshall Plan will be needed in Iraq, and said administration officials should study foreign-policy failures to avoid repeating them.
Her listeners responded with boos and shouts of “Screw Muslims!” “Screw the Qur’an!” and “Go home!”
Reading this makes me physically ill.