The Policy Is Not The Soldier

Greetings All,

I am going to follow yesterday’s piece with one I wrote some time back. Back before the election in 2004 to be semi-exact.

I wrote the following op-ed, published in my local and very conservative newspaper, in response to a spirited conversation with a co-worker who was not at all inclined to consider my point that questioning the Administration on their dubious policies in no way disrespects the soldier they send to do their bidding.

Soldiers are diverse and unique human beings and just like the rest of us, they do the best they can in the context of their situation and understanding. This is made all the more difficult by having agreed to a contract that effectively turns their bodies and minds into the literal property of the Government for an agreed upon length of time. This concept is one not easily grasped by those who have not experienced it. It is the reality of life for a soldier. It is the one job you just cannot quit...without leaving a scar on your life forever.

There is no escaping the truth, that to not follow orders when orders are given (in a military setting) is a matter of honor when you are a soldier, even when that commitment demands you to do something you personally do not believe is honorable. The situation this places a soldier in is not an enviable one.

Those of us not so encumbered must never fail to make every effort to impress upon the powers that be who control the lives of each and every one of these equally precious Souls that "we the people" demand they be employed with honor, integrity and honesty. We cannot allow these wolves wrapped in the flag to hide behind the Airman, the Private, and the Corporal or even the General while they lie to us, squander our reputation, and transfer our wealth.

That was not the deal.

The soldier made a commitment to defend the constitution and obey the Commander in Chief.

We make our commitment to the soldiers to never let that power abuse them.

All of us owe this to them for what they give up for us.

Fuck the ribbons.

That is how we should be supporting the troops.

The Policy is not the Soldier
R. Kim Gongre

The Republican Party would have you believe that their policy is the soldier. They would prefer that no one make the distinction between their personal agenda and the soldier who dies in Iraq. As Mr. Bush’s comments in the first presidential debate so clearly stated: that would simply send the wrong message, “mixed messages” to our troops. How indeed could they follow a leader of questionable intent, morals and leadership? How indeed?

Their story is that this is all about freedom, bringing democracy to the Middle East and fighting terrorists wherever they may be. Those of us who don’t happen to believe that story are considered by many as being un-patriotic and non-supportive of our sons and daughters fighting and dying in Mr. Bush’s war. Every person that I have talked to that cannot allow my right to that opinion has cited the same sentiment, that it disrespects the soldier. No, the soldier and the policy are not the same thing. As a Gulf War veteran myself I respect those who have chosen to protect our country. I do not respect a commander in chief that would spill their blood for profit and power.

This president seriously underestimated the consequences of his actions; he will not admit his error in judgment and he is hoping that Americans will not be able to separate his failed policy and premature actions from the brave men and women he put in harms way. The spin is relentless in keeping the idea going that one cannot disagree with poor decision making without disrespecting the troops and sadly, it seems to be working. I imagine Mr. Bush and his cronies having a good laugh at just how much of their spin the American people are willing swallow. And after numbing us out with the unprecedented fear this administration generated, the religious right was waiting to take us all in and show us the error of our ways and “their” path to salvation. The path of writing discrimination into the constitution, the path of altering the original idea of separating church and state, the path of intolerance, and judgment.

The right to disagree, the right to ones own beliefs and the right to speak out belong to us all. Mr. Bush and his ilk also have the right to express those same principles but they do not have the right to use fear tactics and legislation for their own purposes. It is our duty as Americans to make sure that never happens. The day that it ever does none of us will be free any longer not even the right wing, moral majority, Christian coalition, NRA Republican.

And here we are.

3000 and counting.

Peace y'all


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