War is the failure to achieve peace. Preserving peace is the job of the politician, war is their failure. The warrior is needed when the politician has failed. The politician’s job is not to send men to war but to prevent the need for their sacrifices. No politician should be lauded for sending men to war, rather he should have to pay the price as much as anyone else. But they never do, at least not if the war is won.
I support soldiers, but not by supporting war, anymore than I would be supporting fire fighters by supporting arson. Arsonists should be sent to jail.
I support those in the medical field as well, but shouldn’t we do everything we can to avoid injury and illness? If we want to help doctors and nurses, if we want to improve the overall health of society, shouldn’t we be stressing prevention above all else? If a car crash happens and medical personnel race to the scene to aide those who are wounded, are we to be accused of not supporting them if we were to call for rerouting traffic away from the site of the crash in order to avoid further damage?
It is the soldiers and their families who alone pay the price for war. It used to be that when the country went to war the homefront was expected to make sacrifices. In Word War One people were encouraged to grow victory gardens. During World War Two there were rubber drives, paper drives and scrap drives. Women did without silk stockings so that silk could be used in the production of parachutes for the troops. Food was rationed, gas was rationed, everybody knew it was their duty to do their part.
I remember our President’s speech after the events of September 11, 2001. The one thing that sticks in my mind was his call for us to go about our daily business, “to go shopping”. Consuming and behaving like shoppers, that now seems to be who we are as Americans. Maybe it seems normal now but I guarantee you it would have seemed plain wrong to my father or my grandfather, both soldiers in the two great wars.
I remember also in the days after the war in Iraq began, the sudden appearance of bumper stickers on SUVs that proudly proclaimed We Support Our Troops. No, you don’t, you support war. Not the same thing. You support war for oil. You support converting the blood of our soldiers, not to mention the blood of others in nations you will never visit, into fuel for your oversized vehicle. You might not want to hear it, so you’ll probably try to shout the idea out of your head and become outraged until I silence myself. But it’s true. We didn’t go to Iraq to help the Iraqis, we didn’t go there to make the region a safer place, and we sure didn’t go to war for the sake of the troops, who had to leave their lives and families behind.
So I’m going to say it, even if it makes me unpopular, even if I have to pay a price for it. Because I think if our country is sending its troops into battle we should all have to pay a price for it. We can’t continue to go putting the price of war on our credit card, increasing the national debt because we don't want to really know the costs of war. Support the troops. Demand that your politicians do their job by finding better solutions than war. Support peace. And if such concepts are too foreign to you, at least do your part in the war effort. Because once you start to be inconvenienced by war, maybe it won't look like such a convenient option.