"Support our troops. Bring them home"

Readers respond to "Why Is My Country Turning Against Me?" by Stephanie Booth.

Published April 2, 2003 9:18PM (EST)

[Read the story.]

I am the wife of an Army officer and I oppose the war. My husband, who is due to leave within two weeks, feels the same way. He also understands that part of what he signed up to defend is the right for people to protest.

I suggest that the soldier in the article take a closer look at the protests going on here in America. The majority of them are opposing the war, not the people fighting it. There is a difference.

I have talked to a number of soldiers my husband works with and people here in our military community. The majority of them see this difference and question the war themselves. They also understand that this is their job and will do what they have to do. Even if we have opposing opinions about Iraq, we all agree that we will be much more involved in the next presidential election.

-- Julie Rutgers

I am a veteran, USAF 1974-78, and I understand the commitment made when you become a member of our armed forces. I have a step-brother in the Air Force serving in Iraq. Last summer a family friends oldest son got married and I was at the wedding. He wore his Marine Corps dress blue uniform for the occasion. This fine young man is also in Iraq now.

I support our troops wholeheartedly. I have been one of the troops myself, and right now I have family and friends there.

I know that certain events leave a free people no other option than to wage war.

I believe Saddam is a monster and the world will be a better place when he is gone. However, I honestly believe that in the case of our current war in Iraq, we had other options available. I do not believe what we are doing in Iraq now will make us safer from terrorism. Instead it will make us less safe. I distrust President Bushs motives for taking us into this war.

If he really thinks this will make us safer, I disagree. Because I love my country and support our troops, I believe that to remain silent about this ill-advised war would be disloyal to my friends and family putting their lives on the line for us in Iraq. The most sincere support the American people could demonstrate for our troops would be to make it obvious we are going to send George W. Bush back to Texas in the upcoming 2004 election.

-- Wes Owens

I have about had it up to here with this military attitude of "We're fighting for your right to protest, so you should shut up and appreciate it."

This is not a game where you root for your teams with unconditional and unwavering support and cheering, waving flags and yellow ribbons, and woo-wooing like Daffy Duck. This is war, dammit, and those who protest the war do so out of a respect for human life, especially the human life of the troops in harm's way, the very troops who say we don't value their contributions or their sacrifices.

I submit that military people who are unglued by demonstrators are unqualified emotionally and intellectually to serve our country, for dissent is the embodiment of the "freedom" they are fighting for.

If the troops and their red-blooded supporters love this country so much, they should be fighting for the entire spectrum of opinions and the freedom we have to express them -- not a cartoon version of "freedom" that's a mockery of the real thing.

Of course it's hard to respect people who insist on proclaiming ideas that shake one's convictions to the core, but we citizens are constantly told that soldiers are equal to the most difficult of challenges. Let that be true.

-- Jeff Potter

Those of us who oppose this war must find a way to communicate to those serving, and to their families, that we absolutely support them. The key to our survival as a people with a shared vision of democracy depends on our coming together to defend the core values of that democracy. This is the quiet (and safe) battle that we who oppose the war wage here at home while the young men and women in our armed services prepare to give up their lives for what we believe is an unjust war, instigated for political and corporate gain.

The many protests to this war are not protests against our military and are not about questioning the sacrifice or commitment of those who would defend our country, our values and our people. The great majority of those who oppose the war do so on the basis that our government has been irresponsible and capricious in sending troops to fight a war when international cooperation and diplomacy were working to effect a slow but steady solution to the complicated problems in Iraq.

What we oppose is the arrogant Bush administration, few of which have served in active combat duty, that would sacrifice these precious men and women for what is, in our opinion, an empty ideology that does not represent the true democratic principles on which our country was founded.

The Bush administration is simply not worthy of true patriots like Sgt. Heather Marie Wright.

-- Angel McCormack

We are hearing a lot these days about how the protests can have a bad effect on the morale of the troops fighting in Iraq. These troops need to remember something. In a democracy the people do not serve the military; the military serves the people. Furthermore, each member of the military swears an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this republic, the entire Constitution, in wartime as well as in peacetime. This includes defending the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and assembly.

This is not a military state, like Sparta. We are supposed to be living in a democracy. If there are people in the military who do not like these peace demonstrations, then they need to read the Constitution and remember their oath. If they cannot abide by the Constitution, then they should get out of the military. When the military can get away with setting the parameters of thought and discourse in this society, we can say that we are on a slippery slope that leads to fascism and that the tail is wagging the dog.

-- Jeffrey P. Johnson

I'm glad you ran both these articles on the same day. So many people think war protesters are against the troops. But it's just not true. Many of us protesting the war the loudest have family members in the service. Our soldiers want to make the world safer for Americans, and we can all be proud of that. But if this war is actually increasing the threat of terrorism, how can we let them risk their lives?

Patriotism means doing what is best for America. Support our troops by writing to them, send them CARE packages, give blood, and save oil. Support our troops by pressuring our government to use diplomacy, the U.N., and our allegiances with Middle Eastern countries, instead of war, to prevent future terrorism.

Support our troops by bringing them home as safely and quickly as possible

-- Mrs. T.B. Davis

By Salon Staff

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