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War! Good God, Y'all!

In the days to build up to Desert Storm, I realized I had a decision to make.  Would I support the war, or would I oppose it?  The simple answer was, we had the right to act in our own interest.  The hesitation, however, came from the notion of what war entails.  There is no such thing as a "clean war".  Civilians were going to get killed.  American soldiers risking their lives for our freedom were going to be treated like shit when they got home, either from people who opposed the war effort or things like VA hospitals that were underfunded or politicians looking for a quick photo op and then forgetting about them.  War unleashes the dark side of humanity.  You'd have people reveling in horrendous acts because it is how you survive in such an environment.  You'll have defense contractors looking to make a quick buck on the bloodshed.  This was the debate in my mind:  is acting in our own interest worth unleashing all this darkness and evil?  Is there any other way that will keep our troops safe (a Marine told me, "Our job is to die."  That doesn't mean I want that to happen) and keep these opportunists safely locked away?

I concluded at the time, no.  It had to be done.  I wanted our troops to get everything they could so they could be as safe as possible, complete the mission, and get home safely.

Since then, information about the Iraqi war has been a mess.  There were discoveries that supported the idea that Hussein was cooking up something very bad, like the aluminum firing pins.  There were things that suggested blatant stupidity (plans for a nuclear bomb that were discovered to have come from a humor web site).  But countering all this was the eventual revelations about how poorly planned things were.  I knew trouble would happen because the different factions in Iraqi were allowed to remain as they were.  With Hussein out of the way, the longstanding grudges and paybacks would rage out of control unless coalition forces kept things together.  They didn't, and the region has yet to recover.  American troops are given insufficient gear (there were fundraisers in the Chicago area for armor for Marine divisions.  Originally, it was for the one trooper the person setting things up knew, but the Marine would invariably refuse because, if one in the platoon gets something, everyone should.  There were instances of the armor being rejected by the brass, too).  Contractors made money.  Suicides among stateside troops went through the roof.  Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch.  And a few military people who made all Americans look horrible and tried to hush it up.

With the new docs dropped on Wikileaks, people are upset because "it might put American troops at risk."  Sorry, but your poor planning has been far more hazardous than that.  It's really sad that, I considered the horrors of war, and it was still dwarfed by reality.

If I had known then what I know now, would I still support the war?  I honestly don't know anymore.  I got nothing but love for our troops, and I'm enraged by people in authority who regard them as resources instead of brave people risking their lives while they sit in their offices far away from danger.  My dad did multiple tours of duty in Vietnam.  I promised myself I would never treat a soldier the way he was treated when he returned home.

Here is my message for the people upset over Wikileaks -- if you don't want dirty secrets to get out, don't make dirty secrets.  I'm not talking military ones, I'm talking about ego-driven ones.  People were already losing confidence in those in charge between Blackwater, the Tillman investigation, and more.  This isn't going to convert anyone, just reinforce what we already believe.  It's not Wikileaks that's the problem, it's you.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2010 08:15 am (UTC)
I still find it odd that Saddam acted in ways that pretty much guaranteed we'd go in there, such as making it seem obvious that he was hiding WMD's, or at least hiding ongoing work at obtaining them. (I'm still not convinced there wasn't something we don't know of, maybe on those long convoys that disappeared over the border just before the invasion.)

In the end, I'm forced to support the invasion, then and now, as something that sooner or later would have been necessary. But you're right, there are always all sorts of reprecussions -- and in this case there clearly wasn't any plan for what to do *after* we won the battlefield. I'm happy that direct Vietnam style hatred of our people in uniform has been rare, but the number one goal of any nation that has to go to war should be to take care of its warriors -- in every way. In that, we failed.
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
Desert Storm was 41's invasion into Iraq after Hussein sent his "armies" into Kuwait...

This particular mission was called "Stupid and Ill-Conceived" (and I think it was also called "Iraqui Freedom" in some circles...)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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