Chickenhawks Betray the Troops

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I
once assumed the best of those who back the war in Iraq, believing
that they unknowingly sent them off to die unnecessarily. But recent
conversations with warhawks have convinced me otherwise. And the
conclusion I've come to is that there aren't any thoughtful supporters
of the troops who truly support the war.

Of
course there are legions of boobiosie, a majority by some polls,
who believe the fantasy that Iraq had something to do with 9-11.
But many others who support the war are doing so with full knowledge
that Iraq has never attacked the United States and had no credible
plot to do so. They support our war of aggression because Saddam
Hussein has killed and tortured "his own people." They
always seem to stress the "his own people" part, as if
that would distinguish Hussein from any of the more than three-score
dictators across the globe who have done precisely the same thing.

The
attitude these people have about America's uniformed services really
bothers me. "We are the world's policeman," I have heard
more than once in the past week, "and if we don't stop Hussein,
who will?" The implication always given for the "boobus
Americanus" in the audience is that Hussein is a potential
Hitler who will be rolling panzers across the Potomac within a few
years without our unprovoked act of aggression. The fact that Hussein's
forces got their fannies handed to them in a sling by Iran in the
1980s has no impact upon the chickenhawks. Iraq lost to Iran even
though the United States was supporting Iraq in the war (despite
the fact that Hussein's worst human rights violations occurred during
this time period). The fact that Iraq's army has been about as potent
against American military might as a junior varsity pep squad also
appears irrelevant to them.

The
arrogance of chickenhawk sentiments is that the lives of American
servicemen are a dispensable and even a tradable commodity. I even
asked someone if she would be willing to trade the lives of 125
million Americans for 1 billion foreigners if military intervention
could accomplish it. She replied unhesitating: "Yes. It's the
greater good. Right?" Wrong. Let alone that such a trade would
result in the death of every American male, the whole calculus is
a ghastly evil.

It's
the worst and most despicable of all evils. Yet this same calculus
is precisely what has brought us into this war. Many are willing
to trade the lives of hundreds – even thousands – of our
friends and neighbors in exchange for a possibility that some unknown
number of strangers might live. The willingness of our servicemen
to make this sacrifice is nothing less than noble, but their fellow
citizens requiring the lives of their friends and neighbors for
reasons unrelated to national defense can't be described as anything
less than treacherous.

The
simple truth is that our servicemen signed up to put their lives
on the line in defense of their country. They did not sign up to
become legionnaires or mercenaries whose lives would become mere
pawns in the hands of the majoritarian mandarins. What can "Support
the Troops" mean in such a context? Servicemen's lives become
nothing more than a business transaction, with an effort to make
a "three-for-one bargain" in the blood trade.

Servicemen's
lives simply aren't ours to trade away, even though the warmongers
seem to treat them like last year's baseball cards. There is a coldness
of the heart that brings a person to make such a calculation. I
shiver for my country when I think that so many people are willing
to make it.

Christ
said that there is no greater love than to sacrifice your own life
for a friend. What can be said in favor of a person willing to sacrifice
the lives of his friends for strangers he's never heard of? Is a
greater breach of trust or betrayal even possible? The most sickening
thing about the whole business is that the chickenhawks actually
take a measure of pride in noting that they have traded away the
lives of their friends. They count it as their own generosity to
sacrifice the lives of others.

May
God protect us from such "generous" monsters.

April
4, 2003

Thomas
R. Eddlem

[send him mail] is the
editor of the Hanson Express
newspaper in Hanson, MA and is a regular contributor to The
New American
and Point
South
magazines.


     

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