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How is Supporting the Iraqi Occupation Supporting the Troops?

June 4th 2006

How is Supporting the Iraqi Occupation Supporting the Troops?

Commentary

“What matters about Haditha?” So asked The Nation in a recent editorial. Indeed supporters of the occupation of Iraq have elevated the massacres in Haditha of last November to a litmus test for patriotism and conservatism.

Sean Hannity has chastised those who have raised concerns over the execution-style murders of women and children in Haditha for being politically motivated. He has even declared that such concerns bring danger upon American soldiers on the ground during their occupational duties.

To validate his accusation on his June 1 broadcast he featured the comments of a soldier who was present at the Haditha operation who attested that women and children routinely act as scouts and conduits of information for insurrectionists who would bring harm to American soldiers.

 

Rush Limbaugh declared, also on June 1, with his typical self-assuredness, that Haditha is nothing more than an aberration. Americans, after all, are above such atrocities. Said the self-professed “Truth Detector”, “I know, as do all of you, that whatever happened in Haditha, if it's as bad as everybody's alluding to, it's uncommon; it is unreal. It is not the normal, standard operating procedure of the US military, and in war, all kinds of atrocities do happen. But they're not going to redefine us as a people; they're not going to redefine the US. They're going to try, but they're not going to get away with it, and of that, I am confident. These things will be dealt with in due course.

Although, according to his fans, “Rush is Right”, he is certainly no soothsayer because on June 2, BBC News reported, and CNN verified, in New Iraq Massacre Tape Emerges, that on March 15, 2006, American soldiers were taped killing 11 Iraqi citizens in Ishaqi. Then on June 3, The London Daily Telegraph reported in Civilians Killed Daily that Iraq's newly elected Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, “...said violence against civilians had become a 'daily phenomenon'. 'They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion,' he said.”  Comment on this article at our Forum

 

Last August Charlie Reese, a consistent and well-defined critic of the Iraqi invasion and of the Bush Administration, wrote, “I heard a lecture by an Army psychologist who contended that after 90 days of combat, the casualty rate was 98 percent. Those not wounded physically were wounded psychologically. The other 2 percent were psychopaths....History tells us that war corrupts even good people It didn't take long in World War II before the strategic-bombing advocates were saying cities needed to be carpet-bombed without regard for civilian casualties.”

Is it unreasonable to wonder if dispatching American soldiers to a country we invaded is a danger not only to their physical safety but to their emotional safety as well? Is this danger amplified when the reasons for the occupation are easily debated or even unknown? If it is, is support for that invasion and occupation really supporting the troops?

What kind of people are going to be delivered into civilian society after formative early adult years are devoted to wondering if women and children on the street are conspiring to blow them up? Is it possible that such combat experiences could impair their social skills and make them dysfunctional in future relationships? If they do, could they occasionally become threats to their communities and a burden to the state? If they become such, is it really patriotic to support the government when it makes invasion, occupation and regime change central themes of its foreign policy initiatives?

Individual affects of combat on soldiers, however, might be considered by some to be an expected sacrifice of volunteers for military service. Their hardships, some might argue, are the price that is paid so the rest of us can enjoy the rights and freedoms that Americans have come to expect. Is the occupation of Iraq protecting any American freedoms though? Iraq did not have the capacity to invade this country and the government of Saddam Hussein was a long-standing mortal enemy to the type of Islamic revolutionaries that advocate violence against Western powers.

Furthermore what of the other consequences that have come from the occupation of Iraq?

 

How have the more than $300 billion dollars the government has spent on the war affected the value of American currency? The war expenses have been heaped upon deficits that have exploded with increased spending on social programs and new entitlements from the Republican Congress and President. Does the devalued currency affect property rights of Americans? Does it cheapen Americans' efforts to provide for their families through their labor? How is it patriotic to support government excesses when foreign governments have been backing the bonds that the American government has issued to print the new currency used to fund the deficit spending?

What of the social costs paid by families that are split up for extended periods by long deployments? What of the financial burdens placed upon families that lose wages to National Guard deployments?

It is certainly true that many critics of the Iraqi occupation are motivated by partisan emotions, but some of us are motivated by what we consider to be flawed policy that is harmful to both America and its soldiers. We do not consider an occupation of a foreign country to be a cause of unquestioned support for a government of any party. Nor do we consider exposing soldiers to violence that has erupted for ill-defined causes to be a proper use of the military or supportive of the purpose of soldiers. For supporters of the Bush Administration to discount us or these views as unpatriotic or politically hateful is to avoid legitimate debate on the consequences of the current policy and subsequently a propagandistic technique used for partisan political purposes.

As for the Limbaughian faith that American people are somehow immune to the temptations and influences upon people from other countries or other backgrounds, well, it is a comforting idea, but it is as detached from the realities of human nature as is his ability to see the future.

Does an American executive, if given the choice to enrich his company through slave labor in a third world country, consider the damage that doing so might cause his employees in his hometown? Maybe occasionally, but such an executive is an exception to the current American business model. Would an American consumer intentionally pile up debt that can't be repaid only to take advantage of bankruptcy laws that could help him avoid meeting his obligations? Would an American male pursue intimate relationships with a wide range of women in violation of marriage vows he took with his wife?

Would an American soldier, when faced with an enemy that cannot be defined in a war that does not have a clear objective or identifiable end point, kill innocent people out of confusion or frustration? If so, who is responsible for putting that soldier in such a horrible situation and isn't that authority responsible for the psychological damage done to that soldier?

Someone need tell the “Maha Rushi” and the “Great American” Hannity that it is a sad fact that the invasion of Iraq has redefined America as well as her international reputation. That redefined reputation can either be refuted or justified by a decision to either invade or open diplomatic relations with Iran.

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By Bob Strodtbeck
Columnist
Bob Strodtbeck has been writing editorial commentaries since 1993.  He has professional experiences in pharmaceuticals, radio, and education.  He has also served as a church elder in an Orlando congregation where he has made his home since 1986.rvstrodtbeck@peoplepc.com

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Keywords and misspellings:  politics poletics democrat demoncrat republican repub comentary commentary


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