A few months ago I had a conversation with a friend at work about how the current wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, the GWOT) have little to no effect on the everday life of Americans. The only people who really feel the impact on a day to day basis are people in the military and people whose loved ones are in the military. Everyone else is more concerned with whether Paris will have to go back to jail or whether Lindsay Lohan will go to rehab.
Compare this to WW2, where everyone was impacted – there were food rations (sugar, butter, etc) and shortages of various materials (rubber, metal, etc). People knew they were at war and they had a vested interest in winning. This is not the case anymore. Psychologically, it is much easier to say “The US has lost the war” if you are not including yourself in the US. In other words, when we hear people saying that the US has lost or cannot win, what they mean is that the US military cannot win this war. Seriously, that’s just lame.
Yes, war is hell and I would like nothing more than for our soldiers and sailors and marines to be able to come home safely, but I am hesitant to say that the war cannot be won and bring them home prematurely without letting them achieve victory. Honestly, I would believe the opinion of the military generals over the politicians anyday. The number one theme that keeps popping up in Bob Greene’s Homecoming is veterans saying things like, “We didn’t lose in Vietnam, we just weren’t allowed to win” or “We didn’t lose Vietnam. The American public lost Vietnam.”
I don’t want our Iraq vets to have to say that. Let them achieve their victory as long as victory is still a viable option.
In the meantime, get the public more involved in the efforts. Adopt a soldier (AdoptaPlatoon, Soldiers’ Angels), make care packages (USO, AnySoldier), donate to military hospitals and facilities (Fisher House). Make it so it’s not only the military at war, but the whole country.
And when you complain that gas prices are ridiculously high, remember that we are at war and the price of gas reflects that, even though little else in our society does.
Filed under: Iraq