New York City area residents, take note: Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War will both be marching in a Peace Contingent in today's Veterans Day parade in New York City. Nothing prevents you from bringing signs and banners and cheering on the Peace Contingent from the sidelines. The parade begins at 11.00 am and marches up 5th Avenue from 26th Street to 56th Street. Also, Code Pink hosts an event at Columbus Circle that evening at 7 pm, and tomorrow afternoon, from 2.30pm to 6.30pm at the 1199 Break Room (330 W. 42nd St., 9th floor) veterans and military family members will speak about the war, the treatment of veterans, depleted uranium, traumas inflicted on women veterans, and other topics; among the organizations contributing speakers are Iraq Veterans against the War, Veterans for Peace, Black Veterans for Social Justice, Military Families Speak Out, and Gold Star Families for Peace.
Now we hear from some folk that if we don't support the war, we don't support the troops. The line of reasoning goes like this: if the troops know we're iffy about the wisdom of their mission, and we say so, it'll hurt their morale and embolden their enemies, thus endangering their mission. This line of reasoning insults my intelligence. Our soldiers fight a country that did not attack us, and (according to the noted pro-deterrence non-liberals at the Cato Institute) wasn't stupid enough to try. Our soldiers fight a country which also wasn't stupid enough to harbor al-Qaeda terrorists no matter how many desperate connections non-cons try to make over decades and continents, but which country is now, even according to our most conservative commentators, a breeding ground for terrorists as a direct result of our presence there. Our soldiers barely hold their supply lines with their inadequate manpower and inadequate armor, and their Secretary of Defense makes excuses like "you go to war with the army you have." And from this evidence we are to conclude that anti-war sentiment is the reason we're losing this war?
And all that is secondary to my point. The point is that my duty as an American citizen is inviolate, even in a time of war. Presumably soldiers have died to defend my duty as a citzen. My duty is not to "support the war effort" if I believe the war is wrong. My duty is to offer the President and my representatives in Congress my honest counsel at all times. To do otherwise is unpatriotic, even dangerous -- especially in a time of war. "Supporting the President in a time of war" is an abject perversion of my duty as a citizen. We are not supposed to be supporting the President at any time; the President is supposed to be supporting us. The President is supposed to execute the will of the people, which will was never that strongly in favor of deposing one of the most hated tyrants in the world no matter how much Tha Bush Mobb tried to stoke the fear and rage of my countryfolk. The people must not to be forced to "support" the President's lies about weapons of mass destruction, or his "desire" to "spread democracy," or his judging from his "gut." The President is subject to our wisdom and our judgment. Keeping my mouth shut in a time of war is not "supporting the President." it's enabling the President. And this particular President has had more than enough enablers over the course of his lifetime.
The best way to support the troops is to never put them in harm's way unless absolutely necessary. By going to war with Iraq over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and nonexistent ties to al-Qaeda, we failed to support our troops. They are counting the cost, and their families are counting the cost, and we are counting the cost.