If I were a soldier deployed to Afghanistan, I would be so discouraged that I was paying such an enormously high price, and that my civilian leadership had gotten distracted from our goals by deciding to invade Iraq when it did. "This is MY LIFE, man. I got Nothin' more VALUABLE than what I'm giving to this war...", I would think, and I'd think of my strained marriage and kids whose dad had been gone for half of their life - the price that THEY'RE paying, and I'd be VERY tempted to desert.
If I were a soldier in Iraq - well, I wouldn't be a soldier in Iraq.
Our troops have a right to certain expectations. They should be able to expect us, as a nation, to honor the magnitude of the sacrifices (remember, their LIFE, shattered homes, mental stress and psychological trauma, risk of physical mutilation, etc. etc. etc.) that they make not with words, but with deeds.
First among these: DO NOT SQUANDER the currency they provide in flesh and blood and pain on unwise or unneeded military ventures, plain and simple.
Second among these: BE RESPOSIBLE and A-POLITICAL about our war efforts. The military is over-stretched. Where's the draft to help us fight our two-front war? Well, we can't have one, because then there would be no war. Suddenly, people would get a lot less distracted and busy and the pressure would be applied. So, miliatary families: sorry, you're boned. Says the commander and chief: I can screw my troops and get my war, or I can be a man about this and not get my war. It's evil that he's doing it, and it's evil that we're letting him.
And Thirdly: God help us, why are we not giving these soldiers the support they need when they get home? Why can we ALWAYS find budget for the fight, but NEVER find budget for the post-war care? What is WITH US!?
We owe our soldiers such a huge apology. We (as a nation) were so busy letting ourselves be defined by the experience of the 60's that we couldn't stand up against a war that many of us (including me) KNEW didn't make any sense, even if we took the intelligence of the time at face value. When we spoke up, we were shouted down as unpatriotic and "against the troops", and so we clammed up. I'm sure that this is what happened to many members of congress as well.
Chris, Terry, Jon, & Ethan - I'm sorry. I don't know what I could have done to stop this, but I am SO sorry that I didn't at least talk more often and more loudly about how it was enormously bad judgment to invade Iraq when we did and in the way in which we did.
I'm sorry that our political system is one in which we can elect such a thoughtless commander in chief who would squander your LIVES on a war that was over-reaching and absurdly damaging, with little return for the high price paid.
I'm sorry that the major reason that this man is in office is that my Christian brothers and sisters see every national election as a one-issue race, and have sold their minds, if not their souls, to the Republican party; to the extent that Republican/Conservative & Christian are used synonymously in my church in the same way that Liberal and Sinner are.