Love the soldiers? Love the soldiering

The hypocritical comment about “I support the Soldiers but don’t support their mission” popped up again, coincindently this article came across my desk. The link leads to a “pay site” so I am reproducing the entire article.
ot really on a Canadian rant here, it just happens that this is a Canadian paper and author. Apply as required for involved country - USA, Australia, Canada, etc.

[quote]Love the soldiers? Love the soldiering
Toronto Globe and Mail
Monday, September 4, 2006

I covered Jack Layton during the last federal election. I like him. I know him not to be a stupid man, and he’s certainly fun. We exchanged iPods on the campaign plane one day. I used to joke and call myself his unofficial publicist, so shamelessly affectionate were the pieces I filed from my time on his tour.

I saw him on CBC Newsworld yesterday afternoon and if I could have, I would have reached into my television set and grabbed him by the throat – anything to shake some sense into him and knock off that pious expression of sorrow.

Mr. Layton had his sad face on. This is what our politicians wear when they talk about dead Canadian soldiers. Mr. Layton is not alone in this. And I don’t doubt that he also was genuinely sad, or that all of them are sad.

But of the major federal parties, only Mr. Layton and the New Democrats want to invite the killers of Canadian soldiers to the negotiating table.

He was on the tube because four young Canadians from the Royal Canadian Regiment were killed yesterday; it must be of some considerable comfort to their families that as part of the fallout, folks like Mr. Layton were invited on air to give their views.

It is not putting it too harshly to say that Mr. Layton would engage in the “comprehensive peace process” he envisions for Afghanistan with the killers of these young men.

Indeed, he said as much last week. “We believe that a comprehensive peace process has to bring all combatants to the table. You don’t accomplish peace if those who are fighting are not involved in the peace-based discussion,” he said. Asked if by this he meant the Taliban, Mr. Layton repeated, “A comprehensive peace process has to bring all the combatants to the table.” Since the combatants include on one side the soldiers of the North-Atlantic-Treaty-Organization-led coalition there at the request of the Afghan government, and on the other the Taliban and their ragtag collection of allies, it’s pretty clear what he meant.

I wonder how he might actually swing it, were he the PM and that process was starting today. Would he chide the “combatants” (“Bad Taliban!”) even as he welcomed them to the peace talks? Would he pull out the chairs for their representatives? Would he pour the tea for those who have killed 23 Canadian soldiers this year?

Mr. Layton, as he briefly reminded Newsworld viewers yesterday, doesn’t think this is the mission for Canada; there isn’t the “proper balance” between nation-building and combat; the soldiers ought to be brought home next February.

This is all part of the party’s effort to position itself as being supportive of the troops while also being opposed to the mission. Of course it is possible to do both things. Anyone with a shred of intelligence knows that Canadian soldiers go only where their government tells them to go, do only what their government asks them to do: The soldiers should always be supported, because they only do the bidding of their political masters. If the political masters get it wrong, soldiers ought not to carry the can.

But Mr. Layton and the NDP take this one step further. He and they want to be seen as soldier-loving.

This is a fraud, as even a cursory parsing of Mr. Layton’s statement last week illustrates. It’s pretty clear what New Democrats don’t like: They don’t like the “aggressive” nature of the mission; they don’t like that it’s a counterinsurgency; they don’t like the “combat” thrust of it.

But combat is what all soldiers are trained to do, and was even where there were actually places in the world for peacekeepers. Aggression is part of who soldiers are, as integral as boots and weapons, and was even when Canadians were posted in Cyprus. Aggression is not a bad thing or a character flaw; it is a prerequisite of those who wear what soldiers call the “green suit,” the uniform.

Now, it happens that Canadian soldiers are also good at the softer skills of their trade.

They can sit down with village elders, build a bridge physically or metaphorically and make friends with school children as well as and probably better than any other soldiers in the world. They are gentle when circumstances allow, and hard when they don’t, and they can switch gears in a New York minute.

But they are also terrific, courageous and dogged soldiers, and to be perfectly frank, for many of them, combat is considered the only real test of professionalism.

In the early days of the mission in Kandahar province, when the Canadians were just beginning to get the lay of the land and the Taliban was still getting the measure of them, our soldiers were holding two and three shuras a day and giving out toys to lovely Afghan children at every turn. Then, starting in February, their vehicles began to get blown up by roadside bombs and suiciders, and then the Taliban ambushes began, and then the rocket and mortar attacks on their patrol bases.

The time for peacemaking was over, and the war was on: The Canadians are there to provide security such that Afghanistan can rebuild. The former necessarily comes first. Reconstruction efforts and capacity-building for the new Afghan government haven’t ended, but for months now, they have taken a back seat to fighting.

One of the last interviews I had this July in Afghanistan was with a young captain who had just returned from weeks of combat. He described entering the smouldering ruin of an elementary school the Taliban had occupied and gutted, burning everything – children’s desks, little pictures of the students, drawings on the wall. As much as anything else, he was shaken by the raw evidence of nihilism.

That’s what the Taliban do – burn schools, threaten teachers, behead and target those who would build up, as opposed to reduce to ashes. Oh yes, they kill too.

They are wonderfully egalitarian about it, to be fair. The NDP would have to admire that spirit. The Taliban kill Canadians, Americans, Romanians and the British, too, and try to kill soldiers from the other countries (there are seven key ones, but a total of 26 NATO members contributing to the mission) that make up the coalition in Afghanistan, although mostly who they kill are Afghans, especially civilians who either get in the way of their roadside bombs and suicide bombers or don’t get out of the way (usually because the Taliban are occupying their homes and hiding behind them) when they decide it’s time to fight.

As Mr. Layton said in that speech now posted on the party website, New Democrats may “grieve with each family that loses a loved one in this and all conflicts, or sees a loved one injured in the line of duty,” but their grief is dishonest. You can’t position yourself as a soldier-lover when you loathe soldiering.

That statement ends with a pitch for donations and a call for signatures on a petition. “Support our troops,” it says.

In a pig’s ear.
Globe &[/quote]

The article seems to be about accepting the reality that soldiers needs to be aggressive, deadly, at times and furthermore that the NDP’s stance is an insult to Canadian soliders as they want to negotiate with the Taliban (who have killed Canadian soldiers).

You seem to think she is saying we must accept the mission politicians send soliders on or we are hypocrites. But since politicians decide on the mission, not soldiers, I am free to criticize that all I want. Even the reporter agrees:

So, you call “supporting the soldiers but not the mission” hypocrisy and yet link to an article that says such a thing is not only possible, but the only conclusion an intelligent person can make.

Why is it hypocritical to feel compassion for a young person – more likely than not from a lower income, lower education, lower opportunity background – who got fooled into enlisting and serving in some foolish military failure that was based from the beginning on lies, deception, faulty “intelligence,” progaganda and ulterior, unstated motives of spoiled, rich politicians whose children are not foolish or unfortunate to have to serve there, and wish the soldier well and hope he/she will return home safely with all of his/her limbs (ie, to support him), but not support his foolish mission?

Lots of soldiers feel that way and don’t find it the least bit hypocritical.

[quote=“Veterans Against Iraq War”]Veterans Against Iraq War is a coalition of American veterans who support our troops but oppose war with Iraq or any other nation that does not pose a clear and present danger to our people and nation.

Until and unless the current U.S. Administration provides evidence which clearly demonstrates that Iraq or any other nation poses a clear, direct and immediate danger to our country, we oppose all of this Administration’s pre-emptive and unilateral military activities in Iraq. Furthermore, we cannot support any war that is initiated without a formal Declaration of War by Congress, as our Constitution requires.

Although we detested the dictatorial policies of Saddam Hussein and sympathized with the tragic plight of the Iraqi people, we opposed unilateral and pre-emptive U.S. military intervention on the grounds that it established a dangerous precedent in the conduct of international affairs, that it could easily lead to an increase of violent regional instability and the spread of much wider conflicts, that it places needless and unacceptable financial burdens on the American people, that it diverts us from addressing critical domestic priorities, and that it distracts us from our goals of tracking down and destroying international terrorists and their lairs.

Furthermore, we do not believe that the American military can or should be used as the police force of the world by any administration, Republican or Democrat. Consequently, we believe that the lives and well being of our nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines should not be squandered or sacrificed for causes other than in the direct defense of our people and nation.

Finally, we believe that a doctrine of pre-emptive and unilateral U.S. military attack on Iraq or any other nation is illegal, unnecessary, counter-productive and presents a truly dire and distressing threat to our vital international interests and basic national security. As military veterans, we have a unique understanding of war and know the many hidden truths that lie behind war’s easy theories and promises, as well as behind the tragic consequences that even, “victory” brings. We therefore call on all like-minded veterans and family members to endorse this statement and support us in our efforts to help avert, mitigate or stop a national tragedy and an international calamity.

[color=red]We ask that you support our troops, by demanding that they be brought home from Iraq immediately.[/color] We ask that you support our nation’s vital interests, by demanding that our troops should never be placed in harm’s way except to meet and defeat any direct and immediate threat to our people.[/quote]

And here’s one retired officer who would surely say he supports the soldiers, but not their mission. … e&sid=2433

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]
Lots of soldiers feel that way and don’t find it the least bit hypocritical.

Virtually the entire leadership of the VAIW are retreads from Vietnam.

Example: … 8b7a89038f

How many retired generals do you think are there in the US? Close to 5,000…all of the retired generals who have come out against the war make up less than 1/2 of 1% of the total number.

Yep…a regular tidal wave of dissent.

I wonder if we will ever see an explanation from TC regarding his statement!? The article doesn’t support it as pointed out, so what are we to make out of it?

[quote=“Rascal”]I wonder if we will ever see an explanation from TC regarding his statement!? The article doesn’t support it as pointed out, so what are we to make out of it?[/quote]And yet again…leetle rascal chimes in wth an off-topic remark about the poster rather than the post.
I have you on “ignore” because of your passive-sggressive antics and yet you [bstill[/b] show up on my screen…yoikes!

Discuss the irony. I realize english is not your primary language…but try to understand subtlty…look for the nuance in the thread. Not everything is jack-boots and dogs on leashes. Look for layers of flavor which combine to make a taste-filled adventure in reading and comprehension.

try it!’ll like it!

VAIW are burn-out asshats most of whom are not VN vets and never saw a day in country. They have a very poor name among actual VN vets and the military in general. They are primarily funded by anti-USA and leftist groups.
As where their counter-parts during the actual VN war.

:boo-hoo: It’s not a remark about you and neither off-topic, I am merely asking you, being the OP, to explain your statement. That’s fair game on a discussion board, is it not?

Yada yada. You are repeating yourself and that remark is off-topic, so perhaps you should stop complaining because else your statements might be seen as hypocritical. Agressive are your responses, and they are not necessarily passive.

especially if he is good looking and looks good on a motorcyle?

who look to the military in many cases as a ladder to a higher income future?

Because when you join the military it is the solemn understanding that it goes without saying you will never actually have to serve in combat duty?

Afghanistan? Iraq? the war on terror? defending South Korea? bringing peace to Haiti? I will assume though that you mean Iraq? Well, what is the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan or are you against both “failures?”

So you can go quote that lie right now? or are you lying about knowing that politicians lied?

No one believed that Saddam was developing wmds. No one believed that he was a threat?

true in many cases but the Duelfer report still came to the conclusion that Saddam’s existing wmd programs could be started whenever he wanted and that he would attempt to do so once sanctions collapsed.

True. But no more so than the leftist rabble and their “Bush lied, troops died” and “it was all about oil” shit.

I thought Senator McCain’s son was in the Marines and now serving in Iraq? OH, I see you mean in general unlike those whose children are not foolish like John Walker Lindh?

Yeah, that is pretty much how we all feel minus the foolish part so given that we have committed these troops to that particular conflict, I think that the opposition should shut up about them and leave them out of the debate, a debate which by the way goes a long way to giving moral support to the enemy and therefore counts as treasonous sedition… or are we not at war?

The above quote would be worthy of :roflmao: if our own government did not harbor the same inexcusable beliefs.

I don’t know, are we? Were we attacked by another nation? Did Congress declare war? Are we fighting against the army of another nation? You tell me, Fred, are we at war?

I don’t think it is so bad to support the soldiers and oppose whatever they are being ordered to do.

It always surprises me that the Taiwanese speak so casually of the Japanese occupation. Personally, I’m thankful that I spent my entire life never having to worry about the possibility of another country invading my country, hanging up their flag, making me wear their clothes, speak their language, and worship their god. I thank the U.S. military and anyone whose ever served in it for this. That fact alone is enough for me to respect them.

Presidents and military leaders come and go, some make better decisions than others. This doesn’t concern me as far as my respect for the troops is concerned.

I do feel however, that protesting the war publicly or criticizing the military’s actions publicly may give terrorists motivation to direct terrorist attacks at someone or something I care about, so I keep any negative opinions to myself, when I have them.

I think it’s important to remember we won’t have the real picture of this war for years and years. The truth can wait, as far as I’m concerned. Right now, I just want terrorists to lose.

trebuchet -
Thank you.
Very eloquently said… :bravo:

Big Time not only with Islamofascism but also with “fifth columnists” and Asimovian mule-like “surrender seekers” who are earnestly attempting to “understand” groups who deny all the very rights that such individuals claim most to care about and which they see (ironically) as most under threat in AmeriKKKa.

Was war declared? You betcha. Read the statements of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syrian leaders, Iranian leaders, religious fanatics throughout the Muslim world and those who reside in comfort in many a Western capital. Ignore their statements at your own peril. Actually, it would not really be your peril. Unfortunately, your stupidity and inability to see because of your need to martyr yourself on the altar of multicultural “understanding” and “tolerance” will take down a lot of innocents with you. Perhaps, we could devise a strategy where all those who think like you do were able to move to a city, say, San Francisco and then have an official policy where that city would reject any support for and protection of the US government. That way if and when the bombs do fall, you and you alone will suffer IF one ASSUMES that the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other organizations will actually differentiate on your behalf given your lofty pronouncements. I think that rather they would look at such supine weakness as the perfect invitation to carry out some picking of low-hanging fruit. Double entendre fully intentional.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]trebuchet -
Thank you.
Very eloquently said… :bravo:[/quote]

I agree with respect to this:

But I strongly disagree regarding this:

If the public had felt that way 30 years ago, we might still be murdering babies in Vietnam. Opponents of war have not just a legitimate right to publicly voice their opposition, but a moral obligation to do so.

Were we ever murdering babies in Vietnam? I know that this was one of the mindless slogans of the left and hey! you get a prize! for spouting, regurgitating it years later with no thought whatsoever! There was Mai Lai but…

Great I am happy to discuss this “moral obligation” more. Let’s talk about what happened in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos after the US left. Wanna talk moral responsibility for that? especially since the North Vietnamese have said that they won the war “politically” not “militarily” and they used the protesters to further their aims. What do you have to say then about that and the morality of protesting to further the aims of the true baby killers? Hmmm. Cat got your tongue?

Let’s do a little thought experiment shall we: Al Gore won in 2000 and is still in power. Would you acquiece to all his military adventurism? I know Fred wouldn’t as he has been criticial of missions undertaken while Clinton was in power, so the issue seems to be as much about party support as core beliefs. (Though Fred has said he would not support action in Haiti even under the Bush admin.)

So how about you Tainancowboy? Were you 100% behind your country’s military actions in the 90s? If not, why not? And if you reserved the right to criticize Clinton why do you deny this right to those who would criticize Bush?

I’d also like to hear people’s thought on Israel. They seem perfectly capable of criticizing their government and supporting their troops. The difference is, I believe, their focus is on winning their battles and not protecting incumbent leaders.

algore didn’t win…BS theoretical.

There was more to my post than just the hypothetical.

Were we ever murdering babies in Vietnam? I know that this was one of the mindless slogans of the left and hey! you get a prize! for spouting, regurgitating it years later with no thought whatsoever! There was Mai Lai but…[/quote]

You call it mindless; others call it accurate. Just a quick google reveals this.

[quote]Decades-old Pentagon records show that Army criminal investigators substantiated seven massacres of Vietnamese and Cambodian civilians by U.S. soldiers — in addition to the notorious 1968 My Lai massacre.

Here are summaries of three of those incidents, drawn from files of the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group.

Sept. 29, 1969

E Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division

Members of a reconnaissance platoon swept through the Que Son Valley, burning homes, slaughtering animals and clearing civilians. They killed an unarmed boy standing outside a cluster of huts and fired into one of the dwellings, killing three women and three or four children, according to an investigative report. The soldiers then executed an elderly woman and a baby.

The unit reported the victims as enemy killed in action.

In the next few days, members of the platoon raped a woman and a young girl and executed civilian detainees, investigators determined. . .

March 16, 1968

B Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 23rd Infantry Division

On the same day as the massacre at My Lai, soldiers from the same division killed an undetermined number of women and children in neighboring My Khe.

Witnesses told investigators that soldiers tossed grenades into shelters and shot women and children as they ran for cover or tried to flee . . .

the unit said it killed 39 enemy combatants but recovered no weapons and suffered no casualties. . .

May 18, 1971

Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division

A U.S. helicopter “hunter-killer” team attacked a village in Cambodia with rockets and machine-gun fire, killing eight civilians, including two children. . . [/quote]

What Clinton Era “missions” was I critical of? The quagmire of Bosnia and Kosovo? The firing of a missile at tents in Afghanistan, another sent to a Sudanese factory?

Well then, Mother Theresa. Let’s look at the total record. It’s great that you can get civilian casualties on record and I am not denying that they happened. How many of these were deliberate? How many of the deliberate actions were not punished? Was it the official policy of the US government or military to maximize civilian casualties during the Vietnam war?

Now, after the US left, you have millions fleeing the country. That never happened before. Why not? I mean if the US was murdering babies willy nilly why not mass outflow of refugees? How many millions were killed after the fall of South Vietnam? by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia? elsewhere in Laos? How much economic development was lost when failed communist policies were implemented? How many starved? suffered? never had a chance for a career?

So, if you want me to take the blame for the thousands? tens of thousands of civilians killed intentionally by US forces, will you then take the blame for the millions who died later? for the millions whose lives were ruined by failed communist policies and vicious dictators? will you take credit as the North Vietnamese generals have given you credit for the massive protests that paralyzed the US government and resulted in our departure from South Vietnam?

So let’s talk about the “rights” of citizens to “protest.” What do you have to say about these protests? and the fact that they were directly responsible for our retreat from a war that we had won militarily? Perhaps, you need to learn from history and stop glorifying protest for the sake of protest? Or perhaps, the frisson that you get from protesting is not enough? Perhaps, it is also the moral surity of having known that no action that you have ever supported has resulted in violence? But then what do you have to say about those millions who died not by your hands but because you removed the hands that were stopping the bloodshed? Bit too complex for you?