A soldier's wife

This is not an easy piece to read. For a while I was torn over whether to post it. But our troops and their spouses deserve to have their stories heard, and it's the very least we can do to listen.

So as you celebrate the Fourth tomorrow -- and I hope we all have a wonderful celebration -- please take a moment to remember Ashley Wise and her husband, and the price they've paid.


I guess that makes sense.
That's a different matter from having your patriotism questioned for not getting behind every war. I'm in complete agreement with you that the people who never have anything good to say about America are tiresome at best. One of the things that drove me out of the Democratic Party was that I got sick of the blame-America-first negativity I was encountering with far too many people on the left. Surrounded by people who made snide comments about my country, wanted to ignore the Second Amendment, and opposed even the most modest restrictions on abortion made me feel like I was from another planet.
Kevin, in MY experience the allegation that people hate America is not because they are against this or that particular war. It is because they despise it's people, focus on the bad rather then the good in history, consider patriotism itself sinister, make up conspiracy theories about America and in general behave as if they, well, hated America.

If someone did nothing but curse me, swear at me, and tell other people about the flaws he perceives in me I would logically conclude that he hated me.
Jason, you and I have very different experiences if you think such an attack is "seldom made." I have actually talked to people who think war protesters are a bunch of "America haters" who should have their heads knocked in. In the earlier, more popular portion of the Iraq War, I heard numerous commentators strongly imply that there was something amiss with one's patriotism for being against the war.

The "love it or leave it" mentality has reared its ugly head far too often in these situations, as if opposing a certain government policy or action means you don't love your country.

And yes, there are also foolish, simple-minded allegations that wars are about little more than blood lust. Some people are incapable of seeing any justification for any war. When such people took to the streets in opposition to our invasion of Afghanistan, I could only shake my head and be thankful that people so extreme that they don't want us to react to a direct attack on our shores were not calling the shots.
Compassion is a progress but we can't lose "suck it up and be a man" either Lee. I am thinking not of VA hospitals(sometimes it seems that soldiers are almost the only manly ones left), so much as the general culture which encourages complaints with a corresponding increase in faction, and a decrease in fortitude not necessarily proportionate to an increase in charity.
Kevin, that claim is seldom made. There have however been plenty of times when people claimed "if you are for a war I am not then you must like bloodshed."
It's also a way to bully people into silence. If you oppose a war I happen to support, you must be anti-America.
My wife's aunt has been dealing with this issue ever since her husband, a Navy SEAL, returned from his fourth (!!!) tour of duty in Vietnam. Nothing quite says "PTSD" like "I could kill you with one blow, and you're really ticking me off right now." Mary has qualified for sainthood many times over, during the last four decades. And much of the attitude of that era, from the VA and others, was "Suck it up and be a man." At least we've progressed past that, even if we have far to go.

And to say, with loud conviction, that you support the troops but oppose the war is to imply that some support both the troops and the war. In fact, no one likes war; it's simply that some support the *aims* of the war, and others do not. Interestingly, soldiers pledge to support the aims of any war in which they become involved. But I resent the implication that some of us willingly put our troops in harm's way, rather than with intense reluctance.

But rather than end on such somber notes, I'll add this, tongue-in-cheekily: If only we'd vote properly this November, that poor naked woman in the photo wouldn't be forced to hold up stores with an assault rifle simply to clothe herself. Happy 4th of Julia.
Quite true, Maureen, but a number of people have also said or seemed to say that it is objectively impossible to support the troops and oppose the war and I think that a dangerous train of thought. It not only denies chivalry, it threatens to forfeit civic responsibility.
Actions and words
@ Kevin -

It's very easy to understand. During the early years of the war I went to counter protest some of those so-called peace rallies/anti-war marches. What I witnessed during those events was our troops condemned and called criminals, the lie promoted that Pres. Bush lied to get us into Iraq ("Bush lied, people died!"), calling him a war criminal, calling our soldiers war criminals, calls for Pres. Bush's impeachment and even death, calling our country evil - on and on I could go.

THAT'S what those who "oppose the war but support the troops" demonstrated, and for YEARS.

Are there some people who truly do support the troops while not supporting the war(s)? Sure. I supported the initial reasons for the wars, but I do not support the idea of "nation building" of nations that have demonstrated again and again that they do not have our interests at heart, or any intention of addressing their own problems.

But the overwhelming majority of those who say they support the troops but oppose the war behaved like my first example, not my second.
Modern people despite all the sneering at "simplifying" are really incapable of complex thought, Anthony. There are for instance a number of people who seem to be offended that old movies often presented Confederate or even German soldiers in a sympathetic manner. Obviously the US Army is not the same thing as the Wehrmacht, but the lack of sympathy is the same.

I think a lot of it is the rejection of the old gentleman's code. That had a lot of harmful traits but they did know how to respect an opponent then.

I agree; there is no reason someone can't oppose a given war while supporting the soldiers.
Some things never change.

"have every one of them a cave or lair to lurk in; but the men who fight and die for Italy enjoy the common air and light, indeed, but nothing else; houseless and homeless they wander about with their wives and children. And it is with lying lips that their imperators exhort the soldiers in their battles to defend sepulchres and shrines from the enemy; for not a man of them has an hereditary altar, not one of all these many Romans an ancestral tomb, but they fight and die to support others in wealth and luxury, and though they are styled masters of the world, they have not a single clod of earth that is their own."
-recorded by Plutarch
I agree with you 100% Kevin. I'm not a war supporter of any kind, but in the past I have had no problem with assisting in drives to send our soldiers care packages and mail. I hate when overly-patriotic zealots accuse me of being anti-America because I don't support war but support our brave men and women in uniform. Really?
It's certainly not an easy thing to understand, Kevin. But one has to take into account the attitudes and behavior of so many who state that they "support the troops." There are few clearer examples of the old trope that actions speak louder than words, than the kind of person who loudly proclaims that he or she "supports the troops" while simultaneously doing everything possible to make the troops feel like dirt. And there are such people everywhere, and there have been for a long time. Think of the contradictions of the Vietnam era, where some returning soldiers were driven to despair, and worse, by actions taken by those who, in their own estimation, were all about peace, love, and understanding.

It's one thing to say you "support the troops." It's another to live it. Chuck Colson understood that. So many others do not.
One thing that irked me in an otherwise thoughtful piece was the writer's strange belief that there's some sort of contradiction in saying you oppose a war but are pulling for the troops. Why do some people have a hard time grasping that concept? The late Chuck Colson came to oppose the continuation of our involvement in Afghanistan. Did that mean he no longer supported the troops? That's ridiculous.

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