Letter to the Editor | Monday, March 31, 2008
As a senior leader in Army ROTC who faces the likely prospect of being sent to Iraq in the next year or two, I found the discussion about last week’s protest interesting. I would like to offer my two cents and thank those who started and continued what I found to be a thoughtful and well-timed protest.
What are you supporting by supporting the war? The Army does not declare war, Congress does. A soldier takes no part in deciding whether or not to go to war; a soldier goes to war when he or she is told to by the government.
Since we are fortunate enough to be governed by a democracy, “the people” are essentially the ones who decide to go to war, and our support of the war means supporting the cause and the deployment of troops to realize that cause. If you do not support the war, you are simply opposing a government decision, and the best way to support the troops in that case is to discourage the government from sending troops into harm’s way (in a thoughtful manner, of course).
A soldier’s mission is to support and defend the people of the United States and its Constitution; to support a soldier is to support this mission, not necessarily a particular war. Patriotism does not mean blindly following the dictates of the present administration; it means encouraging the course of action which is best for our nation and the whole world.
The recent protest, by provoking thought and discussion about that best course of action, was an act of patriotism.