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Return with honor

Shayler C. Pierson | Monday, September 19, 2011

Mr. Cohen,

On Sept. 14 (“A 9/11 commemoration,” Sept. 14), you objected to The Observer’s use of the phrase “defend our freedom,” referring to the actions of our troops engaged in the Middle East. While I respect your right to opine on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I must protest how you turned your complaint against the student newspaper into a diatribe against national politics and the military.

It seems you are unable to separate the soldiers fighting overseas from the political objectives (or lack thereof, you believe) they are fighting to achieve. The invasion of Iraq, you say, was “misguided, unprovoked,” while the politics involved were “ill-defined and indefinite.” Regardless of why America is involved in the Middle East, the troops do not set policy. They are given orders and accomplish them at great risk to their lives, limbs and mental health which, sadly, you do not view as sacrifices. Do not foist your irritation with the government upon them. They are performing a difficult job the best they can and beyond expectations.

Your greatest error, though, lies in this sentence: “So let’s honor members of the military for their courage and honor when they demonstrate it, as they often do, in a just cause.”

Until now, you held that the current wars were unjustified. Unjustified. If every military action of the past decade was part of an unjust war, then how, by your logic, can the military be honored? Again, you conflate troops with national politics.

Our soldiers are honorable whether or not the cause is just. Later, you state that America should offer soldiers sympathy, not hero worship. They want neither. They chose to fight―— do not patronize them with sympathy. All they want is to know that the country they are fighting to protect will still welcome them home. Our military is not interchangeable with political goals. They fight to achieve them, but they are not equivalent. Take your anger out on the politicians who put America on what you call a “nonsensical mission” and who make “wrongheaded decision[s].” Keep the troops out of your misguided line of fire.

Shayler C. Pierson

Class of 2012

Commander, Detachment 225, Air Force ROTC

Sept. 15