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Support the troops, not the war

Letters to the Editor | Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My name is Chris, I am the student who was directly referred to in the letter to the editor (“Protestors Out of Line,” Mar. 20). During the Iraq War protest last Wednesday at the Fieldhouse Mall, I asked Meghan, the author of the letter, and her ROTC boyfriend to join the protest last Wednesday. Meghan, upon seeing you and your boyfriend, him in his military gear, my first impulse was to thank him for his service. I thanked him and offered, not yelled, for him to join us in opposition to the war, as I had every person that walked by the protest.

I understand you thought I was an ungrateful college student spitting on the soldiers on a mindless quest to peace. I want you to know that is not who I am and that is not what I represented on campus last Wednesday. Your anger seems justified since you believed we were holding signs, “complaining of Iraqi deaths brought about by American soldiers.” The sign read “655,000 Iraqis killed.” This number is of civilians, not opposition insurgents. We were by no means condemning the soldiers for their actions; we were calling attention to the collateral damage of war.

We do not blame the soldiers for that, we know they are doing the best job they can to protect the innocent in Iraq. Meghan, I have sent e-mails to soldiers thanking them, prior to yesterday, and will continue to do so (anysoldier.com). I am thrilled that you called this campus to action to do something to give back to the soldiers! But I will not allow you to condemn me for protesting this war.

Are you claiming that the war supporters on campus who crumpled up my flyers, or those in town that gave me the finger are somehow better than those of us protesting the war? I would be interested to see how many pro-war people on this campus have sent care packages or emails when it would take just a minute of their time amidst hours of Facebook, ESPN, and partying on the weekends.

Supporting the troops is not always supporting a war. It is about making sure this administration backs up its patriotism by offering health care and benefits to those affected by the war. It is about realizing that one in three homeless in this country are veterans. It is about understanding the political implications of our involvement in Iraq, and the long history of violence there that makes “victory” a very ambiguous term.

There are extremist protestors that make other protestors look bad, but there are also thousands of people protesting the war because a family member was killed overseas, because they are veterans of past wars, or because they believe in getting our troops out of a civil war.

It is time we stopped profiling all anti-war protestors, liberals, or anyone else who believes in some sort of withdrawal of troops, as country-hating, troop-hating extremists. These are people who care about their country, the reputation of their country around the world, and most of all the lives of their men and women in the military. “Support the Troops, Not the War

Chris Rhodenbaugh


St. Edward’s Hall

March 24