January 12, 2014
There are thoughts the media expresses and then there are thoughts we in the veteran community believe with all out hearts. Wars are begun for all sorts of reasons but the reason the men and women fighting those wars never changes. They do it for each other. It is never neat or clean. It is brutal. War fighters are willing to risk their lives for each other no matter what reason sent them there.
The war itself may have begun for worthless reasons but their lives were never worth less because they were willing to do everything so that someone else could live.
Reading Jake Tapper Is Getting Attacked For Saying What Many Are Thinking About Afghanistan (PAUL SZOLDRA, Business Insider JAN. 11, 2014) the divide between civilians and military families became crystal clear.
On CNN Jake Tapper was talking about the movie "Lone Survivor" when he said "I was torn about the message of the film in the same way that I think I am about the war in Afghanistan itself. I don’t want any more senseless American death. And at the same time I know that there were bad people there and good people that need help."
Tapper answered his own question without knowing it. "Good people need help" and that is why people join the military. With each war it was not about nations but about people. The people who live there, and in a sense, the ones living right here. WWI and WWII were about people living on the other side of the world and thinking about what would happen if Germany and Japan won. Korea and Vietnam were about helping the people of those countries and defending their lands. The Gulf War was because of the people of Kuwait. Afghanistan and Iraq were about what happened here.
No matter the basic reasons for starting wars, they are the ones doing the hard part. The rest of the population gets to say they approve of starting wars but then their attention turns to something else. Sooner or later they their support vanishes and they want the war over.
Wouldn't it be great if as soon as they wanted it over the troops packed up and left? It doesn't happen that way because the military leaders always have to ask the "what if" questions the public has no patience to even wonder about.
The public reads what reporters want them to know. They will read about a politician or veteran speaking about a war and assume that is all there is to the story but it all goes so much more deeper than just what one person says.
If you ask a veteran why they wanted to join the military, they will give you many different reasons. Each one of them can be countered if you ask them one question. Why were you willing to die? Because the truth is serving their country could be done by a long list of occupations but they made the military choice. The honest answer is "for my buddy" or "the guys I was with" and once they understand that, then the reason they went become clear and the rest doesn't matter as much as civilians say it does.
We should always question the worthiness of the war but we should always question the plans for the war. We don't. As soon as things go wrong, the public should be asking about what is plan B and why haven't they done it. When they say it will be a quick war but goes on for years, the public needs to ask who is being held accountable. When they say they are taking care of the wounded the public needs to be paying attention to what the truth really is.
Once we approve of sending them, we need to be committed to them and pay attention because "good people need help" and they went.
Tell Me Again, Why Did My Friends Die In Iraq? (Business Insider,PAUL SZOLDRA, JAN 4 2014) is a heartbreaking account, asking questions that need to be answered, but at the bottom of the article this came out.
"The only reason they died was for the man or woman beside them. They died for their friends."
It was followed by "I’m just not satisfied with that" and he won't be until there are people held accountable for the war in Iraq. If we are honest then we would have demanded accountability for ever war ever fought by the men and women sent to do the job. We don't take war seriously enough to fight hard enough for that to be done and we leave them wondering "for what" instead of "for who."