Posted earlier at
A former student of mine signed up with the Marines the day after 9/11. We all supported him; I'm sure you know some "9/11" recruits yourselves. He signed up to defend his country after a hideous attack. He thought he was going to Pakistan or Afghanistan to catch Bin Laden and his crew. Instead he was shipped to Iraq in the initial invasion. Walked from Kuwait to Baghdad and looped south again. Came home for a visit. Went back again and was in Falujah. Home again now and we expect a visit today or tomorrow. Then he's being shipped out a THIRD TIME for Iraq.
Those who say "these kids should have known what they were signing up for" are evading the issue. The issue is not whether to fight or not.
J, and his generation signed up to fight terrorists, to put themselves between the enemy and our beloved homes. Instead they have been used in a sideshow that has only recruited more support for Bin Laden. Bush's invasion of Iraq has given aid and comfort to the enemy.
Ironically, I demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq, but now I cannot in good conscience call for an immediate withdrawal. In the words of the not-quite-courageous-enough-to-resign Colin Powell, If You Break It, You Own It. The initial invasion was a mistake that will cost us for years to come. It would be even more monstrous if, like drunken fratboys, we were to say, "gee, sorry we trashed your house, not fun anymore, gotta go now."
The war on terror IS being mismanaged, and lives ARE being wasted, and we are clumsily losing the battle for hearts and minds and bombs in the Middle East. Let's deal with that instead of complaining about the messenger's style.
SOURCES FOR THE NUMBERS ABOVE: "The amount is based on the National Priorities Project analysis of what Congress has allocated for the Iraq War. To date, four supplemental requests have been made by the Administration for funding, and Congress has appropriated funding with minor changes. The first included approximately $54.4 billion for the Iraq War (enacted in April 2003); the second $70.6 billion (enacted November 2003), the third $21.5 billion (passed as part of regular appropriations for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2005); and the fourth $58 billion (enacted April 2005). "