Iraq: New meaning of "Support the Troops"


We’re not up on all the aspects of Fayette history, but we’d wager a guess that this weekend might present the first time ever that a march has been scheduled downtown to urge the return of U.S. troops from a war.

Such an act would have been unthinkable three years ago when just 139 Americans had died in the Iraq conflict and millions of citizens believed we were attacking Iraq due to 9/11. It still wouldn’t have been tolerated two years ago when the U.S. death toll stood at 740 and “support the troops” meant blundering forward and repeating the same tactical mistakes again and again.

Last year at this time, a rally in Fayette might have been met with a counter march across the street by citizens who understood patriotism to mean support of the president no matter what. At that time, the death toll of American troops stood at 1,586 and the country was becoming ill at ease about the situation. Support for the war was dropping, right along with support for the president.

Now, with the death toll matching the entire population of Morenci, 2,390, (including 19 troops in the last 10 days) and more than 60 percent of the nation expressing disapproval with the president’s handling of the war, perhaps a “bring the troops home now rally” will succeed in a small Midwestern town.

Dissenters aren’t always right, but in the case of the Iraq war, it’s been the policy makers in Washington who have been wrong time and time again.

Rarely does a week go by without a former government figure coming forward to point out, for example, that the administration was fully aware that the Niger uranium claims were bogus or that the alleged mobile weapons labs were nothing.

Critics of the war have pointed out these fallacies for years, back when the conflict was still young and, in some cases, before it started. However, the majority of the country bought into the lines about “a cakewalk” and “welcoming us with flowers” and predictions that it wouldn’t cost much nor would it last for more than a few weeks. As time goes by, more and more Americans are questioning those statements along with the very premise of launching an unprovoked attack based on the faulty use of intelligence.

To many Americans, supporting the troops no longer equates to supporting the war. It  even goes beyond the issues of inadequate body armor and the health care problems the wounded experience when returning home. In April 2006, supporting the troops has begun to mean “Bring them home!”