Troops need more than words

The front page, above the fold, of today’s Grand Rapids Press:

In the article:

Cedar Springs resident Steve Larsen, 43, considers the debate both a waste of time and a disservice to the troops.

Larsen, a former member of the Howell-based 1462nd Transportation Co., returned in February 2005 after 10 months of convoy duty in Iraq. He earned a Purple Heart when he was hit by shrapnel in his leg and groin in July 2004. Larsen retired after more than 21 years with the Guard.

Larsen believes the politicians against the war should have the courage to vote on more than non-binding resolutions. If they oppose the war, they should vote to stop funding it.

“I think this nonbinding resolution is cowardly,” Larsen said. “This is sad. So many have put their lives on hold and put their lives on the line only to have certain politicians take advantage of it.

“I never hear anyone say, ‘Let’s win this thing.'”

Larsen, for one, calls criticism of the war more than irritating. He believes it makes it harder for soldiers to do their jobs.

“It does wear on you after a while. You are sending the right message to our enemy and the wrong message to our soldiers.”


While I do absolutely believe that it’s possible to “support the troops but not the war”, I also believe that very few who claim to do so actually support the troops. They simply lack the personal courage to admit that they believe their political beliefs overcome support for anyone or anything that is at odds with how they think things should be.

Remember, 22% of Americans personally hope the strategy in Iraq fails. For it to fail, of course, a lot of US troops will need to die. Many more Iraqi troops, and even more Iraqi civilians, will also have to die. But 22% of America thinks it’s worth all those additional Americans and Iraqis dying if it means the failure of the plan.

But, as usual, don’t question their patriotism or their support for the troops.


  1. One of the first catalyzing events for my change from a pretty thorough leftist into this weird left-right/libertarian neocon(?) thing was a moment a couple years back. I remember seeing the headline ‘We Got Him’ the day Saddam was captured, and thinking, ‘Damn it! That’ll help Bush in the reelection.’ A day later, I realized the implications of that statement, and I’m still slightly ashamed by that. I had let my personal dislike of the man shape my whole worldview, and I learned a valuable intellectual lesson that day. You don’t have to crow the troops’ praises. You don’t have to say ‘Yes, sir!’ and follow the POTUS wherever he goes. But you, as an elected member of Congress, damn well better not actively work against them. I generally respect a crafty politician, but there’s something deeply despicable about calling for a change in policy and then voting against it while mens’ lives are on the line.