Friday, June 22, 2007

They Knew What They Were Getting Into

The stupidest comment I hear in defense of the Iraqi war is that soldiers “knew what they were signing up for” when they joined the military. While true on its face, it is also disingenuously false because it only looks at the personal responsibility side of the equation, a favorite hobby horse of the far right.

What these commentators overlook, I think intentionally, is the bargain our volunteer citizen soldiers have made with the leaders of our nation, not to mention the citizens of our great nation. In the decades after the Vietnam war the understood but unspoken bargain was this:

I will serve you. I will protect you and our nation. I will sacrifice for you. While you sleep, I will stand lonely vigil. I will willingly walk my post on foreign soils so your children are not forced to.

In return I ask only this: that you do not waste my sacrifice in foolish endeavors; that you stand behind me as you lead me; that, when all is said & done, I can be as proud of your conduct, restraint & judgment as you will be of mine.

We, as a country, have failed every man & woman in uniform.

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