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Trouble differentiating between "Supporting Troops" and "Supporting the war"

CdnArtyWife

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I wanted to share with you a response to an recent post on another message board. The author of the post is having difficulty differentiating between "Supporting the Troops" and "Supporting the War". They feel that since soldiers don't decide when or where they go into action, but go where they are ordered, by supporting the troops, you are in essence, supporting the war effort. I was impressed with the way my hubby presented his argument (and very proud of him). I am wondering what your reaction to the email would have been.


I've weighed in on this topic before, though I 'm not going to wade through the search function and find what I've said I will make an effort to throw out a Readers Digest Version of my thoughts.

Please forgive me, I am writing this after an extended time from home, after an extended time awake, with 40 hours before I leave to do it again. (That was not a sympathy/empathy ploy, those are facts, those of us who will be in Afghanistan in the new year for six months are already up to our necks living and breathing the training and prepartation to get there.)


Not supporting "the war" is a personal and political decision, based on whatever factors make up your character and make you Canadian. And as a voter you can have a say. (as a soldier with 27 years in said to me recently "Don't like it, vote Liberal in a couple of months, they'll bring us home and remind everyone why it was a mistake, though everyone will have forgotten it was they who sent us...")
But supporting the Troops is also a personal decision based on whatever factors make up your character and make you Canadian. It can be as simple as not spitting on a Canadian soldier in an airport, or as simple as helping line the road leading to the base with yellow ribbons as they come home.

Personally, and maybe this is due to a lack of understanding, I don't support the 'war' in Afghanistan (surprised?). I remember hearing that more Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan now than in any other war since WWII. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Why are we fighting insurgency in Afghanistan? What good are we accomplishing there? What cause are Canadians dying for? Who benefits from winning this war? Is it even possible to win? 

The mission statement of the Candian Troops in Afghanistan has never wavered, we are there to add credibility and stability to the governing authority in the country of Afghanistan. Not warfighting. Yes we are trained to kick ***, and take names. And in the Wild West environment of Afghanistan that is a necessary thing, and it is a damn good thing that we are good at it. But we are also damn good at building schools, building infrastructure. We are not just fighting "an insurgency" (a little anti-US/IRAQ shading there) We are fighting an established terrorist regime, with skewed views of Islamic Law, and we are also fighting entrenched criminals and war lords who have profitted from the civil turmoil that has plagued Afghanistan for decades and who have kept the majority of the population dirt poor.
We as a respected and established HAVE country are providing opportunity for impoverished have-nots. We, as soldiers, believe in these ideals as it is one thing we cherish about Canada, and I don't think we have the morale high ground to let some casulaites take that away from others.

Who benefits? The 6 year old girl who goes to school for the first time and learns how to read. The fifty year old woman who will get to vote for the first time in her life and be treated as a human. The thrity year old mechanic who gets to do what he is trained to do because for so long there was no way for him to do, and he can finally support his family.
Who benefits? Canadians, we can say once Afghanistan takes fledgling steps as a recovering nation and we can say, yeah, we did that...

It seems counterproductive to fight religious fundamentalism with violence. Attacking the insurgents just seems to create a martyr complex which breeds more violence. Do Afghanis even want a democracy? I can think of 10 African countries who'd be better served by a peacekeeping force, or an installation of democracy. 

Peacekeeping is dead. We are no longer in between equally strong sides and keeping them apart. We are peacemakers, by whatever means necessary.
We are popluar in Afghanistan, average joe Afghan likes us and wants us there beacuse of what we mean. I don't know if Afghanistan wants democracy. They want freedom to pray the way they want and feed their children.

And you don't stop religious fanaticism by asking nice. You do whatever necessary to stop, interdict, and disrupt their operations, physically, and ideologically. As leaders we do not wnat to send our troops out into sustained combat because it is destructive not constructive, and there is more chance for body bags coming home. But sometimes you have to call a spade a spade and throat punch someone.

That said, I don't support our troops because our troops are enacting a mission I can't support. I empathize with the families and the soldiers themselves. I pray for the safe return of every soldier overseas. I wish Canadians weren't dying (seemingly) in vain. If there's a good reason that we're at war in Afghanistan, fill me in.

We are in Afghanistan because I believe we have a morale obligation to assist an impoverished society that has asked for our support. And because we can.

I don't care if you support us, though I'd like you to. Just as long as you remember that politicians and the public choose our missions, we freely choose the lifestyle.

/steps off soapbox/
 

GAP

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The replies were right on the money and you have reason to be proud of hubby for stating it so succinctly and accurately.

He's right, it does not matter whether they support the mission, but they should try to understand the reasoning behind it.
 

CdnArtyWife

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Here is the original post for context purposes:

Let me preface this by saying that I understand there are a lot of Military and Military-Family folks who post regularly. I don't intend to offend anyone, neither do I intend to belittle the line of work they've chosen, as we all know how very important it is to have a strong, brave, functioning military. I could never be in the CF simply because I don't have the guts. I fully respect the men and women who are willing to fight for Canada, but I don't respect the war.

Maybe this is because I don't personally know anybody in the CF, but I have a difficult time differentiating between "supporting our troops" and "supporting the war." As someone mentioned in the 'red friday' thread; the soldiers don't decide when/where they are deployed, but by telling the world that you "support the troops", are you not essentially telling the world that you're supporting the mission? I don't see the distinction. How do you support the troops if not by being of one mind -- unified by the cause?

Personally, and maybe this is due to a lack of understanding, I don't support the 'war' in Afghanistan (surprised?). I remember hearing that more Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan now than in any other war since WWII. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Why are we fighting insurgency in Afghanistan? What good are we accomplishing there? What cause are Canadians dying for? Who benefits from winning this war? Is it even possible to win?

It seems counterproductive to fight religious fundamentalism with violence. Attacking the insurgents just seems to create a martyr complex which breeds more violence. Do Afghanis even want a democracy? I can think of 10 African countries who'd be better served by a peacekeeping force, or an installation of democracy.

That said, I don't support our troops because our troops are enacting a mission I can't support. I empathize with the families and the soldiers themselves. I pray for the safe return of every soldier overseas. I wish Canadians weren't dying (seemingly) in vain. If there's a good reason that we're at war in Afghanistan, fill me in.
 

Booked_Spice

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For the past year and a bit since Hubby was on work up training and deployed to the sand box, I have had this battle.

His aunt comes to mind, we have had this similar discussion over and over again. She says she loves  her nephew and hopes he will come home but doesn't support the war.

I just wish once that she could what Hubby sees. If she could see the kids running up to the troops to shake their hands or the medical services we have provided to remote villages. The average Canadian does not see the good we are doing over there. This is because Grief sells within the media.

I remember a phone call home from Hubby when he first got to the sand box. They were doing a security check point and a couple of afghan kids came up to them. They went to shake some of the Troops hands. They were smiling. He said one little boy who was our daughters age, Thanked him for being there. This made his mission all the more important because this little boy reminded him of our daughter and he wishes that these children could have the same opportunities that our child has in Canada. He says one smile and one Thank you is all that matters.We are impacting their lives in a positive manner. We have built schools and recently a bridge for the people. However we do not see this on the news, all we see is the fighting and the lost of lives of our Brave men.
 
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aesop081

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Booked_Spice said:
For the past year and a bit since Hubby was on work up training and deployed to the sand box, I have had this battle.


If she could see the kids running up to the troops to shake their hands or the medical services we have provided to remote villages. The average Canadian does not see the good we are doing over there.

Why stop at those things ? Killing Taliban is also doing good over there is it not ? Doing something good doesnt just mean the "touchy feely" stuff.
 

Booked_Spice

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Yes it is however. We understand the impact of our soldiers fighting have on the country. But I don't think the average Canadian understands that. This is personal opinions,but Canadians have always been warm and fuzzy. I believe if they were to see the whole story, then they would understand the high costs our forces had to pay in order to bring stability to Afghanistan. All they see is violence and Death in the news so they associate this as we are loosing our men in "vain" but they don't understand the reasoning behind it. This is more important that they understand "why we are there"

The media has reported on our success with fighting the Taliban ( not accurately but they have) but besides the fighting and the killing of terrorists we have accomplished more. Personally I would like to see more positive things and see all aspects of how Canadians have impacted the life's of Afghanistan citizens in the media.

When hubby first was to go over, I honestly did not agree with it. The main reason is because I was uneducated. I didn't understand the whole picture. But as the tour progressed and with members help. I understand it and I support it. However with this said, My support for the Troops has never waivered.
 
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