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Thursday, May 13

Is It Patriotic to Oppose a War?

I kept my mouth shut pretty much during the Afghanistan invasion although it made me ill. I was still in shock from 9/11 though and here in NY our roads were blocked, we had National Guardsmen at checkpoints with automatic weapons, sounds of sirens always blaring and of course the gritty, sticky film from the WTC towers permeating our homes and our nostrils. It reminded me of one of those futuristic movies about NY and I felt I was living in the twilight zone long after most of the country got back to normal. Funeral processions going past my house almost daily for about 3 months was the norm. People accuse me of forgetting. LOL. People write to me from all over the place asking me if I forgot.. hell no! duh. It was a horror.

It's no secret that I am vehemently opposed to the war in Iraq. I am opposed to it on many levels. I am opposed because we rushed into it and didn't take care to properly equip our soldiers with the proper armor, I am opposed because we rushed into it period and I am opposed to it because there was no plan or exit strategy and of course because Saddam was not an imminent threat and a multitude of other reasons, not to mention I lived during the Vietnam quagmire and remember that quite well. This whole "religious war" theme also really freaks me out. I have all the information and facts here that support my reasoning on this blog so I am not going to reiterate it.

I am under attack from people for being unpatriotic for my stance. I get flack daily. I really don't give a shit though because I need to exercise my first amendment right as long as we still have it.... sort of. I back up my arguments with facts and statistics as much as I can. I don't go around saying we should 'nuke the bastards' like many of those who support the war say. They can't back up their statements with facts at all. The pro-war people seem to be way more emotional than us anti-war people. My emotional response to the war is based on reasoning and fact finding. I find that most anti-war people are loaded with information about the false assumptions that led up to the war. We know that never before in the history of this country did we go to war based on intelligence (?) alone. If I really believed and knew for a fact that another country was about to invade us, then hell yeah, I wouldn't be protesting the war. I wouldn't be an avid supporter but you wouldn't hear a peep from me.

Here are some results from a PEW Poll:

Is Criticism of the War Patriotic?

Nearly half of Americans (49%) say that criticism of how the war is being handled is neither patriotic or unpatriotic, while the other half divides evenly on the question (22% say it is unpatriotic, 23% say it is patriotic). Not surprisingly, views about criticism are highly partisan and strongly related to views about the war itself, with 43% of conservative Republicans saying critics of the war are unpatriotic, while just 6% of liberal Democrats agree. Interestingly, more male veterans than non-veterans weigh in on either side of the patriotism debate, though there is no agreement on the issue: 27% of male veterans say such criticism is unpatriotic, while 31% view it as patriotic.

Those who say criticism of the handling of the war is either patriotic or unpatriotic were asked why they feel this way. Several themes run through comments by people who see criticism as unpatriotic. Many mention the need to support the troops, or the idea that criticism undermines their efforts. A typical comment was that criticism is wrong "because it's a smack in the face to those boys over there." Mentions of George W. Bush and the need to support the president in time of war were also very common. "I just think you should stand by what your president does. He wouldn't send our boys to war to fight for our freedom for no reason," said one respondent.

Those who said criticism is patriotic tended to stress the principle of freedom of speech. "Patriotism is your ability to disagree," said one respondent. Another said that criticism is patriotic "because this country is founded on the idea that you can express opinions which are unpopular." Many people said we need to hear the criticism in order to avoid costly mistakes. One person remarked that "knowing the truth will prevent another Vietnam."
I hear the one about supporting our president in a time of war the most often around here. It doesn't fly with me. I need facts and figures.

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