So far most of my posts have been about healthcare reform, more or less, but today I want to bring up a totally different issue. This is something that means a great deal to me. For years now, I have worked hard to make sure that not one of our troops coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan ever feels the way I did when I came home from Vietnam. It is still just as vivid in my mind today as it was in 1973. I was walking through the LA Airport happier than I had been in a year. I was finally back in the continental United States. I had my sea bag on my shoulder and my flight bag in my hand. OK, maybe I was strutting a bit, after all, I was a 19 year old Marine in full uniform looking my best. Ahead of me I saw a group of young kids. I realize that they were all probably older than I was, but hey, they were civilians, I was very mature for my age. Combat will do that to you. Anyway, as I was walking past the group of kids, a girl stepped out from the group, called me a “Baby Killer” and spit on my uniform. She may have been aiming for my face, but it hit my little rack of ribbons and badges. She immediately tried to duck behind one of the guys in the group but he was doing his best to hide behind her. Of course my first impulse was to beat the crap out of all seven of them, but in the back of my mind a little voice was telling me that if I even showed anger, then they would have won. So, I bent down and put my flight bag on the floor and wiped off my uniform, picked up my bag and walked on.
Yes, I did my best to show no emotion at all toward the youngsters, but I can not tell you how much that hurt. I’ve been in therapy now for almost 20 years and I’ve been hospitalized twice. I like to joke about being crazy, but deep down it is no joke. For some reason in the late 60’s and early 70’s the public blamed the troops coming home for the mess that the politicians got us into. I work to make sure that the people of America don’t feel that way toward our troops today. Our armed forces are made up chiefly of young men and women that volunteered to serve their country and risk their own lives to defend our freedom.
I didn’t mean for this post to be a cry for sympathy for either our troops or me. My message today is this: Mr. President, either give the generals on the ground what they need to win this war or bring them home now. I don’t want to appear less of a patriot than I am and have always been. I hope the president takes the first option. Send enough troops and materiel to the Middle East to win this war once and for all. We need to show these terrorist cowards that we mean business and when we do finally leave there won’t be a wholesale slaughter of innocent people. We should destroy the Taliban completely and let the people of Iraq and Afghanistan a chance to set up a fair government for themselves. If we aren’t going to do that, then bring our troops home now. We should not shed one more drop of American blood unless we are committed to building a stable, secure nation in those countries. We have already been at war now for 8 years. That is already too long. Let’s do it right or get the hell out!
To steal a line from Forrest Gump, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
John A. Wilson
Conservative Action Project