A Badge of Dishonor
posted at 9:07 pm on November 16, 2010 by Cassy Fiano
Not everyone supports the war in Afghanistan. It’s annoying, considering that people who spoke out against the war in Iraq claimed that the reason was because we should be fighting in Afghanistan. Now we are fighting in Afghanistan, and people are talking about how we should pull out of there too. It’s not surprising, but it’s still annoying.
When you discover that some of the people saying we shouldn’t be there turn out to be family members of our troops, it’s infuriating. Imagine my surprise when I find out that family members of the Marines in my husband’s unit, currently deployed to Afghanistan, have been saying these things.
There are several online forums, mostly on Facebook, for unit family members to try to keep informed. They aren’t official unit pages, but family members can go on there to talk to each other and try to find support or keep themselves infomed. I’ve been noticing over the past few weeks that there have been a lot of comments about how we shouldn’t be there, that it’s a lost cause, and that we just need to bring them all home. I’ve noticed that, for some reason, it’s mainly moms saying these things, too. And while it’s a very small number of unit family members saying these things, I’ve quite frankly had enough.
My husband calls home and every now and then, he’s demoralized. He’s tired, he’s hungry, he’s dirty. Marines in his unit have been killed, and other Marines have been injured. He misses me, he misses being home, and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. I tell him, every time, that I support him and his mission. That I’m waiting for him. And I remind him of why he joined the Marine Corps, why he was willing to fight. I remind him of what he’s fighting for. It lifts his morale and it gives him his motivation back.
When their sons call and tell them the same thing that my husband tells me, I wonder what these women tell them. Do they get told about how we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan? Do they get told about how we should pull out? Do they get told that this war is not worth fighting? I can only hope they keep their opinions to themselves — or that their sons never see their comments on Facebook — because what they are basically telling their sons is that their sacrifice is meaningless in their eyes, that the deaths of their fellow Marines were meaningless. I can only imagine how demoralizing it must be to know that the family you have back home, the people you likely are fighting for, don’t support you and the sacrifice you’re making.
One mom mentioned that she had asked everyone she knew what they thought about the “debate”, about whether or not Afghanistan was a lost cause that we should just pull out of. She somehow was puzzled that none of the military men in her family would comment. Gee, I wonder why.
Do they not get it? You cannot support the troops without supporting their mission. It’s as simple as that. And of all people who don’t support our Marines and their mission, the family members of those Marines should be their most ardent supporters. It breaks my heart sometimes. As it’s been explained to me by my husband and various other Marines, they don’t think America hates them. They think that America just doesn’t care. I used to argue so passionately against that, but I’m starting to think I know where that attitude comes from.
I remember sitting in an algebra class in high school when the speakers crackled overhead telling all faculty to stop what they were doing and turn the televisions on in every classroom. A plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings. We were stunned, but just assumed it was a mistake. Then we watched as another plane flew into the second tower, and it suddenly became clear. It became very clear. The next few days were emotional and terrifying. I spent much of 9-11 crying, like most of the students at my school. I cried in the days that followed, watching footage of people jumping to their death to escape the fiery inferno inside the towers. I cried hearing of the heroism of the passengers on Flight 93. I cried listening to the phone calls of passengers who knew they were going to die and wanted to tell their loved ones “I love you” one more time. I cried for the heroes who ran into the buildings while everyone else was running out. The country, as a whole, wept and grieved and vowed to never let this happen, ever again. I, along with many other Americans, knew that this meant war. Many people, my husband among them, reacted to the horror of 9-11 by joining the military. They wanted to fight for their country, to avenge the deaths of their countrymen, and to make sure that this never happened again.
Islamic extremists have been trying to kill us for more than 30 years now. During the Carter presidency, American embassy staff were held hostage in Iran. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut were bombed, killing almost 250 American servicemen. There was the first WTC bombing in 1993. In Somalia, also in 1993, 18 American troops were killed and the body of one was dragged through the streets while Somalians cheered. In 1996, an Air Force housing complex was bombed in Saudi Arabia. US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. The USS Cole bombing happened in the year 2000. All of these attacks were perpetrated by violent Muslim extremists. 9-11 didn’t come out of nowhere. It was a long time coming. We ignored what we saw happening for over 30 years and pretended that if we just left them alone they would stop trying to kill us. It culminated in the worst attack on American soil ever on 9-11.
But now, with almost 10 years without any attacks on American soil, people are already calling for us to stop the fight. It’s not from lack of trying — from the shoe bomber to the underwear bomber to the Times Square bomber, they’ve kept on trying to kill us. Luckily, we’ve been able to thwart those attacks. You’d think it would be a reminder that this war isn’t over, and that it won’t be over until we eradicate the threat of Islamic terrorism. Did anyone really think we could do that in just a few years? It’s going to take time, it’s going to take a lot of sacrificing. We’ve got a 30 year mess to clean up. For some of us though, it’s a sacrifice worth making.
This is why my husband and I both support this mission. We choose to support it. I am five months pregnant and I don’t want my son to ever have to go through a 9-11. We want a better future than this for our children. We can stand up to this threat, finally, or we can ignore it like we did for the last 30 years and let our children deal with it. Which do you support? Me personally, I’d rather take care of this now, even with the sacrifice that requires, than pass the buck on to my children to carry and endure.
Others, I guess, actually were content to pass the buck onto their children, and now they find the sacrifice too great. The solution for them is apparently to keep hiding their heads in the sand and just let their grandchildren handle it 20 years from now. I find that unacceptable.
The worst part about this, though, is that people who should be supporting our troops more than anyone else apparently cannot. These are our brothers, our sons, our husbands, and while it’s annoying when ordinary Americans can’t support our troops, it’s unforgivable in my book for family members of our troops to not support them. If this is how they feel, then they need to keep their mouths shut and their opinions to themselves until this is all over and done with. Can you imagine how unmotivating it must be to know that your own family doesn’t support what you’re fighting for? I can’t think of anything more demoralizing. To me, this is a badge of dishonor. We have one Cindy Sheehan. We don’t need any more.