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May 1, 2003

My commentary for this issue is the sequel to last issue's "FOR THE RIGHT REASONS: PART 1 - A CALL TO ACTION.

During the tenure of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, it became a "no-brainer" to me, having some ambivalence about the "war effort" against Saddam Hussein, that I would not protest against my country during this critical time, even though there were some doubts about the veracity & need to launch what some would call a "pre-emptive strike" to eliminate the potential use of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) while others would call it "revenge for 9-11" or an extension of defending our national security interests. No matter how real or flimsy the justification, our Congress failed to exercise its constitutional prerogative of declaring war on the dictatorial regime of Iraq & instead relied on its usual spineless Congressional resolutions in tandem with our President's Executive Orders. America was going to fight against Iraq no matter if the process was flawed or not. Yet the American people did do something very different that it had not done on the same level & intensity since World War II -- they supported their troops.

Many on the liberal left as well as most of the conservative right & those in the middle did agree on one thing -- it was important to support our troops -- no matter how they might have felt about the war's justification. This was important for different reasons. The most obvious reason was that the nearly 300,000 uniformed military personnel were not strangers but came from hundreds of thousands of American families who witnessed their sons or daughters or husbands or wives or uncles or nieces or cousins or neighbors from their communities get the call to action to liberate the people of Iraq, to overturn a despotic dictatorial regime, & to locate & destroy any WMD. Maybe the American people had finally learned how important it was to support their uniformed soldiers, sailors, & pilots. Memories of Gulf War I were still prominent in the minds of many from 12 years earlier & there was great patriotic fervor & support at that time, yet we were not able to "finish the war". Yet only 3 decades earlier, America could not come to terms with how to handle their troops from the Vietnam War. The Korean War also produced similar anxiety when we, the American people, were not allowed to achieve a military victory against communist aggression, by whatever political means, just like in Vietnam. Of course we probably should not have been fighting in Vietnam in the first place but it can also be argued that we did slow down the spread of communism for awhile. It seems, in retrospect, that achieving a total victory & supporting our troops come "hand-in-hand". It seems that, this time, the American people wanted to do the right thing for their young men & women in uniform -- GIVE THEM COMPLETE MORAL SUPPORT -- so that those brave ones can achieve military success, because this time, we Americans had felt the sting of the terrorists on our homeland & we did not like it at all. There is nothing more psychologically disturbing in the minds of our young troops than to question the validity of their mission by having tumult & protest back home against their actions & presence overseas.

There will be some true conscientious objectors & maybe some perennial pacifists who will decry, "Why support the troops when they can be ordered to turn their guns on us, if given the orders, because, this time, they are all volunteers instead of being draftees from the cross-section of America." This is a good point & I will try to counterpoint it. Our troops are analogous to employees in a corporation or low level public employees within the government sector. They are paid to do what they are told but should always be cognizant of the laws they should not break while performing their jobs. The upper level bureaucrats of the corporate hierarchy or policy makers of government circles are the ones calling the shots & giving the orders. If an unlawful policy, order, directive, or command is given, then those employers or leaders are the ones that SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. Only God can practically hold the "underlings" personally responsible later down the road in the hereafter. I remember the shootings of the students at Kent State University in Ohio in 1970 by National Guardsmen, so the objections & concerns raised by some are valid, regardless of whether the students threw the first stone or not or if the young Guardsmen prematurely fired or not or if a lawful order was given or not. Yes, those things sometime happen, but so could an innocent be killed by a police officer or fire department personnel in the course of them doing their jobs. Luckily it's not that widespread, but any innocent killed is too many & reality shows us that sometimes "things happen", to put it politely. It is up to us to try to prevent those unfortunate situations with proper training & individual vigilance & respect for the law. After all, our Constitution guarantees us the Right to PEACEFULLY assemble, not to cause disruption to others while we parade theatrically on the streets or trespass on others' properties or impede others doing their jobs. Those rights & other rights we have are maintained by the results of the efforts of our troops allegedly fighting to protect our freedoms. I will give our troops the benefit of the doubt until facts are proven otherwise. I will support our troops until they decide or are given orders to fire upon me. I want our troops to be not only the best trained & best equipped but also the best morale supported troops they can be, because they are fighting for me & my freedoms, regardless of whether they are volunteers or draftees.

It is obvious to me now that we probably did the right thing, for the most part, in overturning the regime of Saddam Hussein & liberating the Iraqi people, halfway around the world. It was heartwarming to see many Iraqis publicly thanking our soldiers & "Mr. Bush" while toppling the dictator's statues in public squares in Baghdad & in other cities in Iraq. I hope we find the WMD & destroy them. I had tears of joy when our POWs were rescued & brought home. I shed tears of sadness when recalling the American soldiers who died for the freedom of others. I hope our troops come home soon when their job is done. I believe we achieved military success against the terrorists in Afghanistan & Iraq because the American people wanted their troops to succeed. That intangible moral support for our troops is probably the most potent weapon in our arsenal for freedom because it comes voluntarily from a free people in order to show others the light of liberty & to give others freedom & hope.

Freedom Writer

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