Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What would you say?

A few days ago I put an ad up on craigslist, hoping to find some people in the area who would like to hang out with me. I tried to be succint, but I did mention that I would not vote for the Iraq War, in case politics mattered to any of the people who responded. Here's what I got in my mailbox today:

could you tell me why you wouldnt vote for the iraqi war? its operation iraqi freedom, not the 'lets take out all the iraqi's.

just wondering. a lot of people have misconceptions about this war. my husband and i are both iraqi war veterans. he has been 2 times, about to go on his 3rd tour, and i am about to go on my 2nd. i am a full supporter.

just wondering...

oh and btw, a lot of people who want us to pull out of the country now and come home do not realize that the equipment that is over there cannot be moved in such a short period of time, and we, as a country, would lose over 23million dollars worth of equipment which would greatly affect us as a nation. im a full supporter of our President.

I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. After all--it's easy for me to rant and rave against the Iraq War, but I have never actually defended my views against someone who could also logically, rationally take each opinion and crush it into the dust. At first I thought I should just not respond--this could turn into a flame war very quickly. But I wanted to explain to someone that my offhand comment was more than just a flippant remark. So in the end, this is what I wrote:

Thanks for emailing me and letting me explain myself. I put that on there because I wanted to indicate to people that I'm a liberal, in case political opinions mattered to someone who might respond. I appreciate your taking the time to email instead of just flaming me! :)

I have never supported the Iraq war, because I feel that the reasons given for going there were not good. I do not feel that this war is making America "safer"--if anything, I feel as though it is stirring up support for terrorist organisations. I also do not believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for September 11th, although he probably celebrated along with the rest of the radical Islamic world. From my limited grasp of history in that region, the US helped put Saddam in charge, and I feel--very strongly--that we have no right to charge in and take over a soverign nation. America had a revolution and we set up the type of government that we wanted, we must let other countries do the same. It's not easy watching military dictators and madmen be in charge, but there is a lot of religious and secular history in that area that we simply don't understand. You and I live in a country where we are allowed to have different opinions and religion, but not every country in the world works like that. Naturally, I know that America has to protect her interests and her people. I'm not saying I know how to do that without getting involved overseas militarily--I do not--but I also feel that the direction our president has taken is the wrong direction. He has a difficult job, and I respect that, but we have very different responses when people and organizations threaten our country.

On the other hand, I am also very aware of the difficult job that US soldiers have in Iraq. My father is a Vietnam-era veteran, and so I have a tremendous respect for soldiers, especially people who are my own age and who have made the decision to serve their country. I respect you by taking the time to learn about the war: I read the news, note the casualty lists, learn about the history and influences of the region, so that when I speak up and say "I do not support this war" I am well-informed in doing so. I hear about the good things going on in Iraq, the schools and hospitals re-opening, and I know that there will be people there for generations who speak fondly of Americans. I know that this war is Operation Iraqi Freedom--but the freedom that we enjoy is still a long way away for the people of that region. It is coming sooner, thanks to the service of people like yourself, but in my own personal opinion, the trade-off is too high.

Obviously, we disagree about that, however, and I hope no matter what our different opinions might be, we can at least stand back and agree that we live in a beautiful country that is worth fighting for. So many people I know joked about moving to Canada if President Bush was re-elected, but I always said that was ridiculous. This is my country too, and I am going to work hard to make it the best it can be.

Again, thanks for taking the time to email me. I hope that I haven't irritated you too much. :) I hope that your deployment, and your husband's deployment is uneventful, and no matter what you have my gratitude for representing our country in Iraq.

And I stand by every word. Great country, shite war. But we Americans are nothing of not optimistic.


Peter said...

You know, this is the exact reason you have a masters and I am an engineer. I couldn't put words together like that. It was fascinating. I hope the other person responds and you two don't get into a flame war. It sounds like two people well informed talking. While I agree with your view on the war, I can also understand hers. Luxemburg-Casco lost two soldiers already, that town is like 1000 people, crazy. Anyway, your posts are getting better since you moved to VA.

Peter said...

One more comment, 23 million in lost equipment, that's her argument? We spend something like 2 billion a day over there, sounds like a deal to me.

Laura said...

12 billion, but yeah. I agree with Peter. And it's not like we can't get new equipment. The budget for the military never has to face the kind of cuts people in other forms of service to the country have to deal with.