True Allegiance

Randy Grider
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Anti-war or anti-American?

Like many people, I’ve paid close attention to the rhetoric surrounding the war with Iraq, and I believe there’s a strong undercurrent of views and opinions that border on being more the latter.

I’m not really talking about the debacle surrounding such insignificant people as Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks who denounced President Bush at a concert in London. Her stupid comment about being ashamed of the president amounts to very little because she didn’t have the guts to stand behind her opinion when the country group’s record sales dropped faster than the Iraqi defenses.

At least filmmaker Michael Moore stood his ground after making similar comments at this year’s Oscars. Don’t get me wrong. I think Moore’s comments were just as political, opportunistic and unpatriotic as Maines’, but at least his views were expressed in the fantasy world of Hollywood.

I’ve read some good opinions – pro and con – about the war on various trucking message boards. A couple of truckers have called and chatted with me about the war. Both drivers said they feel that, as Americans, we should stand behind our troops and our country.

Can one be against the war but for America’s troops? Radio talk show personality Tom Marsland feels if you apply logic, it’s impossible. In a recent column titled, “Professor De Genova’s Moral Clarity,” Marsland wrote, “Common sense does not allow one to say ‘I am opposed to the war, but I support the troops.” Marsland argues that foundational principles of logic don’t allow one to “be against rain but for moisture,” “against the military but for a secure defense,” or “hate what America stands for whilst enjoying its benefits.”

I agree in part with Marsland. You can argue before a war starts about whether there is a just cause for conflict to settle the matter. Once a war begins, you can’t be against the war, but for the troops fighting it. The troops are not fighting to lose so if you are honestly supporting them, you would want them to win. You could argue that you are for the safe return of the soldiers, but the only way for them to return safely is to win or quit. If they quit are you merely supporting their existence?

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Marsland’s column was centered around Nicholas De Genova, the untenured associated professor at Columbia University in New York City who recently called for “a million Mogadishus” – a reference to the 1993 Somalia ambush that left 18 U.S. soldiers dead. De Genova set up his disturbing diatribe with, “The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military.”

Marsland’s point was that De Genova left no wiggle room for double talk. “[De Genova] hates America and our troops and has told us so. He is a traitor to America, but not to his own conscience.”

I found De Genova’s views to be disgusting, but at least we know where he stands. He said he wanted our troops to fail and die. He is easily identifiable as anti-American. There are a lot of messages being spewed forth in this country that are embedded in rhetoric but are just as anti-American. It’s pretty scary to think that there are a large number of people out there – many in high-profile positions – who hate our country and what it stands for, but hide behind the protection it provides in the name of free speech. In my opinion, it’s treasonous when someone openly advocates this country’s downfall.

I believe there is a difference in being anti-war and anti-American. Anti-war is an argument that there is an alternative solution to solving a problem. But once a final call has been made to take up arms, then one can’t play the middle.

History has taught us that we can’t fight a war half heartily. And just as important, one’s allegiance to its outcome can’t be split – you can’t put a foot in both camps.