There is a reason why returned soldiers say 'never, ever go to war.'
There is a reason why they beg their sons not to go.
There is a reason why they commit suicide once they've come home to enjoy the peace.
There is a reason why 60 years later they cry at the recollection.
Here's an question for the Great Generation of World War Two: Would you rather be revered for being a participant or would you rather all your dead friends and relatives had lived?
Don't manoeuvre people into the peverse position of equating patriotism with losing sons and daughters in combat.
Don't conflate patriotism with nationalism.
A patriot fixes their own country and stands in direct opposition to nationalism.
A nationalist is one who uses patriotism to cloak ignorance, cowardice and a bellicose nature.
A nationalist doesn't ask if their country is wrong, or what is wrong with their county.
A patriot does.
Nationalists puff and bluster, but patriots have true passion.
Nationalism is mindless and serves no higher ideal.
Patriotism is constructive.
I am certain that the invasion of Iraq is the USA's greatest strategic blunder.
Militarily, economically and geopolitically.
But what did I expect from a bunch of people proclaiming 'Freedom' without understanding how it comes about.
The ideology behind the invasion was to trigger a domino effect of democratic liberalism throughout the middle east and sweep out despotism, inequity and barbarism. It would work because everyone wants to be free.
Right, so 'Freedom' means Democratic Liberalism.
Democratic Liberalism was born in the French Revolution. If everybody wants freedom (however you define it) why then did any number of European peoples oppose Napoleonic France?
Because nationalism is a stronger force than patriotism.
I saw a photo of a recuperating soldier meeting Dubbya. He was twenty five and the arm that wasn't prosthetic had only three fingers left. His remaining leg was scared and the stump of the other one was hidden by its prothesis. The fire that had consumed his head must have been a private hell: reconstructed lips, vestiges of ears and hairless scar tissue for skin.
Fifteen years from now when he turns forty he's gotta ask himself if it was worth it.
How many functioning limbs was a fair swap?
How many nightmares of burning?
How many pitying stares from his closest friends?
How many years of getting nothing but sympathy fucks from even prostitutes who blanche at his body?
How many aspirations, dreams and hopes rendered impossible by that roadside bomb?
But would he even make it to forty?
What about when he takes that gun a couple of years from now and thankfully finished the job, and the eulogists say that it was a bullet that just took 3 years to arrive', or that he was another 'sacrifice to the cause fo freedom', or a 'true patriot' because they are too cowardly to say 'suicide' or 'despair'?
Opposing the war while supporting the troops is a non-position.
If you support the troops you only send them to war when it is dead-set 100% neccesary. And you know when it's neccesary when those who sign the documents send their sons and go themselves.
Seventeen of the fifty six who signed the Declaration of Independence fought. Five were captured and nine were killed.
As for the Iraqi people, well here's an article from the future expressing disbelief and shock that a well dressed middle-class man blew himself up in Times Square. Seconds before he'd been seen crying and mumbling the names of his eight close relatives killed by US munitions. you can see the tears on the security footage released onto Youtube. the press will probably call it 'senseless' and 'cowardly'.