Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Acknowledging sacrifices

Public opinion is very important. The way people perceive something has long term effects on how it will turn out. It’s called the power of positive thinking…or alternately negative thinking.

This is especially true during a war, or times of social unrest.

All aspects are discussed, either in a positive light or a negative light depending on whose doing the talking.

And both sides tend to talk in black and white.

Many only want one picture to emerge about the American Soldier: that out of a sense of duty, he is patriotically defending his country. It seems they to want to leave out a lot of the negative aspects of war, like fear, homesickness, pain, etc.

Now while I can understand their position, just like the US Army recruiters aren’t going to include in their recruitment spiel: “By the way, there is chance you will get killed,” I think they should acknowledge the “warts and all” picture.

If they don’t acknowledge it, they are downplaying the sacrifice soldiers make. They are also dehumanizing soldiers, not into killer-bots, like some extreme left groups like to portray them, but as one dimensional.

If we don’t acknowledge the difficulties, how can we really understand how hard they worked to succeed in their missions despite the adversity? How can we truly give them the respect and acknowledgement, if we gloss over the sacrifices and disappointments?

Things in Iraq aren’t so cheery. It’s bad bongos there. But war is generally bad bongos. (And no, the war isn’t over. When there are soldiers dying everyday from enemy contact, the war isn’t over.) There is this tendency to want to gloss over the bad sides, and focus on the good. However, this discredits those who are working hard there everyday, the Iraqi security forces, and contractors and coalition forces.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will Iraq. It is going to take years and years of hard work there if lasting improvement is to root.

I found a few accounts that I think portray the mental and physical challenges of security forces in Iraq, but how they don’t give up in the face of these different forms of adversity: TJ, a security contractor in Iraq in a post about Iraqi police, Sminklemeyer, Buffbabe220, Red2Alpha, all US soldiers.


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