Saturday, April 17, 2004

Messing With The Wrong Woman

My dear friend Barbara has a personality so intense and so powerful that, when I first met her, I came away thinking she was a foot taller than she is. In fact she is a 4'11" towering force of righteousness, and I've seen her raise welts with a single, calm, well-placed word. She pretty much uses those powers for good - but you don't want to get on her bad side. Everybody who knows her, knows that.

So I'm sure that it must have been a complete stranger who met Barbara's insufficient praise of Bush's press conference performance with accusations that she doesn't "support the troops." I'm going to let her take it from here:
I don't support the troops? I beg your pardon? Lady, there has not been a single day in my forty eight years I have not had at least one family member in service in the US military.

I am sick unto death of this obscene linking of the current administration and the troops.

My father, brothers, husbands, son, daughters and sons-in-law have all served or are now serving in uniform. I've spent most of my life supporting the troops, I gave birth to some of those troops. I've fed them, pressed their uniforms, sent them mail across the world, and prayed their next set of orders would not send them into harm's way.

I was a platoon sargent's wife when I was nineteen years old. I've sat through more family briefings on field exercises and deployments than you can imagine. I was raised in military housing at the end of runways on bases you never heard of, and I raised my children in places just like that as well. I had a dependent's ID card before I was allowed to drive.

I had a dependent's ID card when I went to apply for food stamps to keep my kids fed. My grandchildren got WIC program benefits because their father, on active duty, made so little they met the financial guidelines.

Support the troops? You bet your ass I support the troops.

I support their right to a decent wage. I support their right to be properly equipped. Soldiers in some units bought their Kevlar armor on Ebay, lady. Where was your support? Yellow ribbons and uplifting songs about kicking a little ass don't deflect shrapnel.

I support their right to expect their sacrifices will not be abused by cuts in VA hospital services. I support their right, God forbid, to have the planes bringing home the dead covered by the media so that the people can see and honor them.

Support the troops? I support their desperate hope they will be led by competent officers and directed by intelligent, compassionate politicians. I wish to hell I thought more people supported the troops as fiercely as I do.