I'll be honest, as a writer its incredibly flattering that people like the Rhino Den, Ranger Up, Blackfive, or This Ain't Hell pick up my stuff, mention me, or otherwise agree with me on really anything. If I had a tail I'd probably be just like my Ridgebacks knocking over everything behind me and thwacking people with the "wagging tail of death". It really feels that good to see someone pick up your pieces and run with it. I'm not getting paid, but that seems completely beside the point, getting noticed feels good. It also helps that someone actually agrees with you, or takes your words to heart. The response to the post about not wanting pity as a veteran was really surprising. As was the massive influx of people reading my "full retard" post.
Unfortunately then you read some of the comments. If anything could demotivate an individual, it would be the comment section of anything they write. Take for instance the WaPo article about the backlash over "Incident in New Baghdad". I get that its the WaPo and there are going to be diehard followers, but I mean come on! There are people strait up calling me a liar and a war criminal. Its a little hard not to go on there ans answer every single one, saying "no, look this is what happened, I was there see?" Maybe my views on the War on Terror (never likes that by the way) and its two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan are different but when people call me a mindless tool of corrupt men I tend to take that a little personally.
Indeed anything I say about Iraq, or Afghanistan (which I have not been to) I'm sure someone will bring up Haliburton, Bush is evil, War for Oil, Baby Killer, Imperialist, etc. Sure there's more words and its not exactly like that but that's the gist of it. In essence every single comment like that is saying either A). Everything you did amounts to nothing or B). Everything you did was evil. Both are extremely disheartening, especially given the sheer volume of comments saying just that.
My view is perhaps skewed. I truly want to believe that my country is worth the level of sacrifice that would tare a father away from a daughter he's seen only once before he dies. I want to believe that a 19year old kid with dreams of going to 'Bama and becoming an Engineer, did not end in a fiery death for nothing. More importantly I want to believe that Hannan, Zarah, Nurhan, Ali, and Icklas, will all have better lives because were were there not despite it. It is truly sickening when you get comments about how I probably Raped those kids after I was done talking to them.
Do we really think so little of our Soldiers as a society? Do we really think that nothing is worth fighting for? I hear time and again Isolationist views of people who are diehard supporters of Ron Paul, about how its not our business to get involved in the worlds affairs. I hear the diehard lefties, that talk of "illegal" war, and I can not help but wonder what war would be "legal" to them? I hear the Right Wingers who say "support our troops" without really understanding what that means. I hear all these things and wonder, "Does no one get it?" Ron Paul is wrong because if not us, than who? China? Russia? Don't even make me laugh and say the UN. And the Lefties if they had their way would back themselves into a corner time and again and get us involved in every Vietnam that came our way with a demoralized and castrated military. The Far Right isn't much better, because for all the "support" shown, they still haven't grasped basic concept in how to employ a military. Its not a big shiny broadsword that you can simply swing whenever the hell you feel like it.
But more than that, when I read the comments, or I read the things people say about Iraq or Afghanistan, Korea or Vietnam, even WWII, I find myself growing ever more melancholy. People keep coming up with all sorts of reasons of why we fight, from the jaded "it was all for money" to the esoteric "for freedom", but in all that no one has stopped to ask "are we truly worthy of such sacrifice?" People make such bold and absolute statements about the War, and yet never bother to look at themselves and the things they are doing. It strikes me as shameful that there can be so many opinionated individuals that know so many "facts" and clearly don't have a clue about reality.
I think though one of the worst things about being a Milblogger, in this day in age is knowing without a doubt that regardless of what the Paul supporters the Lefties or the Right Wing say, more sacrifice will be necessary. More pain involved. Peace is not something you get by wishing and having good feelings, it has to be earned, fought for even. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but a state where justice reigns. If we pull back to our shores and mind our own buisness the inequity the world is experiencing will come to us. It seems almost a form of sacrilege, but there are times after reading the comments section of important policy pieces, I wonder if the citizens of this country are still worthy of this sacrifice. It seems harsh, but I don't want yellow ribbons, or Red Shirts on Friday, I don't want a small donation to the Wounded Warrior Project every time the 4th of July comes around. I want you to truly honor the troops by lifing up the the highest ideals that this country was founded on.
I know America hasn't always had a smooth history. During the Civil War the North nearly tore itself apart, and New York City of all places almost seceded. I know that the Progressive movement wasn't all sunshine an lollypops. Perhaps it is just the memory of youth but I seem to remember a time when we as Americans actually believed in ourselves, that we were the good guys, that we could help forge a better world. So where has that Faith gone?