Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Should the Troops Die?

Alan Grayson, Democratic congressman from Florida’s 8th district, who urged his colleagues to vote against war funding in order to shut down those wars and bring the troops home, was accused by one of his opponents, Kurt Kelly, of putting “our soldiers, and our men and women in the military in harm’s way, and maybe he wants them to die.” Naturally, the accusation was made on Fox News. Here’s the key passage of Grayson’s response, from an August 17, 2010 email, which echos my own longtime thinking on this matter:

Yes, Kurt, I do want them to die: of old age, at home in bed, surrounded by their loved ones, after enjoying many Thanksgiving turkeys between now and then. And you want them to die: in a scorching desert, 8000 miles from home, alone, screaming for help, with a leg blown off and their guts hanging out of their stomachs, bleeding to death.

And how can anyone but a U.S. President be accused of placing U.S. military personnel in “harm’s way”? Ever since Presidents began illegally bypassing Congress to start wars, or otherwise involve troops in combat, they’ve been ultimately responsible for any occasion on which the troops were in “harm’s way.”

Grayson was defeated for re-election in 2010, doubtless clearing the way for a politician whose idea of “supporting the troops” is keeping them on battlefields in routine danger of death, mutilation, and mental and physical injuries that will last them a (possibly quite short) lifetime. “Support” like that is something our troops would live longer, better lives without.