Upon first watching this video, it is easy to get caught up in raw emotion. A young US ‘Iraq war’ veteran speaks passionately about his service, the service of our troops, and the importance of sacrifice for freedom. He lectures Senator Barack Obama for saying our invasion of Iraq was a mistake, claiming that the sacrifices made by our troops has brought the Iraqis freedom that they haven’t had before. He says Obama’s criticism dishonors the service of our troops, and that Obama doesn’t understand that freedom comes with a price. Because of all this, the soldier says he’s backing John McCain, who has served our country and understands what it means to sacrifice for country.
Near the end of the video, the solider walks away from the camera to reveal what we can assume to be his wounds acquired from battle. The man has lost a leg, and he has had it replaced with an artificial one. As walks in the distance, the music “I’m proud to be an American” beings to play. Then an image of John McCain comes up with the text “The day we lose our will to fight is the day we lose our freedom.”
I would first like to state that any criticism of this video is not intended in any way to demean or dishonor the service and sacrifice of this soldier or any of our troops. We can honor their service without supporting this political video. So I hope no one takes what I am about to say as an attack on our brave men and women in uniform.
Having said that, I can honestly say that this video is absolutely disgusting. There is a reason that politicians are not supposed to use our troops for political gain. Regardless of who wins, democrat or republican, our troops must serve in a non-partisan fashion under the Commander in Chief to protect our nation. Senator Obama could very well be our next Commander in Chief, and it is dangerously harmful to our nation for those in our military to believe he dishonors or disrespects the troops. Those sentiments are divisive and leave our troops weaker and more vulnerable.
The argument made in the video is really pretty silly. There is a big difference between the decision a President makes to go to war, and the service and sacrifice our troops make when they are deployed to war. It is like saying someone is disrespecting engineers and construction workers when they are critical of the “bridge to no where”. It makes no sense. This soldier might very well see some “thankful” Iraqi citizens who appreciate their new “freedoms” we’ve brought them in Iraq (at the expense of 4000+ American lives and who knows how many Iraqi and Iraqi citizens lives). But that doesn’t mean the decision to go into Iraq following 9/11 was a good one. We all know that Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda are still on the loose and have actually grown stronger since the US has been fighting in Iraq. In a recent interview with FOX News, right wing news anchor Bill O’reilly told Obama that he was right in his judgment in 2002 that going into Iraq was a mistake. So will this soldier also make a video bashing O’reilly?
There are a few fundamental American traits that the right wing has tried to hi-jack as strictly and exclusively belonging to their party. Attributes like honor, patriotism, love of country, integrity, morality and family values. By making these false claims of exclusive ownership, they indirectly paint their opponents (the democrats) as dishonorable, unpatriotic, not loving America, lacking integrity, immoral and lacking family values. It appears this political spin (aka falsehood and propaganda) has affected the mind of this young soldier.
I wonder if he did he research and learned that, despite his opposition to the war, Obama voted consistently to fund the troops so they could have the equipment they needed in battle. I wonder if he learned that Obama supported the new GI Bill that George Bush reluctantly passed and John McCain opposed. I wonder if he took time to learn about the plans Obama has to reduce homelessness amongst veterans, and provide health care for those with PTSD. I wonder if he learned that Obama’s grandfather (who helped raise him) was a WWII veteran, and his uncle was in the service as well (so he knows the value of service in his own family). I wonder if that young soldier read a newspaper overseas, and saw how unpopular this war is even amongst our allies, and how it has dropped George Bush’s reputation both here in the US and around the world. I wonder if that soldier learned of how popular Barack Obama is in America and overseas and how a strong part of why he is the nominee over Hillary is because of his judgment on Iraq.
I wonder if that soldier has been paying attention to the leadership in Iraq, which along with the Bush administration is now following Obama’s advice to set a timetable in Iraq to withdraw our troops. I wonder if that soldier realized how arrogant and ridiculous he sounded to accuse Barack Obama of dishonoring our troops when even our troops are donating to the Obama campaign 6-to-1 over John McCain because they recognize Obama has better leadership ability and judgment than even this former POW.
In conclusion, this soldier dishonored his own servive by politicizing it to help John McCain. Service is service, not a campaign ad. I hope that young soldier realized that he wasn’t fighting for the Republican party, he was fighting for the United States. Barack Obama is just as much a part of the United States as John McCain is. And while you might disagree with him on his policies, it’s way below the belt to accuse him of dishonoring our troops because of that. These baseless, insulting, false, and disgusting attacks have no place in our politics. That US soldier should be ashamed of his political video.