Reasonable people can have diverse opinions about the war in Iraq. I have expressed doubts here over the way we have fumbled around over there. (As I say below, those who shamefully left Saddam in power in 1991 have no right to preen over sending our troops back 12 years later, to correct their fantastic blunder. At best, they are atoning for a horrible stain on our honor.)
Still, despite grotesque political meddling and the bad apple behavior of some horrid rogues, most our soldiers and beleaguered officers are doing their best in a very rough situation. They deserve support, whatever we think of the War Plan they are forced to execute.
I have long made a habit of mailing crates of books to military units around the world, doing my small bit as an author and reader to help ease the draggy ennui that spans the intervals between episodes of danger and courage. (Lately, the Navy Department gave me a lovely wall chatchki for donating $2,000 worth of hardcovers to ships at the San Diego Naval Base.)
Now you can do likewise at very low cost! Drop by Books for Soldiers to see how FedEx now offers free shipping when you send books to a volunteer group that then redistributes where they are wanted most. This is an effort all literate people should get behind... especially if you question the unprofessional way these brave men and women have been committed to war."
While we are on the subject, again, let me reiterate a point that nobody else seems to be making. I think liberals make a terrible mistake by expressing their objections to this war in leftist or pacifist terms. These is nonsensical, since two of our most successful wars were planned by Clinton-Clarke... The Balkans and Afghanistan interventions, which succeeded far better than anyone could have reasonably expected.
Until the World is Better, we are still in an era when some application of imperial power is a reasonable last resort... if it is done in the mature, responsible, adult, judicious and prudent fashion laid down by George Marshall, paying heed to alliances, costs, success criteria, exit strategy, securing readiness and mindful of winning the long range civilization struggle over hearts and minds..
For example, we don't accomplish anything by deprecating the military in general or suggesting that Iraqis were better off under Saddam! Instead, focus your attacks on:
1. hypocrisy, these are the same guys who fostered Saddam. Kissed him. Egged him on and supplied him against Iran.
2. hypocrisy. these are the same guys who had him in their hands, in 1991. Gen Schwarskopf begged for 12 more hours to rescue the people of Basra, who were being slaughtered, having rebelled AT OUR URGING. (Bush Sr. said " "We're on the way!")
Instead (at Saudfamily orders) they consigned those people to 12 more YEARS of living hell. And now we expect love & kisses? (This is one of the worst stains on American honor in 200 years. Rent the movie THREE KINGS.)
3. The obscenely stupid and unprofessional WAY this war was and is being fought. Rumsfeld - the man who supervised our humiliation in Vietnam - has recently meddled vastly MORE than the politicians did in that failed disaster, overruling the professional officers who wanted to used proved techniques that worked in the fantastically successful campaigns in the Balkans and Afghanistan.
4. The plummet in readiness... the torching of alliances... and my personal harshest grivance, a fierce political purge of the Officer Corps.
And so on.... THESE are issues that a liberal could push and not sound like a wimp. Ditch the leftists and make clear that you are not against a sane and decent Pax Americana. Just the rabid, insane, alliance-destroying and hatred-generating version that those bright imbeciles, the Straussian neocons, have inflicted upon us and the world.
Oh, recall the Commie aphorism about the Last Capitalist? They said "we will hang him with a rope we sold him. "
It occurs to me you could just change the cast of characters and reflect the essence of our present struggle against another fiercely determined enemy-meme, just as dedicated to plotting our downfall.
Replace "Capitalist" with "Westerner" and "hang him with a rope" by another phrase...
...."drown him in the last barrel of oil we sell him."
Ponder and pass it on.