Whether or not you agree with the Iraq war, and I believe it should not have been waged, there is no disagreement that our armed forces are populated by heroes, whose bravery is unchecked by danger, or by politics. They are the best of what this country has, and we should honor them, not just today, but every day.
in a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood in southern Baghdad, Iraq,
March 23, 2007. David Furst—AFP/Getty Images
They continue to believe, even after giving more than they should have been required to, and they continue to fight, even after the suits have lost the war, not because they don’t know any better, but because they do it for each other.
There’s a certain romantacism that develops in the civilian population about war, when in fact, war is brutal, and ugly, and disastrous, for the population living with it, and for the troops who fight it. The troops don’t have the luxury of romanticism.
As for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are on so many minds today, it is clear that in ways large and small, their leaders, and their country, have failed the military men and women of this country — by not providing proper equipment, by giving them inadequate medical and other assistance when they come home (not to mention by sending them on a questionable mission in Iraq.) Those are some of the deficits that must be fixed over the next few years. And while we cannot change the past, the least we can do is not fail to give them a little bit of gratitude, and respect.
So happy Veterans Day, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Our thanks.