Thursday, October 06, 2005

Operation Yellow Elephant and Afghanistan

A group of bloggers are performing a valuable service with Operation Yellow Elephant - encouraging Iraq war supporters, especially College Republicans, to back up their support for the war with their own military service. My impression is that it drives the younger war supporters nuts, precisely because they have little response to the argument unless they've served. Even the ones with families don't have an out - there are plenty of soldiers with families who have served out their terms and are forced to remain in the military under Bush's back-door draft policy.

One response heard from College Republicans runs along the lines of "Democrats support the war in Afghanistan - why aren't they lining up to serve there?" The main problem with this response is that it isn't a response - they still haven't answered the question of why they're sending their countrymen to die in Iraq without going themselves. Apparently, they can't think of a good answer but hope that the liberals have thought of one for Afghanistan, and the Republicans hope to pretend that the Afghanistan reason is the one they've been using all around.

It won't work. What is and should be asked of Americans and America's military in Afghanistan is different from Iraq. While American soldiers have made great sacrifices and the ultimate sacrifice of dying in Afghanistan, the same is true of other conflicts that have been feasibly managed by our all-volunteer military. Equally important, the sacrifices in Afghanistan would have been much less if that conflict had been managed competently, instead of having their resources bled off to serve in Iraq.

The military can handle the Afghanistan war without bankrupting the country, destroying military readiness, and driving down recruiting. The reverse is true in Iraq. Combine those factors with a split nation, where those with financial means and support the war are using those without the same means to fight a war they often don't support. These reasons, none of them applying to Afghanistan, are reasons requiring that the College Republicans and others very literally fight for what they believe, instead of demanding that others do it for them.

key: Iraq

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