Troops need support no matter your politics

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2007

By Staff
The concept of supporting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan wasn’t the problem Monday night.
To the last man, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners seemed to agree that no matter what you think of the war on terror, the men and women who are fighting it deserve every ounce of backing from the American people.
The issue hit a snag when commissioners Stan Deatherage lobbied the board to pass a resolution to support the troops and to back President Bush as their commander in chief.
Deatherage said that when the war started, 85 percent of Americans were in support of it. Now that victory hasn’t come as quickly as many wanted, public support has shifted against the war, especially the one in Iraq. Deatherage went as far as to say that some political groups “base their entire being on our defeat in Iraq. If they had the guts, they would defund the war, like we defunded Vietnam, but they don’t have the guts.”
In a way, the debate in Washington, N.C. mirrored a similar debate raging in the District of Columbia.
House Democratic leaders hunted for votes Tuesday for a war spending bill that would demand troops leave Iraq before September 2008 and expressed optimism that they would garner the support needed for passage, the Associated Press reported.
In a bid to broaden the bill’s appeal among members, Hoyer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stripped from the legislation a requirement that Bush gain approval from Congress before any move against Iran. Leaders also omitted language wanted by several liberal members that would have specifically prohibited funding of military operations after fall 2008. While the liberals said this threat would help enforce the deadline, Democratic leaders viewed the politically charged language as unnecessary.
On the local level, Commissioner Ed Booth said he could support the troops without supporting President Bush.
Commissioner Robert Cayton wouldn’t back Deatherage’s resolution because the actual resolution wasn’t before him.
Deatherage responded with a statement that he didn’t draft the resolution because he wanted the entire board to have input on it. In the end, Monday night the board agreed to let County Manager Paul Spruill write the resolution and bring it back to the board.
Commissioner Al Klemm, who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, was clear in his support of those men and women who are fighting. “The military men and women who came home from that war were mistreated.”
In the end, the one lesson we must learn is that the “grunts” that serve in our military didn’t ask to start the war. They don’t set the political of strategic agenda for winning it. They all volunteered to serve, unlike Vietnam where many were drafted, but the big picture strategy of winning in Iraq is beyond their grasp. They are trying to do their jobs and survive so they can return to the United States and be with their families. No matter how you weigh in on the war or President Bush, you should agree the troops need our support.