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The Tentacle


March 15, 2005

Is Supporting Peace Un-Patriotic?

David 'Kip' Koontz

I was recently given a magnetic ribbon for my car that reads, "Bring Them Home." I immediately placed it on my vehicle.

This is a sentiment I find to be reasonable and sensible, especially since during the Prayers of the People at church every Sunday there is the inclusion of a prayer along the lines of - "And we pray for those who are in harm's way and serve in our armed forces." and usually includes something like, "and we pray for their quick, safe and healthy return."

At the conclusion of the prayer being read, the congregation responds: "God, hear our prayer."

So, as this sticker is also on the back of my car along with my ribbon reading "Support Our Troops," I thought I was showing, not only my patriotic support, but also Christian care in desiring that our troops remain safe while serving, but praying and hoping they return home sooner than later.

After all, does anyone want our troops to remain deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than absolutely necessary?

Some would say they shouldn't be in Iraq to begin with, but I am not going to debate that point.

Are there people who honestly, in all sincerity and with no concern, want to see our troops in harm's way, regardless of the nobility of the cause?

Yes, the men and women who serve know they may well be placed in harm's way, yet many thousands of those serving overseas are only reservists, and members of the guard.

Did anyone expect them to be serving indefinite tours of duty at the capacity at which they are currently being asked to serve?

Is it not okay to want to see our troops - our brothers, fathers, uncles, husbands, wives, sisters, mothers, aunts, significant others, come home sooner than later, alive, not harmed or maimed or otherwise injured?

Can there be something wrong with wanting that?

There must be, as the other day while waiting at a stoplight a car pulled up next to me and the driver motioned and blew his horn at me to gain my attention.

Upon looking over at him I gleaned very quickly that he was giving me the one finger salute, while shouting the appropriate verbalization that goes along with it.

Not having a clue why, I ignored him and shrugged my shoulders.

This agitated him more, so he again blew his horn and gestured wildly at me, so, curious, I looked over again.

At that time he was pointing at the ribbon with "Bring Them Home" and still giving me the salute and verbalizing accordingly.

Upon gaining my attention, he turned his diatribe into calling me a "traitor" and whatever else he thought necessary to shout at me in the two minutes or so he had to claim I was - in some way - un-American.

I'd hate to see how he would have reacted if I had affixed a bumper sticker to my car which read, "Peace Is Patriotic," which it is, by the way.

As we parted company I saw that the back of his car was plastered with ribbon magnets awash in red, white and blue.

Some were yellow and some were even camouflaged.

They championed God blessing America and supporting our troops, to reminding the reader that "Freedom Is Not Free."

This struck me as perplexing as asking for God's blessing on our nation and saying you support our troops is American in the eyes of this motorist, yet asking that our troops be brought home is un-American.

I have wrestled with trying to figure out how.

How can it be un-American to be unwilling to see people die or get injured?

I know God is to have told President Bush that he was supposed to intervene in Iraq and that some view it as part of some divine plan by God, so maybe we are supposed to take refuge that Americans are dying because it is God's will.

That seems like a tough sell.

Do we think God is happy that nations and people wage war on each other? Or, that some believe that the United States alone can carry God's banner?

Do we really think that God would say: "It is a really good thing people are dying in my name?"

Some truly believe this is a necessary "war" to rid the world of an evil dictator who promoted terrorism and was an imminent threat to the United States as he had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

Okay, in spite of what we know, let us accept this as true.

Can't we still ask why, in spite of the "rightness of this mission," one would criticize the notion of bringing our troops home, alive and healthy, sooner rather than later?

Do people really think that it is a good thing that our troops are dying, getting injured, becoming maimed?

I wish I could have had the opportunity to ask that driver why that simple statement - "Bring Them Home" - could invoke such outrage in him.

Maybe not, though, for in God's blessings and in support of the troops he might have gone beyond a simple finger gesture and shouting spree.

"Bring Them Home!"

God, hear my prayer.



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