What did you say? I didn’t hear you…

A soldier of the 1st platoon Comanche Co

A soldier of the 1st platoon Comanche Company of the United States Army secures a position on the road as they detain a suspect of setting a roadside bomb in Buwri Tana District in Khost Province on August 7, 2012. (Jose CABEZAS/AFP/GettyImages)

I just read a great article called Afghanistan War: Americans Tune Out Afghan War As Fighting Rages On.

You know what I find embarrassing and appalling? That most of the comments on HuffPo, a site I generally enjoy, are flailing and railing at past and current administration policies instead of understanding the important information in the article.

1. Afghanistan was the ONLY military action we took that was actually a response to the attack on us in 9/11. Despite strategic challenges and the nature of the beast that is Pakistan/Afghanistan, the US has made significant inroads and has accomplished important strategic goals. While people in the US may be “bored” and lump it together with Iraq because, I don’t know, both countries have an Arab populace… they are different theaters.

2. This article is about the lack of support the MILITARY, TROOPS and their FAMILIES are getting. That means there isn’t even a 5 minute piece on the nightly news covering the war. We aren’t sharing any of their sacrifices. There aren’t drives to write letters, adopt a soldier, send care packages in highly visible places. They exist, but it’s not front and center like it would have been in say WWII. I feel our forces are fighting for a just and honorable cause. They are attempting to keep the word we as a country made to our allies in the region. They are providing an alternative to the network of terrorists who want to abuse civilians and trade on their poverty to create safe havens for the very people we are trying to defend against. Do we see any of that? Not so much. This is just another example of how profit drives news. There used to be a law that a certain amount of time had to be dedicated to NEWS, no commercials, so no commercial interests or ratings mattered. Remember when the news was like that? If not, take my word for it. Every channel had DIFFERENT stories too, DIFFERENT depths of reporting and that’s how you decided who to watch. Not which pundit screamed the loudest.

3. I admire those who wish to be active against war altogether. Or rather you write in tones of disgust that you wish people would be active. Just remember that the men and women who are serving our country are being active, they are actively living a life of service. They are trying to make their life be about something bigger than themselves, something most of us aspire to do. Many of them come from poorer backgrounds and joined to learn a trade, skill or be able to afford college or provide for their families with a small but steady pay check. In exchange they promised to serve the needs of our country… which they do with bravery.

Their families also serve and share the burden. Are we not neighbors? Are we so uncomfortable at this situation that we shy away from such decent people who are working so hard on behalf of us for so little reward?

Also please consider your rhetoric. Believe me, I’ve been researching this lately and what I’ve learned is that service members read these comments and posts and words can hurt them. Service members feel rejected by the people of the country they love when they hear words like “their sacrifice is a waste” or “they died for nothing” They think of brothers and sisters lost. Not only is it offensive, it is untrue.
4. But what can you do? You are a smart, articulate person. Read up on this subject. I just created a Twitter list for my research, you can check it out here. Or you could read a Neswpaper style aggregation of the best curated stories updated twice a day by visiting The American Service Monitor.

They are both good starting points because they link to so many sources of information if you want to start to know what is going on. Even a few small actions can make a huge difference. I mean, did you know you can donate blood just for the military to use so that our troops always have enough? Or that there are ways you can help combat soldiers get phone cards so they can call a spouse? There are real tangible ways to remind yourself it’s not all congress, policy and helplessness. There’s you, able to make a difference to a real person who could really use some. I hope you’ll consider it.


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