Monday, June 4, 2007

Message From a Floridian in Afghanistan

Something really interesting and really moving has happened recently in the Florida Blogosphere. Meowmissy announced the creation of the Florida NetRoots blog. This is a welcome addition to the ongoing effort to Blog Florida Blue . It has been welcomed by progressive blogs across Florida including the Florida Progressive Coalition and Florida Kossacks. This is, in and of itself, an interesting development.

What happened next is the really moving part. It truly is amazing to realize the reach of the blogoshpere. To find out what has moved me so, follow along....

After announcing the Florida NetRoots blog, meowmissy let us know she had been contacted by
a servicemen from Walton County currently serving in Afghanistan. He asked how he could help with the blog.
For those of you not familiar with Walton County Florida, I have one little statistic for you. George W. Bush beat John Kerry there 73% to 26% in 2004.

In response to his question of how he could help with the blog, I asked meowmissy to forward a couple of questions for me:

First, what do both active duty military folks and veterans think is the best way to support our troops in Iraq?

The second is how do the veterans feel about the current administrations' pronouncements about supporting our troops versus their actual delivery of services (health care, etc) to veterans?

Meowmissy had also been contacted by someone serving on the Executive Committee of the Florida Veterans for Common Sense . She passed along those questions and one of her own:
And how do they feel about the recent vote to continue funding the war?

It is the answers to these questions that have moved me to write this diary. Let's take the last question (Iraq funding) first. Our soldiers' response to this question was most eloquent:
...not much talk about this (Iraq funding) in Afghanistan. About the only thing I hear when people mention it is that someone will usually say something to the effect of "We need to get out of there. That place is a shit hole."

One thing I'd like you to express to your group. IRAQ IS NOT THE ONLY WAR.

People are getting shot at, dodging IEDs and dying everyday here in Afghanistan, and the American people and the MSM have generally forgotten about us. When we were extended to 15 months, most people I told had no clue, because the media only reported that Soldiers in Iraq would be extended. Everyday someone dies in Iraq it is reported in the MSM, but when a soldier in my unit was killed, it was never reported.

The next part of the response reinforces how Hillary Clinton really blew it in the New Hampshire debate when she repeated the Buschco frame:
I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.
Our Florida soldier relates this about the war in Afghanistan:
This war is just. I implore anyone who disagrees to come to this country and see what we are fighting and how we are helping. However, I believe our continued presence in this country to be more immoral than our presence in Iraq. This may sound confusing, but remember this: There is actually a mission here. There is actually an enemy which we can define. There is a clear goal to the operation. However, we have been here for nearly six years. In six years, a nation with the greatest military capability in the history of the world has not been able to defeat a third world shadow government. This is not to say that the troops on the ground have failed, or that the U.S. is not able to win this war. The problem is that this administration has been distracted by a war created and continued by deceit and pride. (Emphasis added)

Our Florida soldier goes on to relate to us his feelings about a recent terrible incident in Afghanistan:
A few days ago, five brave Americans were killed. My reaction was, "and for what?" Why did those men have to die? True, they died fighting a righteous fight, but why are we still fighting it? Why are we still here? Why have we not defeated our enemy here? Why are brave men still dying? Again, because this administration is too eager to save face to commit resources to a just and winnable war.

The most terrible thing is that this is not isolated. This has become the modus operandi for this administration. Resources are committed out of pride to Iraq, so we cannot help victims of national disasters in Louisiana and Kansas. We cannot help our poor because we must give tax breaks to the rich. We cannot aid the sick, because we must aid Big-Rx .... We can not slow the energy crisis or global warming, because we must aid the oil corporations. This administration has a record that is at best immoral and at worst criminal of ignoring big problems that we can actually do something about, in order to protect pride and cronyism.(Emphasis added)
If these feelings of our fellow Floridian, serving in Afghanistan, are being felt in Walton County, I would bet you the 2008 election there will not go to the Republican nominee by a 73% to 26% margin.

Now let's all say a prayer for the safe return of our fellow Floridian.

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