First, before I say anything else, I want to acknowledge that Lisa Yanity’s opinion is worth a thousand times mine on the subject of anything having to do with soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan — especially how they think or feel. I’ve never had the chance to serve, and therefore know nothing about how a soldier, especially one who’s been in combat, really feels.
So you should give greater credence to what she has to say on the subject of soldier morale than anything I might speculate about. And to encapsulate what she said for those too lazy to click on the link, she said it doesn’t bother her for people to say they support the troops but not the war. She still feels supported.
I believe her completely when she says that. But I can’t imagine myself ever feeling the same way in her circumstances.
Note that I say "imagine," because that’s all I can do, not ever having been in such circumstances. Perhaps I would, upon being shot at, undergo such a shift in perspective that I would no longer care whether a person supported what I was doing as long as he showed his personal approval of me and my fellow folks in uniform.
But I doubt it. I strongly suspect that if somebody tried to pat me on the back sympathetically and tell me I’m a fine fellow right after complaining about what an awful thing our country is doing "over there," that person would be courting frostbite from my cold shoulder.
I just can’t see feeling all warm and fuzzy inside if someone said to me, "Oh, you poor thing, risking your life in my place. You have my support. But remember that if you get killed or maimed for life, it’s all for nothing. In fact, your presence in Iraq makes me feel less safe." Maybe I would, but I just can’t see it.
Somehow, I don’t think getting applause instead of being spit upon in
airports would do it for me. I think I’d expect a little more from the folks back home. I might even think I deserved more. I know Lisa Yanity deserves more.