GWU College Republicans at Walter Reed: Real Americans Push Back
From the student newspaper GW Hatchet (letters 2 and 3):
Stand up for your beliefs
(money quote para 4)
As a former Air Force intelligence officer who has deployed in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I applaud Gary Livacari (at podium) and Peter Glessing for taking the time to see our wounded personnel at Walter Reed Hospital ("The children of the 60s," Jan. 17, p. 4). However, I am concerned that they are missing something.
Since Sept. 11, military personnel have enjoyed enthusiastic support from those at home. I personally have received standing ovations at airports, unexpected free meals at restaurants, and many warm handshakes. All of these gestures are much appreciated, especially when we compare this with what returning Vietnam veterans endured. However, if we are to win this war, we will need something more than these gestures. We will need people at home to begin sacrificing too.
The unfortunate truth is that our volunteer force was not designed to handle the monumental task of transforming the Middle East. The stress to our troops is only half the story. The other half is the devastation to our supplies and equipment, and the enormous crisis of military readiness we face when Iraq is over. The system of contractors and corporations we have in place to replace our equipment is very slow, and one of the main reasons our troops die is because our vehicles and gear are inadequate. We need all new equipment designed for this threat, and we need them yesterday. We need civilians to demand this for us because we can't. Such demand requires civilians to sacrifice their time and energy. In today's America, it is hard to make those sacrifices. But it is what we need to win.
Finally, we need young people such as Mr. Lavacari and Mr. Glessing to join the military and help us fight. Talking to veterans and comforting them is great, but in the end, only talk. We need you, Mr. Livacari and Mr. Glessing, to fight for the cause that you say you believe in. That may mean sacrificing your college career for a while or the first few years of your professional career. But it is what we need to win. You invoked the greatest generation in your column. The greatest generation sacrificed greatly. I hope that you will too.
-Jordan Curry, GW law student
Support for leaders must be earned
The students participating in this Friday's trip to Walter Reed Hospital ought to be commended. However, a very basic truth is lost on Peter Glessing and Gary Livacari, the two individuals soliciting participation. As the death toll mounts and the sordid truths about this Iraq war are laid bare, the home front is turning its indignation against its leaders rather than its protectors. You don't see any fewer "Support the Troops" ribbons, only fewer "Bush/Cheney" stickers; that is not a coincidence. A "surge in patriotism" will come about if and only when Americans see a genuine, positive change in the conduct of the leaders who are sending their countrymen into harm's way.
-Alexander Tucciarone, Junior
OYE Comment: We agree. And President Bush can best earn that support by calling upon his strongest supporters, if qualified, such as Gary Livacari and Peter Glessing, to Be A Man! Enlist!