Re “Give Thanks for These Patriots,” Commentary, Nov. 25: Max Boot writes, “It is worth remembering how extraordinary and unusual our service members really are -- and how much we owe them this Thanksgiving.” I wonder what his thoughts will be when he reads about the undertrained and ill-equipped National Guardsmen who are locked up behind barbed wire in New Mexico before being shipped to Iraq as cannon fodder (“Guardsmen Say They’re Facing Iraq Ill-Trained,” Nov. 25). Bush’s Defense Department has sunk to a new low to procure new bodies for their war to “spread democracy” when they stoop to imprisoning unprepared troops whose morale is in the basement to keep them from going AWOL. David Perlman
The antiwar protesters I know are supporting our troops by sending care packages to Iraq and praying for their safe return home. While it is true that our brave men and women fighting overseas are motivated by their patriotic beliefs, it is a myth they are doing so “to defend a great nation,” as Boot implies. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with our national defense, and to claim otherwise is only denial of the truth. As most of the world believes and roughly half in this country would concur, this war of choice is one without a moral purpose. It is no wonder so many who are doing the fighting are refusing to obey orders. I, like Boot, am sincere in my gratitude for our armed forces, but not without the disdain earned by our leaders who have needlessly put them in harm’s way.
Civilian turkey-eaters: Show your gratitude for the armed forces. We all do, Max, painfully we do. No thanks to those turkeys in Washington who ill-equip, poorly train, overextend, under-man them and have them do battle for a cause we civilian turkey-eaters find questionable.
The refusal of the military brass to provide state-of-the-art training and equipment to the National Guard troops they intend to deploy in Iraq is despicable. Those flag-waving patriots with the support-the-troops bumper stickers damn well better march on Washington to demand that President Bush straighten out Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his fellow egomaniacs at the Pentagon on this issue. If they don’t, the world will know them for the hypocritical frauds they are. Emil Berkanovic