Note: Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
In 2008, Netroots For the Troops® began raising money to send specially designed care packages to our soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sending our troops practical items like socks, gloves, and LED flashlights, as well as welcome reminders of home like DVD’s and CD’s, let them know that their sacrifice and personal heroism are not taken for granted. Netroots For the Troops® originated with the Daily Kos community which, much like my campaign for the presidency, had its genesis in opposition to the preemptive war in Iraq. Netroots For the Troops® is also a way to show that while we disagree with what our brave soldiers are asked to do without failing to recognize their valor, patriotism, and service to the country.
In 2003, I gave a foreign policy speech in Des Moines, Iowa. In that speech I pointed out that the administration had told us the risks of failing to go to war but had not examined or communicated the risks we would face if we invaded Iraq without any United Nations authorization and with our troops burdened with responsibility for the bulk of the fighting. I said that while I hoped our troops “will be welcomed like heroes and liberators in the streets of Baghdad,” there was a possibility “that Iraq will try to force our troops to fight house to house in the middle of cities – on its turf, not ours – where precision-guided missiles are of little use.” I warned that overconfidence would put our troops at risk:
Some people simply brushed aside these concerns, saying there were also a lot of dire predictions before the first Gulf War, and that those didn’t come true.We have learned through experience to have confidence in our armed forces – and that confidence is very well deserved.
But if you talk to military leaders, they will tell you there is a big difference between pushing back the Iraqi armed forces in Kuwait and trying to defeat them on their home ground.
There are limits to what even our military can do. Technology is not the solution to every problem. And we can’t assume the Iraqis have learned nothing over the past twelve years.
Unfortunately, our military became overextended and our soldiers faced repeated deployments in two deteriorating theaters of war. Despite the failures of civilian leadership our brave troops have continued to do everything that’s been asked of them, through multiple deployments, at great sacrifice to themselves and their families.
I am proud of our troops. Now, with new leadership and through their perseverance and sacrifice, we were able to end the war in Iraq, find and kill Osama bin-Laden, seriously weaken the Al-Quaeda, and begin ramping down our operations in Afghanistan. We need an America where the government does not question the patriotism of any American if they disagree with the President, and where Americans honor military service even when we question the wisdom and leadership of the mission.
We support the troops when we ask smart and tough questions before we put them in harm’s way. And we ought to support them while they are in the field doing their duty. That’s why I am proud to support the efforts of Netroots For the Troops®. Their goal is to raise $100,000 to pay for 600 care packages to be sent to our troops overseas.