‘Support our troops’ — bring them home alive
Plain Talk By Al Neuharth, USA TODAY Founder, August 11, 2005
They’re burying young Marine reservists in Ohio this week. Fourteen of them, ages 19 and up, were killed last week when their amphibious landing vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
President Bush won’t be at any of the Ohio funerals. He has not attended any funeral for any of the 1,840 servicemen and women killed in Iraq, although he has met with some groups of families who lost loved ones.
Bush simply called this latest tragedy a “grim reminder” that we are at war. It also should remind anyone who knows anything about war that lightly-armored amphibious vehicles never were meant to transport troops on bomb-laden roads. They were designed for sandy beaches.
They’re being misused because, nearly 2½ years after we invaded Iraq, we still don’t have enough heavily armored transport vehicles. Some soldiers themselves make “hillbilly armor” out of sand bags and scrap metal.
“Support our troops” has been an appropriate rallying cry for every war president. Nearly all civilians nearly always respond, supporting not just troops but also the commander in chief. Now, that’s changing. Results of a nationwide poll this week by USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup:
•54% say Bush’s war in Iraq was a mistake.
•33% say we should withdraw all troops from there.
“Support our troops” has become a sad, empty slogan for Bush.
Public support for the troops still is there, with candy, cookies and yellow ribbons. But government support sadly is lacking. No effective overall war plan. Inadequate or outdated equipment. No exit strategy.
That’s why the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to insist that Bush bring them all home. Alive. Sooner rather than later.