Saturday, August 13, 2005

War.

Bush set his sights on Iran this week, the news story told me. Good lord. I guess our National Guard troops will never get home until Bush is out of office.

Used to be if you were in the National Guard, it would be rare that you would be out of the country on assignment. Now, it's the norm. Between the National Guard and Reserves, this is a very different war.

I wanted to know, what's the difference between the two, and found this:
http://www.ngb.army.mil/faq/#reserves

How is the National Guard different from the Reserves?

Although the National Guard is a part of this nation's reserve forces, there are a few differences between the Army or Air Force Reserve and the Guard. The National Guard is by far the oldest component of any of the uniformed services. It traces its roots to the colonial militia, and claims a "birthday" of 1636. By comparison, the U.S. Army was founded in 1775 (its first units all came out of the colonial militia) and the U.S. Air Force was created in 1947. More importantly, the National Guard maintains a unique "dual status" - both State and Federal - that no other service or component has. This dual status is rooted in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which states that "Congress shall have the power ... To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

The National Guard serves both the state and nation in times of need, and soldiers and airmen in the Guard swear an oath to protect and defend not just the Constitution of the United States, but also of the State in which they serve. In peacetime, the Guard is commanded by the governors of the respective States and Territories (the District of Columbia National Guard is commanded directly by the President). We assist civil leaders during natural disasters, state emergencies and civil unrest. Civil laws, particularly the Posse Comitatus act of 1878, limit the use of Federal troops (to include Federal Reserve components like the Army Reserve and the Air Force Reserve) to enforce the law. The National Guard, when acting in its capacity as State troops, does not fall under these restrictions and thus can augment civil authorities in maintaining law and order.

I visited this link from their site:
https://www.virtualarmory.com/promotions/RAC/index.asp

This page has a link to the 45 reasons to join the National Guard. Looks like a very nice place to be. It looks very different when you hear about people's sons, daughters, wives, husbands, dads, moms, being hurt or killed in Baghdad or Afghanistan. Or anywhere else we are, either (we just handed over control of Kosovo on July 31, 2005 - very informative site...).

I guess I just don't want our people hurt over there any more. I guess that makes me a liberal or something. But I don't know if it means that any more. Some may think I am a bad person, or unpatriotic. I don't think I am either, I just don't want more people maimed and killed. Not our people. Not their people.

I do love my country. I never served in the military - which was a mistake I made a long time ago. I really considered it. I never went forward due to some reasons that stopped me from doing other things, too - my parents. I never wanted them to worry like that.

People who are in our Armed Forces don't want to make their families worry like that either. But they are called to this very high service for all the rest of us. That call is often very strong. I respect their decisions to serve. I just want them to come home safe. That is the problem. Many won't and haven't.

Are they fighting for my freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan? No. Not really. Are they fighting for a better world? That's the tough question. Will it be better in 5 years, in 10 years, because we went over there? Because friends and family went so far away for this President? And for his father?

There are families who serve, and families who serve. Some serve in suits as bureaucrats. Some serve as soldiers in uniform. I will alway support the latter.

Here is one way to support them - or rather, there are several ways to support them. from being a pen pal, to sending care packages:
http://adoptaplatoon.org/new/howtosupport.html

Will I send money to a political candidate in the next few years? Unlikely. Will I do one of these things? Yes. I just did:

Can't wait? Email a soldier:

The Stars and Stripes , the military newspaper, is allowing the public to email deployed soldiers via its Messages of Support forum. Limit your message of support or greeting to 50 words or less and send it to messages@estripes.com

You can too!

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