Support our Troops -- They are Stuck over There!

I found it ironic this week that there were two rallies last Saturday, both at noon and I wanted to be at both of them. This is indicative of the split that our President has brought on this nation. The implication is that those of us who have been proclaiming our desire for peace do not support our troops. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our young fighting men and women are the cream of our crop. They are the future of our country. They are the best that we have to offer. They are our children and grandchildren. Of course everyone supports them. We have placed the in harm's way and hundreds of them are dying for us.

Up until now, the poster in the back of my Bronco has suggested we "Support our Troops -- Bring them Home". Now I realize this isn't possible. They can't come home for the foreseeable future. It seems that the Iraqis haven't just welcomed us with open arms. We have had to destroy just about every city in the country in order to prosecute our objective of "regime change". Substantial numbers (could it even be a majority) of Iraqis seem to prefer being ruled by Saddam Hussein. Now it seems that many of those who didn't like them are anxious to slaughter each other with knives and swords or just loot the heck out of the place.

The result is that we are creating a vacuum that only we can fill. Now these people have no food, water, electricity, medical care -- unless they come to us. Not only must we maintain the 300,000 plus military we have over there, we are going to have to support 22 million Iraqis (well, a few thousand less every day). And, we are going to have to rebuild just about every city in the country because they have had the nerve to resist our military.

Now we're hearing that it will be at least six months before we can install some sort of puppet government in Iraq that will make President Bush and his cronies content. It seems that the majority of our military force will be forced to stay there. I need not point out this is a hostile environment, not only because many hate us to the point where they will blow themselves up to take a few of our finest young people with them. But also because we have and are, permeating their environment with the dust from exploded armor piercing shells composed of something called "depleted uranium" (DU).

I'm sure you've heard of the "Gulf War Syndrome", a condition that has caused 30% of our Desert Storm veterans to apply for disability. There is now solid evidence that "condition" is the result of our troops' exposure to the dust (my goodness it does blow around over there, doesn't it) from the supposedly harmless DU that was used in that war. The good news is that in 1991 our troops were only over there for a few weeks after we created this radioactive nightmare and also, the battles were mercifully short.

Unfortunately in this war, much more of this stuff has been used all along the route to Baghdad and the bloom of our young generation is sitting in the middle of it. There is much information about DU on the internet. A good reference is -- I'll give you a short quote from there in case you can't access it directly

"It is very appealing in military weapons because of its heavy weight and pyrophoric qualities which cause it to burn like a cutting torch through steel when a DU penetrator strikes a hard target. It is this pyrophoric quality that makes this material so horrific, the burning of DU creates respirable size radioactive dust that can have short and long term health effects on the human body, such as kidney problems, birth defects, cancers and death."

I certainly hope many of our wonderful soldiers have donated to sperm and egg banks before journeying into this environment. President Bush has continually moved to cut VA medical funding.

This may seem like an endless negative rant, but unfortunately it's the stuff I'm lying awake thinking about during the night. I can't change it. All I can do is start looking around for a candidate to support who will, I hope, ensure that GW will be a one-term President.

In that regard I have joined the Democratic Party. I am supporting financially the campaign of Howard Dean. I am going to work like the dickens within the system. Some of my friends are saying "Why bother, the next election will probably be rigged so that GW is unbeatable." My level of paranoia hasn't reached that level -- yet!


Kenneth Turner Blackshaw