Douglas MacKinnon

Who in the United States really supports our troops? If truth be told, basically nobody.

My former boss, Sen. Bob Dole — who was grievously wounded in combat during World War II and then spent the next three years of his life in various hospitals trying to survive and recover from his wounds — says this generation of soldiers, not his, is truly "The Greatest Generation." Over the course of the last few years, he has quietly visited with hundreds of wounded soldiers and been brought to tears, not only by their sacrifice, but also by their determination to rejoin their fellow soldiers back in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Bob Dole, who clearly supports our troops, may think of them as "The Greatest Generation," not many of us agree with his very accurate assessment. Out of a nation of now 300 million people, who really cares about the young men and women we send into harm's way?

Let's see. Those on active duty obviously care, their families care, veterans care, a small number in the media care, some states like Texas care more than others, and a minute amount of the national population actually cares. But for the vast majority of the rest America, the young men and women who serve on the front lines and protect us from evil are all but invisible. They don't exist in our lives, they occupy no space in our minds, and their sacrifice goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

Many on the far left think those in uniform are fools, puppets or even war criminals. Witness the already controversial ad run in the New York Times last week by MoveOn.org that intimates Gen. David Petraeus — a nonpartisan professional soldier of impeccable reputation — may in fact be "General Betray Us." Is that their "support" for our troops?

Politicians who speak for the far left often say, "I support the troops but not the war." Proudly, liberal Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, often parrots that exact phrase. This is the same man who, while in the terrorist-sponsoring state of Syria, just denounced the Iraq war on Syrian television and praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad— a dictator who, according to our intelligence agencies, allows and encourages Islamists to cross his border into Iraq to kill U.S. soldiers. Is that "support" as defined by Kucinich?

What about wealthy liberals who can't fathom why U.S. soldiers would accelerate their training for a $20,000 bonus? As they ridicule these soldiers for selling their souls for a pittance, do they understand what $20,000 represents to the average American? Is this the "support" and understanding they are willing to grant our soldiers?


Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is former White House and Pentagon official who spent three years working in a Joint Command.

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