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Fair Weather Americans
Monty Rainey
1 April 2003

We are a nation that loves sports, so let me pose an analogy.  Do you cheer the opposition team on, even if you oppose the coach's decision, or do you get behind your team once the game begins?

Like thousands of military personnel before me and thousands more since my time in service, I have sacrificed so that each and every American would have the right to protest. As a former military man, I can also say, the very instant a war begins the time for protesting is past.

We are a nation that loves sports, so allow me to pose an analogy. You support your local team. They are your team. You support them in good times and in bad. The local coach announces he is going to start the back up quarterback in next week’s game. You have every right to voice your protest to this decision, but the instant the game begins, do you continue to protest? Do you cheer the opposition on, or do you get behind your team, even if you oppose the coaches decision? The answer to this is obvious. If you truly support your team, you rise above your disdain for the coach and pull for your boys to win decisively. If you are a fair weather fan, and you put your own animosity of the coach above all else, you hope for your teams failure. Your bitterness and implacability will not allow you to hope for success.

I have heard people over and over since the war began in Iraq, trying desperately to make the case they support our troops, but oppose the war. To that I say, hogwash. Protesting the war now is a slap in the face to every son and daughter, father and mother, who wear our military uniforms. The time for protesting is over, and now the time for support has begun. Consider how it affects our soldiers when they find themselves in harm’s way, facing grave danger, only to hear that the very people they are sworn to protect oppose their actions.

What is to be accomplished by the protesters? Will their action bring an end to the war? No. The truth is Saddam Hussein knows the only chance he has of surviving is to prolong the war as long as possible, to facilitate a negative attitude and loss of support by the American people. Protesting this war is playing right into the hands of an evil dictator which we have sworn to remove from power. It is the equivalent of supporting Saddam Hussein, not our troops. Should the efforts of the protesters be successful, which they will not, and we pull out of Iraq without a conclusion, then the fine sons and daughters who have already given the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq have done so in vain. I find that unacceptable.

And I would ask every American who is protesting this war, is it really this war you are so vehemently opposed to, or is it the coach? Since the Supreme Court ruling that put George W. Bush in office, he has faced a constant barrage of hatred, and this protest is nothing more than a continuation of that hatred. Where were the protests when the previous administration sent our troops into Somalia without the armament necessary to survive, much less complete their mission? Where was the protesting when the previous administration bombed Iraq in 1998 without a UN resolution? Or where was the protesting over the previous administrations involvement of our forces in Bosnia? Where was your support of the troops when the previous administration was cutting our military budget to shreds while increasing welfare benefits? If you won’t be honest with the rest of us, at least be honest with yourselves and admit that your hatred is not for the war, but rather for the coach.

Is it the fault of the second string quarterback that the coach made a decision that was unpopular for some people? No. Nor is it the fault of any one of our soldiers that an unpopular war has begun. (Actually, the polls currently show, it is only an unpopular war with about 28% of Americans). But the fact is, the war has started, and it will continue until its conclusion. If you really want to support our troops, the best method is to support their mission. Pray for a fast and decisive victory so they may return home soon. Our troops need real fans, not the fair weather variety.

Monty Rainey is one of the founders of the Junto Society, on the web at www.juntosociety.com.

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