Supporting the war takes more than hanging up yellow ribbons |

Supporting the war takes more than hanging up yellow ribbons

Kirk Caraway

While the Bush Administration and the military are desperately searching for an exit strategy in Iraq, it looks like the insurgents have a pretty clear road map for victory.

They are looking at two important indicators for winning this war. One, that the U.S. military doesn’t have any more troops to send. And two, that according to the U.S. military recruiting numbers, fewer and fewer Americans are willing to volunteer to fight.

Given these two facts, the insurgents know all they have to do is keep up their current activities for another year or so and they will win. There is no sign that they are having problems recruiting fighters the same way the U.S. Army and Marines are.

In the end, the political rhetoric and opinion polls mean nothing. If Americans aren’t signing up to fight the war, then it’s over.

That’s the reality of a volunteer armed forces.

Our military is geared for quick strikes and quick victories. The current recruiting situation points out the problem that long, drawn-out slugfests pose for volunteer armies.

There was a spike in recruiting after 9/11 and during the initial operations in Afghanistan. People understood that our country was attacked and we needed to fight back.

But Iraq is a different story. The case for going to war there was weak to start with, and is getting weaker all the time.

And while a significant number of Americans support the war, they aren’t willing to make the sacrifice to go and fight it.

If you are one of those who supports the war, ask yourself this question. Why don’t you sign up to fight it, or urge your children or others who are capable to serve to sign up? If you aren’t willing to do that, then do you really support the war? Does that yellow ribbon on your car really mean anything?

If this war isn’t worth interrupting your current civilian life to go and fight, perhaps it’s not worth fighting.

I’d like to pose these questions to the thousands of people who will be flocking to the Young Republicans National Convention in Las Vegas next month. I would guess that a wide majority of them are in favor of the war. But why aren’t they signing up? They are making a big deal out of collecting donations to send to the troops. But unless they are willing to strap on the boots and fight, it’s an empty, and even pompous gesture, made by people who consider themselves too good to do the dirty work to advance their policies.

Why haven’t President Bush and the rest of his administration been out making speeches at all the high school and college graduations about the need to join the fight? Why aren’t the children of our elected leaders, or the leaders themselves, signing up for duty?

In World War II, several congressmen, including future president Lyndon Johnson, signed up for duty. Why should this war be any different? True leaders lead, while fake leaders ask others to do what they aren’t willing to do themselves.

The failure of war supporters to volunteer to fight speaks louder than any protester about what a debacle this has become. It’s easy to send other people to fight your battles. But if you aren’t willing to make any real sacrifice, then you have to question whether it’s worth fighting.

Unless the proponents of this war make an immediate and concerted effort to correct this situation, then we might as well pack everyone up and bring them home now. If there is no real commitment to winning, then every life lost from this point forward will be in vain.

n Kirk Caraway is the Internet editor for the Nevada Appeal.