Today promises to be the last of the brutally hot days our region has endured, as temperatures are predicted to retreat into the eighties for the next few days. (If anything, we could use the rain this cold front may bring us.) But for several thousand men and women, 100-degree days are common during the summer because they’re serving in the arid lands of the Middle East.
Now I understand the argument that many make: well, they’re the ones who volunteered to serve so they probably had an idea of what they were getting into. Moreover, when they return they’re going to be the recipient of a host of government goodies, such as a lifetime of medical benefits, assistance in paying for a college education, and preferences in various areas of housing and employment. No doubt many have seen this as an attractive way of life, well worth the risk to life and limb – particularly as the benefits of military service are continually promoted in venues attractive to the younger generation.
Yet when they arrive at the front against Islamic terrorism they find that William Tecumseh Sherman was right: war is hell. Soldiers can do all the training and wargaming that’s demanded of them, but when the objective by the enemy is to inflict real, honest-to-God death and destruction onto people they have no compunction whatsoever about killing (nor about dying for their own cause) by any means possible – including tactics far outside the Geneva Convention – it’s a wonder more don’t crack under all that stress. Seeing good friends blown to bits by an IED doesn’t do wonders for one’s psyche. And yes, I again acknowledge the argument that these sons and daughters of ours volunteered for the gig.
So when they receive something tangible which expresses our support I’m sure it makes their day; an island of hope and comfort among the drudgery and despair.
The cynic in all of us also says that those companies and entities which supply the items placed in the care package are in it for the publicity or the tax writeoff, and that could be true. To be honest, I’m not clear just how Move America Forward (the organization which sponsors the Troopathon and these care packages) acquires the items for the packages they send overseas – my guess is that many of them are donated by suppliers while others are purchased at a nominal to wholesale price. And obviously there’s the cost of postage involved in getting these overseas. I can tell you the price has increased over the years since I think the initial 2008 package (which may not have had the same number of items, so I could be doing an apples-to-oranges comparison) was around $15 apiece. It’s gone up a couple dollars each year since.
Still, I figure it’s the least I can do to thank those who put their lives on the line for us. While many question our purpose in fighting overseas, the fact is that we will be there until our Commander-in-Chief says we come back.
As for the Troopathon itself, it will be broadcast over the internet, presumably at the Troopathon site, starting at 4 p.m. this coming Thursday, July 12. (At this time they have a rebroadcast of last year’s program there.) Over previous years a veritable who’s who of conservative and pro-troop personalities have stopped by, and this year will be no exception.
The difference is, as I detailed a little last week, that I have a fair amount of bragging rights at stake because I am part of a larger blogger team. No question I want to do my part as I have the third-most-read website on the team (behind Hot Air, of course, and The Lonely Conservative) according to Alexa ranking so I should be a key contributor to the cause. I figure if fifty readers can help out that would be an appropriate kickstart. Now I know I have way more than fifty readers on any given day so this is quite doable, I think.
If you support the troops, here’s a way to do so. I did, and I’m just a struggling middle-aged blogger. Just click on the large banner on the right sidebar and enlist yourself in my army of troop supporters!