Lobb: Enough with the protests

Matt Kelly

“I’d be lost without with my mother,” I heard a nine year-old tell a reporter while I was visiting Ft. Dix Air Force Base last week. Her mother, a major in the air force, is on-call. She is on-call to head to a war that so many soldiers are already fighting. Talk about not wanting to the answer the phone. Sitting there I questioned what would drive a single mom to leave her three children, all under 12, to a dangerous war thousands of miles away? But suddenly I realized what was fueling her fire – it is the concept of freedom.

It is the freedom of knowing that her children won’t have to grow-up worrying about chemical or biological attacks which justifies risking her life on foreign sands. It is the freedom that is seen in every aspect of the word “democracy,” including the protests that have been taking place daily.

Ah, the protests! As an American and as a journalist, I believe in the right to free speech. Before the war millions lined up to share their feelings with the world about their beliefs on peace. I said go ahead, let them shout, shout until their faces were blue. But that was before the war.

Time is up. The war is on. And now it’s time to put down the signs and stop the chants. It’s time to step aside and support our troops.

“I support the troops, I don’t support war.” Talk about oxymoron. How can you support people you don’t agree with? Wake up. No wants war. Sure, you can argue about hawks, doves and oil, but come on. Do you think wives and husbands like hearing that their spouse is dead? Do mothers and fathers enjoy grieving for the loss of their son or daughter? And what about the children? They wonder what happens if the bombs come here, what happens if we don’t win and what if mom or dad doesn’t come back home? They ask questions many adults don’t have answers to.

I have questions, too. And it breaks my heart every time an American life is lost, but it makes me proud to know that these men and women are courageous enough to put an end to the atrocities that are taking place in Iraq. What I don’t understand is how some Americans, who live in freedom, are unwilling to protect those live in fear. Don’t the civilians in Iraq deserve the same privileges – to protest or to vote on ballots that have more than one name?

Sure, if Americans did not engage in military action then there would be no American causalities. But Iraqi citizens would still be dying – not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. And a problem would still exist, waiting to erupt at a time when it would be too late to fix. After terrorism happens is when people say, “Why didn’t we do something?” You have to do something before it happens.

Seeing firsthand, this week; the families who are willing to accept sacrifice by having a loved one overseas makes it unfathomable to me how any citizen of this nation can stand and protest.

If it were not for these men and women in uniform, you wouldn’t have this right. I believe that it is demoralizing to soldiers to hear that many of their countrymen stand adamantly against a cause they willing to risk their lives for. I commend the men and women who fight for my security and the liberties that I have come to cherish and frankly expect, and I thank their families as well.