01/30/2006 08:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

False Patriotism

The other day a friend of mine e-mailed me this exchange he had with his cousin who served in Iraq. I thought it was worth posting. It's yet further evidence that if you want to know what these Republicans are all about, see what they accuse others of being -- anti-American, anti-troops, liars, etc.

And, as always, we thank and honor our troops for their service and sacrifice -- Adam McKay.

Dear Adam,

My cousin John was in Iraq for a year, in combat near Baghdad. He didn't win the Congressional Medal of Honor or anything (though he did get promoted twice, and ended up a Sgt.). He's been meeting with congress people and the like because he became an anti-war activist when he came back. Just to give you an idea:

The other day I found a news story on a suburban news website. It was about the Bucks County (Pa.) Democratic headquarters. They have a sign in the window that says "We honor our fallen heroes". Beneath it is a running count of the Iraq war death toll. The Young Republicans of Bucks County (I feel queasy just typing that phrase), are protesting the sign, trying to get them to take it down. No, seriously.

The president of the organization was quoted in the article. Don something. I emailed the story to John, because I knew it would interest him. The next day he called Don on the phone, and followed up with this email:

Letter to chairman of Bucks County Young Republicans.


I called you to get some sort of understanding on the reason why you were upset that the Bucks County Democratic Headquarters has posted the death count of US Troops in Iraq outside their office. You had explained to me that you feel the local Democrats are trying to play politics on the issue of the Iraq war. They say they are just trying to honor our fallen troops.

I agree with you that Democrats voted right along side of Republicans to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq. That is an undisputed fact. But in the end it was the decision of the President to
take us to war. As a veteran of that war I don't feel that it is wrong to let the public know that troops are dying every day in Iraq. It's not politics it's just plain reality.

This morning you told me that out of your whole organization (Bucks County Young Republicans) only two or three members plan to pursue military service. And at the same time you told me that your
organization supports the war in Iraq. If your organization is so supportive of the war maybe more than two or three of your members should volunteer for military service. Believe me those troops in Iraq
could use a little extra help. We have soldiers right now that are on their third tour of duty.

When I got home from Iraq after a year long combat tour I attended a Kerry/Edwards rally in Kansas City. At the rally I was confronted by a group of able-bodied males carrying signs that said "Students For Bush." They called me a traitor, a disgrace, and they told me to move to France. They said this because I was going to vote for Senator Kerry. They claim to be so supportive of the troops, but they were not at all supportive of me. I guess that only applies to troops who share their political ideas. I just returned home from a war that they support, but obviously don't have the courage to fight. If they did
they would be fighting it. It is much easier to support a war from your office, classroom, or from your cozy living room than from the actual battlefield.

I served with plenty of troops who are pro-Bush and pro-Iraq war. For the most part they were the majority. I had respect for them despiteour disagreements because those troops put their money where their mouth is. They have definitely earned their right to an opinion. Just as I have earned mine.

About a year ago I contacted an old friend of mine who belongs to the Philadelphia Young Republicans. I asked him how many in his group had served. He replied that he thinks that one of them served in Kosovo back in the late 90s. It seems like there is a lot of "false patriotism" going around these days. The hefty amount of "flag waving" and "chest beating" is not balancing out the low recruitment levels.

The purpose of this email is not to be confrontational or attack the Republican Party. I don't want people to misunderstand me. My motives are to try and educate as many people as I can about the reality of the situation in Iraq.

I am a strong supporter and advocate of Congressman John Murtha's resolution. My experience in Iraq has made me a critic of the war. At this point in time I feel that the US Military has done everything that
can possibly be done in Iraq. The time has come to bring our troops home. Especially now that it has been established that every reason we went there never existed. And the Bush administration now concedes that as well. So why should more troops continue to die? I can't think of
one logical answer or reason.


John Bruhns
Iraq War Veteran