I’m a Liberal, but I Won’t Condemn the Wars

Son in Afghanistan War

I don’t often write emotional pieces – I write about politics, and while I’m passionate, my truest, deepest emotions aren’t often involved.  My heart, while constantly bleeding over injustice, isn’t fully engaged over what Bachmann fabricated this time, or how Gingrich is reinventing himself.

But about the wars . . . I get crossways with my liberal friends because I won’t decry the wars.  I won’t condemn them.  I won’t condemn the fact that we’re there.  I won’t condemn the President for the fact that he hasn’t ended both wars.  I won’t condemn the President for being a “hawk.”  I won’t condemn President Obama for taking out terrorists in his drone attacks.  I can hear the argument already – we’re also taking out civilians.  But we can’t define the success of the war effort on behalf of all Iraqis or Afghanis, or the success of any mission, strictly on casualties.

My heart is fully engaged in this, and I won’t condemn President Obama; I can’t.  My eldest son is in Afghanistan, along with other peoples’ sons and daughters, and he has bullets whistling over his head and bombs blowing up the vehicles he’s riding in, the vehicles in front of him, and behind him.  He’s clearing the route of IEDs, he’s picking up the pieces of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soldiers and vehicles.  Every terrorist President Obama kills with his drone attacks is that many less trying to kill my child and his battle buddies, that many less trying to plot further death upon this country.  He talks about the children, all the small children, who so love the soldiers, about the civilians who are so grateful for our presence there.

No, I won’t dishonor what he, along with the many other men and women fighting overseas, is doing for this country, and for the Afghani citizens.  Do I condemn Bush for getting us into these wars?  I really don’t.  Emotionally, I wanted us to retaliate after 9/11.  I wanted that, as many Americans wanted that.  Do we now, in hindsight, wish we hadn’t gone where we’d gone and done what we’d done?  Maybe.  At the time, though, I’ll admit that my pain, and pride in America, made me want us to hit back at the soulless terrorists who landed on our soil and took the lives of so many of our citizens.

The lies, the propaganda, all that came later, and with it, a condemnation of President Bush.  If you notice, with all the posts I write, none of them are written condemning President Bush.  He made a decision, one I approved of at the time, and I won’t now be one of the many who changed their minds.  Hindsight is 20/20, and nobody, on 9/11, had the benefit of that.

My son joined the Army at 17 – and at 23, with a good life and a wife and two babies, he deployed.  He went without a whine or a whimper, he went because it was his duty and he knew, at 17, that the day would come when he would be called.  To condemn the wars would be to undermine and dishonor what my son and other soldiers are doing for this country, would be to dishonor his Commander in Chief, our president, President Obama.  To condemn the wars is to say our soldiers’ time is wasted, our soldiers are dying for nothing, our soldiers are working for a dishonorable or useless end . . . no, I won’t do that.

Wiser minds than mine are making military decisions – and I trust our president and his advisors.  Do I want my son and his fellow soldiers to come home?  Yes, I do.  Do I believe in the war against terrorism?  Yes, I do, because without it, another 9/11 could happen, here – and, just as important, Afghani citizens are depending on us now, and I believe in nation – or “capacity” – building.  Will I protest the one war now remaining overseas, in Afghanistan, scream and cry and gnash my teeth over the unfairness of it all?  Never.

I promised my son that I would never protest or condemn or belittle this war, that I would never dishonor his service by reducing it to foolishness.  People will argue with me; they’ll say that I can condemn the war and still honor the soldiers.  No, you can’t do both.  You either honor the mission and duty of the soldiers and so honor them, or you condemn the war and dishonor their mission.

I honor the soldiers, all of them.  I honor their mission.  I do believe they keep us safer, I do believe that our presence there is a humanitarian effort, that we provide some semblance of stability in a country rife with danger and conflict.

julie driscoll

I’m not an isolationist; but more importantly, I will stand behind my son and his fellow soldiers as the backdrop of support that they all desperately need.  Should something happen to my son overseas, I swear to you I will not become a Cindy Sheehan and let my grief take on a life of its own, lash out at the war and those directing it.  I promised him that.  He trusts me.

Being a “liberal” and believing in a humanitarian war effort should not be mutually exclusive.  People . . . I thought that’s what liberals protect.

Julie Driscoll
Politics Anonymous


  1. James says

    I was going to say something. . . but I’ll be darned if I can think of words sufficient to describe the plain old every day brainless stupidity of this alleged “legal assistant.”

    This is exactly the kind of thinking that Jim Jones would be proud of. . . here, have some Kool-Aid, never mind the odd taste. . .

    Kindly take yourself out of the Gene Pool – ASAP.

  2. George A. Williams says

    This post is from a Viet Nam veteran so maybe I am a little biased in my opinion. I am also a social liberal; as such I have some definate opinions about the war. As I remember we were attacked on 9/11. If Iremember correctly over 3000 of my fellow Americans were saughtered. Childern were made parentless husbands lost their wives, wives lost their husbands. People died. Some of us still grieve for those. folk. I guess it’s not mass murder if it is all done at one time. Did we need to retaliate? I can only say that I am glad that we did. I guesss that I am just old school. But if you mess with me I am going to make sure that you don’t do it again. I did disagree with going into Iraq. That was some unjustifiable crap. however I believe that Afiganistan was justifyed and necessary. I guess that after all the we are wrong bs, I guess that I have to agree with Ms. Driscoll. I hope her son returns safe and sound.

    • Marta says

      Hey George,
      Go back to in time, BEFORE the Iraq Massacre. (As Bill Hicks said it’s only a war if the two sides meet on the battlefield. In Iraq we had a Turkey Shoot that killed over a million civilians)

      If memory fails you, Google it. Bush and Cheney reluctantly admitted the Iraq had NOTHING — I repeat NOTHING– to do with 9/11. It was supposedly about Hussein having WMD’s– which every single REAL expert said did NOT exist, and they are proved 100% correct. There were no WMD’s. Nothing. Nada. Zip

      So you want revenge, as Ms Driscoll does. Commendable, for your mind set. But at least kill the right people, not a million civilians who happen to live in an entirely different country thousands of miles away, but that you think are just the same.

      To some people, a Hajji is a Hajji whether they live in Saudi Arabia and Egypt (where the perpetrators of 9/11 were from) of if they live in Iraq. After all, to some people, a Go*k is a Go*k, whether they live in Cambodia or Vietnam

    • Marta says

      Why were you OK with bombing Afghanistan?

      it was know from 9/12 that the 9/11 perpetrators were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

      According to your logic, THOSE should have been the targets of revenge, Specially Saudi Arabia; bin Laden was high up in the “royal” House of Saud.

      Oh, right, we couldn’t do THAT. Saudi’s supply us with a hell of a lot of oil,,, And (other than Jordan, Qatar, and– of course– Israel) Egypt and Saudi Arabia are our only “friendlies” in the Middle East.

      But the BEST reason the US had for the Turkey Shoot in Afghanistan? It was considered an “Easy Target” The only weapons they had was whatever was left from the outdated cache the CIA had supplied them in the 1980’s to fight the Russians.
      Easy?! That turned out to be yet another massive FUBAR. Bush should have read about the trouble Alexander the Great, Britain, and Russia had when they tried- and failed- to conquer Afghanistan. But then again, we know how Bush felt about reading anything other than the bible

  3. dusty says

    Get a grip, the evidence is in about the lies and subterfuge carried out by the Bush administration and continued by the Obama administration to justify this carnage and it is sad that so many young and not-so-young Americans are in Afghanistan doing the dirty work. Our troops being there does not in any way justify the holocaust we have brought down upon the Afghans. Circular reasoning is the reasoning of those who lack any moral standard or the rationality of caring people — as a people we must be better than that if we love our young and our nation and value virtue and justice.

      • Marta says

        While I understand your anger, insults only solidify this woman’s attitudes, and weakens your position. Consider telling her the facts. I doubt that she’ll change her mind, (she’s sounds pretty hard-wired to obey authority) but it at least makes a statement

  4. says

    Julie, I disagree with some of your opinions about the wars but I find myself understanding many of your feelings and being able to respect that you can be fearlessly honest about them. These are interesting times and we often find that things are not always the way we first think they are.

    Though I may have different feelings about the wars, or my childrens’ involvement in them I am open to hearing another point of view. I don’t see any contradiction in you being a liberal who supports the wars. Just as I still consider President Franklin D. Roosevelt a liberal, even though he supported racial segregation by his executive inaction and ignored massive Ku Klux Klan domestic terrorism in order to placate racists in his party.

    Being a liberal doesn’t mean everybody has to have the exact same opinions on every issue.

  5. George says

    In the middle of Colin Powell’s UN presentation, I realized all the pictures showed absolutely nothing of interest. Apparently the meaningless pictures convinced Americans that the associated nonsensical assertions were true. All that was left was that Saddam was a nasty dictator, but there are many nasty dictators in the world and no reason to elevate him over the others. The only sensible way to “support the troops” was to keep them out. That would have made America great. Sure, I possibly was mistaken in supporting an overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which was done only as an afterthought of the Iraq Crusade; maybe, maybe not, but the only actions worthy of support are those which are actually in the interests of the American people, or the human species, or life, or something along those lines. The Iraq Crusade served the interests of no one except a small clique with political power.

  6. says

    I commend Ms Driscoll for her support of her son and her resulting respect for his choices and commitments.

    But – and here I join other commenters like Leonard, Marjaleena and Marta – why does she think it reasonable to call herself ‘liberal’ – or in any wise a whole and free human being – while totally abdicating judgment on political affairs to others – notably to government officials and especially to whoever happens to be president of the USA?

    Unhappily Ms Driscoll is not alone in this unreason. In effect, Hillary Clinton articulated this doctrine in 2008 as an alleged justification of her votes on Iraq during the GW Bush presidency. One result of her unreason was to push me and many others to support Barack Obama as the THEN-better choice. (I say this even as I admit that from my CURRENT perspective he has turned out to be the worst Democratic president I can remember in my lifetime – which began during the days of FDR.) Another result of this unreason is that commenter Terence – and many others – now wrongly equate genuine liberalism to unquestioning worship of federal power and programs.

    In my opinion, it was the experience of the 1930s and 1940s that misled many then-liberals (and their less thoughtful successors) into confusing permanent ends – social justice, progress – with temporary means: federal governmental, especially presidential, power. In those days, the federal government and especially a committed president – rather than the many regressive and even segregationist state governments, not to mention greedy or irresponsible corporations – was clearly the more effective means toward realizing ends of social justice, including civil liberties, economic fairness, abatement of poverty and investment in beneficial infrastructure and other public goods.

    But permanent ends do not equate to temporary means.

  7. says

    That’s why I’m not a liberal. Liberals led us into the slaughter of Vietnam. Driscoll’s complete submission of her brain to the powers that be puts me in mind of those great words by one of America’s worst poets, Edgar A. Guest:

    I always must in trouble’s hour
    Be guided by the men in power;
    For God and country I must live,
    My best for God and country give;
    No act of mine that men may scan
    Must shame the name American.

    That sums up the opposite of everything I have ever done or stood for.

  8. says

    War under our constitution is declared by Congress. This has not been done since WWII, the last war that Congress declared. We sat in judgment of the German people at Nuremburg Trials by saying that soldiers have a duty to say no, when the war that they are being asked to fight is illegal, immoral, and against people who were not responsible for 9.11.

    Blindly supporting an illegal and unjust war based on what we knew then were lies, e.g. no weapons of mass destruction, is a moral lapse that jeopardizes your immortal soul, if you believe you have one.

  9. says

    It takes some nerve to publish an article openly supportive of mass murder–the invasion/occupation of Afghanistan , Iraq, and Libya-in a Journal titled “Progressive.” I WILL “UNSUBSCRIBE.”

    • Patrick O'Connor says

      And labeling someone with a picture and real name as a supporter of mass-murder from behind a alias requires no nerve at all.

    • Marta says

      re-consider your unsubscribe. As you can see the great majority of responses completely disagreed with Driscoll.

      But I do agree with you. Driscoll is clearly a supporter of mass murder if her president says its the right thing to do. She admits it.

      Which, sadly, is an all too-common response in the US now. Frighteningly reminiscent of the response by the citizens of an European country that killed millions a few decades ago. (we all know that story)

  10. says

    If you were in Germany in 1939, would you have supported Hitler’s invasion of Poland, simply because your son was in his army? By your logic, there can be no immoral war not worth supporting, simply because your son has the misfortune to be a part of it.

    War is declared by the Congress under our constitution. The last declared war was WWII. To the extent that we have fought undeclared “police actions” in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in many other locations throughout the world, should not require you as an American citizen abdicate your responsibility under the constitution to reject a war without legal authority and where there is no legal justification.

  11. Don Duitz says

    Hey! Loosen up before your heart explodes. Wars have unexpected consequences, some good and some bad. You made a bad choice in promising to keep quiet about reality. I pray for you that your son comes back whole. It is a shame that we are wasting our precious children and their future on long shot bets and the foolishness of our leaders. Get real!

    • Clara says

      Hear,hear!! Thank you, Don!!

      Ms. Driscoll- I too want to jump in and question your judgement, your deliberately turning a blind eye to the massive amount of murder and injustice, destruction of a culture(Iraq), because your child is involved.. Do these actions bring honor to the deaths of those who died on 9/11? How many need to die to even up the score?
      This country became a military-industrial complex after WW II ,and is now spinning more wildly than ever out of control of civilian hands. Wake up and try to think about what type of society your grandchildren will inherit. My best wishes to your son, I pray he makes it home safely to his wife and children.

  12. Marta says

    You say: “Wiser minds than mine are making military decisions – and I trust our president and his advisors.” Wow, that is SO scary. To automatically assume that those in power are more intelligent and always correct opens the door to authoritarian regimes.

    Have you ever read 1984? Big Brother would have loved you. Orwellian non-think will make you believe that war is peace, freedom is slavery and 4 is 5, just because Big Brother says so

    You wanted revenge after 9/11, so it was OK for Bush to go after Iraq— a country that has never attacked us and had absolutely NOTHING to do with 9/11? By the way, this was— however reluctantly— admitted by Bush and Cheney ON CAMERA BEFORE the war started. Yeah, look it up. If you would try to remember- the excuse for the Iraq War was NOT 9/11, but the supposed WMD’s which all the experts said DID NOT EXIST, and they were proven 100% correct. You say “Hindsight is 20-20” That may be true in other cases, but it’s just trite excuse in the Iraq War. We KNEW beforehand that Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11

    Yet you still justify it. An illegal preemptive war which has left over a million dead, countless homeless orphans, CREATED intense hatred for America and destroyed the infrastructure so badly that it will be decades before the educational system gets up to the pre-existing level. But you say “wiser heads than I.” Really? Where is your humanity for non-white non-Christian non-Americans?

    Iraq is not even close to Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden was from, but they’re both in the Middle East, have Arabs of some kind of another, so what the heck, let’s kill a few million of them Iraqis just to be safe? Is that your logic? I’d hate to be even of the same race as anyone who did you damage. By those terms, my life would be in danger.

    For you to assume that Afghans WANT to be occupied by the US tells me you know nothing about their history. They have fought occupations since Alexander invaded them in 330 BC. Later, they fought the British, then the Russians and will fight us until we either leave or we commit genocide of the entire culture.

    I’m curious what your definition of “Liberal”
    Does your sense of justice and Liberalism only apply to those born in the United States? Does color, ethnicity, religion – or lack thereof, lifestyle or gender preferences also factor into your Liberalism.

    According to the dictionary definition of Liberal (posted below) you, Ms Driscoll, are not a liberal as you seem to never question authoritarian views

    Dictionary definition of Liberal:
    .a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

  13. Marjaleena Repo says

    I’m quite shocked at this piece! There is nothing liberal or even “liberal” about it — instead it is a blatant statement of “My country, right of wrong! ” which amounts to Big Nation Chauvinism, pure and simple. Julie excuses the war crimes committed by American presidents, past and present, as if the people elsewhere don’t matter one whit and can with a sleight of hand be labelled as “terrorists” for resisting wars of aggression and invasion forced upon them by the United States. For the record, neither Afghanistan, nor Iraq —or Libya, for that matter — have ever attacked the U.S., yet they paid and continue to pay the price for the U.S.taking revenge for 9/11 on somebody, anybody, resulting in mass deaths of their citizens and the destruction of their countries. “Humanitarian war effort” — a nice cover-up expression for brute force and barbarism, IMO.

    How many illegal, immoral and unjust wars to come will Julie Driscoll be supporting?

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