Of course, I also saw the Dumbest American Ever, walking around in an “Operation Iraqi Freedom” tee shirt. Great way to make friends with the Europeans, that.
She accused me of being ignorant and a few other things for my "lack of support for our troops." Doubling the offense, her daughter served in Iraq. She said that this statement contradicted the purpose of the Peace Project.
Let me clarify something. I support our troops. I can't tell you how many friends I have serving in the Middle East right now, friends that I don't know if I'll ever see again. I back them 100%, but I CANNOT support the government that sent them there, and seeing that map of Iraq emblazoned upon that man's back, striped in red, white and blue is highly offensive to me.
I believe in a nation's right to self defense. I believe in supporting the men and women who fight and die every day for our freedom. I do NOT believe in attacking other countries, taking them over, and trying to turn them into little miniature versions of the US.
This is not a political blog, and so I will try not to talk too much about my personal views on this subject. It is a complicated and touchy matter, so I will just say this:
While America is not the only country fighting in the middle east, the only reason that most of our allies are there is because of various treaties. Canada, England, France--all of these nations have shown an abhorrence for the methods used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and surrounding countries.
Italy in particular has been opposed to the fighting. They reluctantly sent one hundred troops, which have since all been recalled. It seems that every street in Florence displays at least one "Peace" flag, hanging from a window.
Italy is in the middle of it's own political problems. I have mentioned the dissolving the parliament, and the subsequent protest. At present, a new government has yet to be established, and us Americans studying abroad wait anxiously for that day to come, biting our nails and wondering if we will be sent home, or how safe we will be if there is further breakdown between now and then. Will our rights be recognized, or our citizenship?
I don't have to tell you how many Americans are opposed to the war. I believe the President's approval rating speaks for itself. Showing support of that invasion can earn enough negative attention in the US. It leaves me wondering why anyone would be so stupid as to bring that opinion overseas, and publicly broadcast it in a country that has shown such opposition to it in the past. That's almost like wearing a "Free Tibet" teeshirt in Beijing. Okay, maybe the Italian police won't haul you off to prison for it, but it certainly won't earn you any friends, either with foreigners abroad or with the locals. Italians are very...fiery when it comes to politics, and I don't think that "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is something that you want to be associated with any more than you have to be.
I apologize if my comment offended anyone, or if it was taken the wrong way. I will admit that was probably not the best forum to be airing my personal views in, and will do my best to keep it from happening again in the future. But I will not retract that statement, say that I was mistaken, or otherwise change my mind. All I will say is that I'm sorry it was so easily misconstrued. From now on, I'll try to be a little clearer.