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Location: Austin, Texas, United States

I'm a software engineer / partner working for a young company in Austin, Texas, USA. I spend most of my free time hanging out with friends and family, eating out, and partying in the Warehouse District. I should spend more time working on my house....

Friday, February 25, 2005

Supporting Our Troops

An article Friday in the Austin American Statesman brought to my attention something that has been bothering me for a while.

What is the best way to be able to show you support soldiers when you don't support their mission and/or feel they are being poorly lead?

I think the war in Iraq, in particular, has been very badly managed from the start. I think the American people were deceived going into this war and have been lied to about it numerous times since. I think soldiers, and innocent Iraqis, are being disabled and killed due to this poor leadership. But make no mistake, I blame a miserable failure in leadership, NOT the soldiers.

I want to show I support the soldiers at the same time not contributing to the patriotic echo chamber that says that we should always support every soldier and leader whenever we are at war. The individuals and leaders that allowed Abu Ghraib torture should be imprisoned. The individuals and leaders that evade international and US law in order to torture and detain individuals indefinitely should be prosecuted and imprisoned. The soldiers that break US and international law and execute unarmed former combatants should be prosecuted and imprisoned. Having said that, those individuals do not represent the entire military or even a significant minority.

Most soldiers, IMHO, are working to make Iraq and Afghanistan better, safer, more democratic places. They are following orders while trying to make sure they and their fellow soldiers get home safe, and in one piece.

I want to donate to an organization that supports that quiet majority of troops, preferably supporting disabled troops and families of soldiers who die while on duty.

I thought about donating to Homes for Troops, but they seemed over the top in their willingness to be associated with politicians instead of the soldiers they are trying to help. Note their photo page if you want to see what I mean. Additionally, they don't have much history (they were started sometime after 9/11/01) and don't seem to have accomplished much yet.

So I used the Charity Navigator to help me find the National Military Family Association. This organization has been around since 1969 (When it was the National Military Wives Association) and appears to have a broad set of goals generally based on the idea of trying to improve the lives of soldiers and their families. Although this wasn't exactly what I was looking for, after reading their History and Mission I decided that this was an appropriate charity. So, I will be donating to them from now on.

If there is another charity that you think fits my goals better I would be very interested in hearing about it.


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