As a former Marine (of 8 ½ years) and current Department of Defense employee, others expect that I support the Bush Administration, from top to bottom and bow to stern. While that expectation is supported by aspects of my daily job in that I provide support to military families, I do not support the Bush Administration.
The biggest boost to my political ideology came last year when the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) designated a “Wounded Warriors Program” and installed them into the building I worked (we've since been relocated).
Every day I saw the results of the disastrous policy in Iraq. I saw Marines with bandaged arms and legs and Marines in wheelchairs or on crutches. They would all go back to Iraq if they were ordered - it's their duty, after all. But most would volunteer to go back and some have. I've asked a few of them why and the answers are almost all the same: Revenge. That's not to say that America's military forces are full of revenge-minded thugs. That’s completely not the case.
They're angry because their brother and sister Marines died and they couldn't stop it. That anger is directed towards Iraqis for not standing up to take control of their own nation. The anger is also directed towards Americans that don't support the continued occupation of Iraq because they see it as an insult. The Marines see it as an act of honor to see this through to the end and, indeed, that is an honorable way to exit Iraq. The problem is that there is no end.
The Bush Administration and the Occupation of Iraq has caused grave damage to these Marines and their families. As the Bush Administration stays its course in Iraq, more Americans will die, but many, many more will be wounded - physically and mentally. The Bush Administration continues to hack and slash at veterans’ health-care and strong-arms the VA into reducing disability ratings.
It's important for all American military members to remember the disservice that the Bush Administration has wrought upon them: Walter Reed. 3309 dead and 24,764 wounded in Iraq (as of the April 18th DoD casualty report). 347 dead and 1,177 wounded in other efforts on the War on Terror (as of the April 14th DoD casualty report).
Members of the American military can't speak out against the Bush Administration. They can't disobey their orders. They shouldn't. They would truly dishonor themselves and their service. They can, however, vote. It's important that our service members understand what's happening and what's being done to them because they honestly do not know.