Thursday, May 10, 2007

Perspective: 'Everybody else is shopping'

NEW YORK - Paul Rieckhoff looked across the crowded restaurant, which was not far from Times Square.

"During World War II," he said, "we could be in this place and there would be a guy sitting at that table who was in the war, or the bartender had been in the war. Everybody you saw would have had a stake in the war. But right now you could walk around New York for blocks and not find anybody who has been in Iraq.

"The president can say we're a country at war all he wants. We're not. The military is at war. And the military families are at war. Everybody else is shopping."

Rieckhoff is an imposing 6-foot-2, 245-pound former infantry officer who joined the military after graduating from Amherst College. When he came home from a harrowing tour in Iraq in 2004, he vowed to do what he could to serve the interests of the men and women who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan but have never fully received the support they deserve from the government or the public at large.

Read the rest at the San Jose Mercury News