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December 08, 2004

How (not) to support our troops

Jeff McMahan of Left2Right asks what people mean when they claim to support our troops.

In keeping with today's Quinean theme, I'm just going to point and say "Lo, supporter."

Grand Forks Herald columnist Lloyd Omdahl supports our troops, Honoring a Guardsman's request.

[Via Dr. Pretorious of applecidercheesefudge.]


"Lo, non-supporters."

The US government is quite literally not supporting our wounded troops who are turning to homeless shelters for help.

[Via Steve Gilliard.]

Draw your own conclusions.


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» Homeless Veterans from Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Hat tip to Majikthise and Steve Gilliard for bringing my attention to this article about vets from the Iraqi war becoming homeless after leaving the military. I'll quote just a little bit of the story from one returning Iraqi vet:... [Read More]


How 'bout a new bumper sticker:
"Stuetzen Sie Unsere Truppen!
They're just following orders."

I tell ya, that blog's comment chains are a hoot to read. Pretty much mirrors the entire problem in a little microcosm. I give it a week before they give up in disgust.

I wish I could disagree with your forecast, Hal.

How can soldiers retruning from Iraq see those yellow ribbon "Support Our Troops" stickers and not want to smash all the car's windows?

How can people have "Support Our Troops" and "Bush/Cheney 2004" stickers on their SUVs and not have their heads explode from the contradiction?

I want to bang on the windows and say "Look, you phony patriot and probably faux Christian - Support our troops: bring them home by Christmas."

I support the troops inasmuch as I do not wish them immediate harm. But they are not "heroes" to me, nor have any troops in my lifetime ever "fought for my freedom."

Nor do I have much patience with all the whining. No one forced them to join (yet).

I agree with your "hero" point. There are people on both sides who are showing great personal bravery, but neither side is engaged in a noble cause or sacrificing for a greater good.

I've got a lot of sympathy for the National Guardsmen who signed up to fight floods and clean up after hurricanes went to Iraq because the government botched an evil war. I'm especially sorry because a lot of them haven't been trained or equipped to do their jobs, which makes them even more likely to get killed and/or freak out and kill civilians, prisoners, themselves, their COs, etc.

To me, supporting the troops means acknowledging their good-faith attempts to serve, not blaming them for the fact that they're fighting an evil and unwinnable war, treating them fairly, and providing well for troops and veterans. Ultimately it means stopping the war because we know that this particular war isn't worth their lives or the lives of their adversaries.

Very conservative brother-in-law: "Now that the troops are there, you should support 'em."

Me:"Your logic says that if the president had sent troops to Iraq to kill every child between one and eighteeen months old, then, since they were already there, I should shut up and support the troops.

Very conservative brother-in-law: They're not killing kids! What left-wing liberal media are you listening to? CNN?

Me: Somebody get me a drink!

I would have more sympathy for the Nat Guard if that's all there was to the story: Men and women of good will joined up to help with domestic disaster relief (and finance their educations), but got suckered into the Iraq war, a deal they never made. But there's more to it than that. Guardsmen are trained in all manner of firearms and military tactics that have nothing to do with hurricanes and floods. If they believed they would never have to go to war and kill people on command, then they weren't paying attention.

Meanwhile stories like this one are coming out every week -- and this in an environment where information from the front is rigidly controlled by the Pentagon. It's not just a matter of a few bad apples, folks. Every day our boys and girls are providing more answers to that perennial question, "Why do they hate us?"

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