A blog by Mel Riser about LifeBoat Permaculture and Solar Villages

Friday, January 27, 2006

Support the Troops? Nah not interested

Warriors and wusses
I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion
to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put
bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that
even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for
anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up
for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.
And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the
Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a
good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic
magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money
off of.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you
support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have
ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one
lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts
with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them
overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them
there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust
me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on
the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's
going to be looking for funnel cake.

Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren't really for the troops.
They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of
"Laguna Beach."

The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel
for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no
sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though
there should be a ribbon for that.

I understand the guilt. We know we're sending recruits to do our dirty
work, and we want to seem grateful.

After we've decided that we made a mistake, we don't want to blame the
soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who
were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who
failed to object to a war we barely understood.

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that
people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're
following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral
choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their
morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by
the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country,
especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get
mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only
imagine how they feel.

But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know
you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada.
So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American
imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to
fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang
out in Germany.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did
well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his
country. But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely
affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed
in the phone book.

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did
after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for
doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that
we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions,
mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.

This was written by someone at the LA Times named Joel



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