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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Let's Think Before We Support These Troops.


It seems like every now and then I get one of these Support the Troops messages, usually via mass email circulation. It gets worse during the holidays. Some of them are from friends of mine who are just compassionate. Some of them are from the sort of people who love to communicate but don't have anything to say, so they just copy other people's junk and propagate it like a virus. Support the Troops. No one disagrees with it. Even the most zealous opponents of the murderous invasion and occupation of the world's last productive oil fields, disguised as "anti-terrorist" activity, say, oppose the war, oppose the administration, but Support the Troops. I'm pretty damn sick of it.

I mean, of course, a lot of these soldier in Iraq and elsewhere were duped, just like most of the ignorant American public seems to have been duped. How on earth any of these people ever became dumb enough to be duped into this war, which was a sham from Day One, is beyond me, but it is true that Ignorance arises endlessly. And of course I have compassion for the kids who were lied to and found themselves into something way over their heads, and now have no way out. Lots of them have died for their own ignorance, perhaps to some extent their innocence, and the culpable stupidity of their parents and authority figures. Most especially I feel sorry for the servicemen and women who joined the military in a more sane time, when the U.S. was governed by a sane administration, and were forced back into service by the evil that now occupies Washington.

But the bottom line is that each of us is ultimately responsible for his or her own actions. I take full responsibility for mistakes I have made that have caused harm to myself and to others. And these soldiers need to do the same.

My father's generation fought the last justifiable war, to fend off some folks who were, pretty blatantly, the forces of evil. Now look what their children have done; we're the Big Ugly, and no one in the world can resist us.

I grew up in the time of the Vietnam War. The older brothers of my friends were being drafted, forced into service in a war that the whole country already knew was insane, and coming back mangled from the same, or not coming back at all. Not all had the resources, the option or the werewithal to avoid that draft. These kids, like the ones conned into service now, were young and didn't know much. But a lot of them knew wrong when they saw it.

Curiously, as wrong as the draft was, maybe we'd be better off if we had it now. If we had a proper version of the lottery (remember that?) with no exemptions, it wouldn't just be the children of the poor and uneducated whose lives are being sacrified for corporate greed. Send the Bush twins to Iraq, put 'em on the front line. Or maybe that's a bad example, because George W. Bush's soul died a long time ago and he might not care. Send the children of the CEO's. Send the children of Haliburton.

As sorry as I am for their current plight, the soldiers now in Iraq knew or should have known what they were getting into. They volunteered. They signed up to go to a country where they knew or should have known they had no business. For money. Some of them may have thought they had no option. The military recruiters, an evil bunch if there ever was one, targeted the ignorant and the uneducated. And now those victims are paying for their gulliblity.

Yes, I feel sorry for some of the soldiers in Iraq. You were young, and you were stupid, and you made a bad decision. It's their parents and the people who sent them there who deserve to go to Iraq next. Parents, how dare you sent your children and those who trusted you into insanity and into hell so you could have your oil and your comfortable life a few years more? These parents and authorities are the sad remnants of the generation that was the victim of Vietnam, and should have know better. They have no excuse, unlike the kids.

Not all of those soldiers have an excuse, though. Some of them knew exactly what they were getting into. They went to kill and maim and destroy. The lack of a culture here has led them to become beasts. Beyond the soldiers, look at the contractors. Look at Blackhawk, getting rich off murder. No wonder the U.S. has become the scourge of the Earth.

So if you want to support the troops, bring them home. Educate them so they don't make the same foolish mistake again and don't pass their ignorance on to their own children. But for those who have killed and raped in the name of patriotism, there can be only the sad fruits of their actions.

1 comment:

pk said...

Even the most zealous opponents of the murderous invasion and occupation of the world's last productive oil fields, disguised as "anti-terrorist" activity, say, oppose the war, oppose the administration, but Support the Troops.
Except for my dad. He doesn’t support members of the military. However, he does have one of those ribbon-shaped decals on his van that says “Bring out troops home.” Would you call that support?

I don’t support the troops on a macro scale, but I support individuals. For example, I wished a friend who last served in Mogadishu a happy Veterans’ Day.

My parents’ church made an effort a couple years ago to send birthday cards to the son of a church member; the son was serving in Iraq. I’ve known him since we were little (we used to ride Big Wheels together), and I remembered that his birthday is the day before mine. So even though I hadn’t seen Bradley in years, I happily participated in the birthday card bombardment. Bradley later got shot (a bullet ricocheted and punctured his lung; shoulder also injured). His posture is off, his arm hangs funny like Bob Dole, and he and is home permanently. Last I heard he was a student at Belmont.

the culpable stupidity of their parents...
There’s a really good Bertrand Russell quote about this. I’ll have to dig it up...

Curiously, as wrong as the draft was, maybe we'd be better off if we had it now. If we had a proper version of the lottery (remember that?) with no exemptions, it wouldn't just be the children of the poor and uneducated whose lives are being sacrified for corporate greed.
If we had a draft, we would be out of Iraq much sooner.