Sunday, December 03, 2006

Support Our Troops

We have all seen the yellow ribbons on the backs of innumerable automobiles. It is considered such a normative value to “support our troops” that even the 24-hour propaganda disseminators can parrot it without having their objectivity called into question.
“Support The Troops” only works one way. And that way is “Support The Troops” when its good PR. Right now there is a lame duck president with a 29% approval rating embroiled in a war that is three years old. With more combat deaths than any engagement since Vietnam it raises some interesting questions about what “Supporting The Troops” really means.
During the 1990s there was a certain conflict involving Milosevic in which President Clinton used his famous technique to borrow from “conservative” and “liberal” schools of thought throughout his presidency. Many critics argued this was evidence he was actually a “populist”, but I personally think it was just an attempt to be identified as “moderate” just like the vast majority of United Statesians self-identify as. The United States(See NATO ) conflict in Kosovo created a “third way”. Rather than diplomatic moves like shunning/embargoes or overt military moves like an occupation. Clinton embarked on a billion dollar plus bombing campaign. This way only a few troops would be lost, but they could take out infrastructure that Milosevic relied upon. So Clinton did a very good job of “Supporting The Troops”, because he minimized casualties. His true motivation though was to protect his approval ratings, because nobody likes body bags .
So Clinton in the bombing campaign of Kosovo may have killed many civilians, but not so many US soldiers.While say, the first gulf war killed both US soldiers, enemy soldiers, and civilians.
Which brings me to my next question: is a United Statesian soldier’s life more important than a civilian who happens to be living in an enemy’s country? Does one conflict become worse than another when the body count is bigger? When the body count is bigger for “our” side?Should I cheer if less people died today than yesterday?
Well it seems that there are times when normativity dictates not “Supporting The Troops” is ok. Like Thisor This
Don’t get me wrong here. The Habitha massacre and the (people that were caught in pictures) torturing was terrible. So was Dasht-e-Leili, but it is important to take note of what happens during these situations: when it is normatively acceptable for us to turn our backs on the troops.
Ok! Lynndie England is locked up problem solved!Pay no attention to Titan Corp, CIA, Alberto Gonzales, or george bush jr.It is insulting to every United Statesian’s intelligence that we are expected to believe the official line: that a few MPs just decided to up and go a-torturin’.Bullshit.
So you say: “Well they still have to have responsibility for their actions”well…The troops are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they don’t follow “fucked up war crime order #1” they’re getting court-martialed, discharged, and possibly incarcerated.Or.If they do execute “fucked up war crime order #1” , and word of the order reaches the public, the politicans will serve them to the angry mob on a platter. Hell his approval rating might go up for it! The soldier will be lucky if he sees the outside world again. Fucked coming AND going.
Don’t tell me you “Support The Troops” if you simultaneously support scapegoating the grunts to save the politicians’ asses.
Don’t say you “Support The Troops” if you’re not yelling for the head of the person who orginally issued the order for the Habitha Massacre.
Or will it happen the same way with Habitha?The soldiers that even Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity can’t “Support” get scapegoated and the truly culpable walk free?
I am not going to list reasons why the Iraq war should not have been fought.
I simply have a new name for our soldiers which I feel is FAAAAR more accurate than “Troops” or “Soldiers”.*“I.E.D. Catchers”*
We should call them what they are and what they are is I.E.D. Catchers. They have been in hostile country for over 2 years and still don’t even know how to distinguish “the enemy” from the rest of the population. Their ground transportation is plagued by Improvised Explosive Devices which as General John Abizaid wrote to the DoD: “IEDs are the number one killer of American troops”. Their air travel is halted by stingers using a technique taught to the Arab Afghans, by the US, to take down choppers. This is what our “Soldiers” and “Troops” are they are I.E.D. Catchers, Stinger Magnets, and just plain fucking targets.
I’m done worrying about holding the individuals accountable who malevolently deceived us in order to take our troops in to a war that had nothing to do with the “War on Terror”. Notice I did not say “take ‘us’ in to a war”. “We” are not in Iraq the I.E.D. Catchers are in Iraq, we may have been lied to, but “We” are NOT paying for it.
Life here in the states has not changed. We do not even miss our I.E.D. Catchers. Oh, I’m sure people who have family or freinds miss them, but what about the rest of the I.E.D. Catchers? The I.E.D. Catchers you have never met? Do you really give a shit if the newspaper reads “17 marines killed in Iraq” or “2 marines killed in Iraq”?Do you even notice the number every morning?Do you truly “Support The Troops” or do just say such things to ease your conscience?If you’re around someone else do you say something out loud like “awwww thats a shame.” to look compassionate or empathetic?Do you fling your newspaper in a blind rage fueled by knowledge of the inhumanity of war?
Do you cry in to your coffee when you see the numbered dead every morning?
You don’t. And neither do I.
If you truly Support The I.E.D. Catchers bring them home, re-unite them with their families, and for fucks sake stop hiding behind them when it is politically convenient to do so.

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