Thursday, June 28, 2007

Supporting the Troops: Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

You know what I am about sick of? The marketing catch phrase "support our troops". The warmongering neo conservative movement has used it to browbeat politicians into the fear of looking "unpatriotic". They infer the only way to support troops is to condone the way that the current administration is using them.

First I have a question. Am I supposed to support Sgt Paul Cortez who raped and killed a 14 year old Iraqis girl and then killed her family? He was the most senior of a group of 5 people that plead guilty to the crime. Am I supposed to support Cpl. Trent Thomas. He was one of 7 marines who kidnapped and executed a 52 year old Iraqis man. Am I to support the soldiers who have been found guilty of torture in Cuba? Am I to support the soldiers that covered up the Pat Tillman incident? Should I support the Army or Lt. Col. William H. Steele who is facing the death penalty for unbecoming actions?

Part of the problem is that the Army is sending more criminals to war. Just out of High school and many already have felonies for violent acts. Many are given the choice of the military or prison. What do you think their level of patriotism is? You have to think that these people probably worked plea bargains at the time of their sentencing. Many of their actual crime may have been much more disturbing. Take the part about hem getting shipped over seas out of their life story and you might not be so "supportive".

Am I to be considered "unpatriotic" for not supporting the Iraq war policy? Or, am I unpatriotic for supporting Tammy Duckworth? She ran for congress on an anti-Iraq war policy. Oh, did I mention that she was a pilot in the Army National Guard. Also she is a double amputee due to injuries suffered while in Iraq. One more thing, as she is still getting used to her new prosthetics, her husband is being sent off to Iraq to drive in a convoy.

Am I to support Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, Army First Lt. Ehren K. Watada, Mark Wilkerson , Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman, Army Specialist Suzanne Swift, or the more the 6000 troops in the army alone that have went AWOL? Many of the staunch war supporters turn on these people when they come home, after seeing the truth for themselves, and refuse to go back. They are not leaving their fellow soldiers on the battlefield. They have come back and informed their superiors that they no longer believe in the cause. There is an understanding that they will need replaced. Making a decision to descent and stand up against the military machine takes more courage then facing a firefight. The lack of support for these soldiers seems to be hypocritical.

I value and support all functional life. I am a human under the eyes of the creator. I am an American by right of birth. I understand the need for cohesiveness and commonality in the face of a determined enemy. However, a soldier that has lost faith in his cause can not hold either of those traits with any guarantee. The best way to ensure that the military personal remain committed to the cause is to make sure that the war fulfills the "Just War" criteria. Just Wars will require neither a draft nor a marketing strategy. It can not be the result faulty Intelligence being promoted. There can be no obvious evidence of anterior motives. The result can not be in direct opposition to the stated objective. The stated objective can not keep changing.

So don’t patronize me by saying I don’t support the troops. I think about what would benefit them everyday in most of my decisions. I have sought to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, have energy smart controls on my home, recycle, and opposed the waste of life caused by this war since day one. That is way more supportive then a sticker on an SUV that guzzles gas. Gas made from oil whose contributing profits go to companies that ultimately end up supporting the lunatics that intend to cause our troops harm. The "terrorists" if you prefer.

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