Support the Troops, but Not Everything They Do

“Support the troops” we have been urged at every point since this mess began. If you don’t support the President, if you dare to openly question the President’s motives and abilities, you are putting the troops in danger. Apparently, sending the troops to Iraq without adequate body armor was less dangerous and supportive than asking the President to show evidence of all these WMDs he flat out said he knew were there. (Memo to Sen. Feingold: They still haven’t been found.) So now we have bumper stickers, and window stickers, and T-shirts and who knows what else urging us to support the troops in Iraq. Well, you know what? If I hear one more wooly-headed conservative warmonger going on television and justifying the abuses being carried out in Iraq by saying those things happen in every war, I think I’ll scream so loud everyone reading this will hear it.

I’m through with being told to support the troops. I’ve been supporting the troops since 2002 when it was clear to anyone who cared to look closely that Pres. Bush had already decided to turn the US into a terrorist country by launching this ill-fated invasion. At the time I expressed my opinion openly in a college classroom in which I was one of the few who spoke out against the many inside that room who all claimed this war was justified and the soldiers would all be home before Christmas. The day I knew I was supporting the troops more than those who were rattling the sabers and calling me an idiot was when a quiet student who also happens to be in the military stopped me outside class simply to thank me for what I’d been saying. He had been hearing things even then, at his low level inside the military, that the plans for this things were, well, completely unplanned. He was scared, I could see it in his face and hear it in his voice. But he wasn’t scared of going off to war, he’d been prepared for that. He’d been trained for that. He told me he was scared of going to Iraq because his superiors-in private-had said they didn’t have confidence in the leaders who were planning this thing.

Understand that this little conversation that took place between classes and couldn’t have lasted for than five minutes happened before the war began, much less before the Mission Accomplished banner hung over President Liar on that aircraft carrier. At that early stage of the game, this guy knew that if he was going to get killed in Iraq, the fault wouldn’t lie with the Iraqis, but with the men sending him there. He already knew this was a botched plan sprung from a half-baked political action by a bunch of draft-dodgers who don’t mind other young men dying for their principles, but made damn sure they themselves didn’t have to die for those principles in Vietnam.

So don’t tell me that I haven’t been supporting the troops by speaking out against this horrendous scheme from the beginning. Don’t tell me that Pres. Liar has been supporting the troops when he sends them there to die in a war that never had a reason for existing. Don’t tell me that I should support troops like Lynndie whateverthehellhernameis who smiles broadly as she poses for pictures while she holds a leash connected to another human being. Don’t tell me I should support the troops who unleashed the massacre in Haditha. Don’t tell me to support the troops who rape and killed young Iraqi women and girls.

After their lies about WMDs threatening our security were exposed, the focus of justification for this illegal action turned to saving the people of Iraq from a despot and bringing democracy to their country. Well, what a surprise, that turns out to be a bunch of crap as well. I defy any one of those robotic talking-point spouting wooly heads from the White House from Pres. Liar to Vice President Makes-A-Baby-To-Get-Out-Of-Vietnam to Sec. of State Mrs. Condi Bush on down to look me in the eye and tell me that living in a country where tens of thousands of civilians have died, where thousands have been tortured, where Al-Queda now runs free where they didn’t before is a shining beacon of freedom and democracy. If this is what democracy looked like to you, wouldn’t you join an insurgency as well?

But you know what? I don’t really blame those soldiers for the Hadita massacre. I don’t really blame Lynndie and her male friends for showing that homosexuality is alive and well in the Army, it’s just of the sado-masochistic kind. I don’t really blame those soldiers who’ve raped Iraqi girls. Oh sure, they could all have said no. And, hey, who’s to say that if they weren’t here in America, or in Okinawa, or in Germany or wherever that they wouldn’t have done the same thing? It’s not secret that many neo-Nazi types are in our military. And it’s no secret that one of the keys to winning war is the dehumanization process that soldiers go through.

But here’s the thing. None of those things-NONE OF THOSE THINGS-would have taken place in Iraq if they weren’t there. And there’s not one single reason-NOT ONE SINGLE REASON-that any American soldier should ever have been sent there.

So, when the Bush, the Dick and the white Rice are finally hung out to dry and put on trial for their war crimes, they should also stand trial for every murder, every rape, every piece of torture that has gone on in Iraq. The bloody trail caused by those who haven’t supported the troops begins inside the White House.

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