What is the best way to support our troops? This writer rejects the notion that silence and obedience are required of Americans whenever troops are sent into "harms way."
The argument that certain people (who seem to think they are more patriotic than anyone else) make goes something like this:
"Our troops are over there fighting to preserve your freedom. You wouldn't be able to protest if it wasn't for them being in Iraq (or Vietnam, or Grenada, or Panama) and your hurting their morale by opposing your commander in chief."
I use the examples of Iraq, Grenada, etc because in none of those conflicts was Americans freedom in doubt. Supporters of such conflicts rarely have proof that such places threaten us, nor do they seem to care if they do or not. There is a certain type of person who is more than willing to follow. These people will always take the word of a president they already like and when questioned about reasons for that support, usually spout slogans and buzzwords. These people have let themselves become conditioned to think that whatever thier country does militarily anywhere in the world, it is automaticly to protect our freedom. Where is the evidence? For example: How exactly was Saddam Husein supposed to destroy our freedom? What would his motive be for attacking us, what would lead him to believe he could get away with it? What actual military capabilities did he possess that we do not possess 10X more of? True, most people were told and believed that he had WMD, but this was based on misinformation leaked by Iraqi exiles who hoped to become the next rulers of Iraq. The problem is, anyone with internet access could have easily found enough information to call the reasons for war into serious question before it began. But too many people don't want to question this or any president about such matters. It's a deadly form of laziness, one that is causing severe problems for America.
We can paraphrase this argument as: "Troops have died for your right to speak, so shut up and obey."
Let us examine one of the other usual rationals for conflicts overseas: "If we don't fight them there, we'll have to fight them here."
I really love that one. It was said ad nauseum during the Vietnam war, a war we lost, and since we lost it, of course we all remember fighting the Viet Cong in Indianapolis and Butte, Montana, right?
In fact, there is absolutely no reason to beleive that our third generation military (by that I mean a military relying on high tech equiptment and mechanized warfare---aka the blitzkrieg type war)
fighting anywhere overseas has any effect at all the ability of an enemy to fight a fourth generation war (terrorism) against us.
al Qaeda has actually discovered and developed a set of tactics our military is not trained or equipted to fight. So, in fact, fighting them over there doesn't mean we won't have to fight them here. Not at all.
And who is this "them", anyway?
The lazy "patriots" offer us a version of guilt by association. "Osama is muslim and uses suicide tactics. Iraq is muslim and is using guerilla tactics, including suicide bombs, therefore: they are all part of a united force (which somehow includes the Palastinians, since they too are Muslim and use suicide tactics)
that think alike, have the exact same motives for attacking their targets, all bear guilt for 9/11 since Islam is an evil religion that requires beleivers to slaughter infidels, etc."
Lost are such notions of cause and effect (did you know that there weren't suicide bombers in Iraq until after we invaded?) or regional issues (Osama's main gripe: US military bases in Saudi Arabia. Palastinians: dispute over Israeli settlements on their land. Iraqis main gripe: suspicion that the USA did not depose Saddam for entirely pure motives, a suspicion fueled by our construction of permanent military bases near thier oil installations, plus a decree by Paul Bremmer requiring that Iraq de-nationize it's industries (read: oil industry) and let multinationals aquire Iraq's biggest asset).
Of course, it's completely anti American to point that out. After all, this Iraq war is at least an emotional response to 9/11 even if the Iraqis were innocent of that atrocity. Don't we Americans deserve to strike back at the easiest target we can find? After all, Osama's a tough nut to crack, and our military is not ready to fight his kind of war. Far better we defend our freedom somewhere else, like a country crippled by a decade of sanctions and boxed in by our navy and air force. A lot easier, especially for the lazy "patriots" among us. Except we're losing there, too.
Can't someone please invent a slogan or buzzword to fix this problem? The lazy "Patriots" are in danger of having to actually think about this war. Some one help them!