December 3, 2010
This is what I eventually hear whenever I’m involved in a discussion over foreign policy and the wars: "Hey, hey, hey! Don’t blame the troops! It’s the politicians! Support the troops, NOT the war.”
Don’t blame the troops? Don’t call out the people who voluntarily joined the military knowing that they would likely be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan to engage in unconstitutional, immoral occupations?
As bad as Bush, Cheney, and Obama are - the fact is that none of them ever dropped a single bomb or have fired a single shot. It’s the soldiers willing to unconditionally follow each and every order doing all that. The only thing that makes these wars possible is the troops’ willingness to wage them.
Why do the troops follow the orders? Because they don’t get called out on the fact that they are the perpetrators of the wars. Blame is always placed on Congress and the president, even though all those goons do is sign pieces of paper and give speeches.
They follow the orders because society has elevated them to the sacred cow status known as “the troops” and are completely immune from criticism – even from opponents of the wars.
Soldiers come back home on break and they see the yellow ribbons and “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!” bumper stickers. They get discounts when they go to restaurants and movies. Strangers walk up to them on the street, shake their hands, and thank them for their services.
The thought that they are involved in something shameful never crosses the soldiers’ minds. How could their participation in the wars be bad? Even the people who are against the wars support the troops. Even when soldiers are caught indiscriminately killing civilians or killing civilians for sport and taking the bones as trophies, most of the public give the troops the benefit of the doubt.
And so they continue to unconditionally follow each and every command, young men continue to walk into recruiting offices, and the wars keep going.
What if, instead of walking up to soldiers, shaking their hands, and thanking them, people walked away from soldiers, shook their heads in disapproval, and scolded soldiers for participating in the wars.
The wars would end.
I don’t hate the troops. I don’t want any more to die. I don’t want any more troops to have to live the rest of their lives with painful memories and guilt. I don’t want any more troops driven to suicide -especially when it comes to my friends who are in the military.
But I can’t support them as they unjustly invade, occupy, and bomb for Leviathan. I can’t support the people who are the reason that the wars continue.