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I Do NOT Support Our Troops. May 27, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.

Yeah, I know. I’m askin’ for it here.

But I don’t. And I’m tired of mouthing the platitudes, for fear of being branded “unpatriotic,” or hell, a Goddam Traitor.

Yesterday was Memorial Day, where we all get weepy and thank The Dead for their Great Sacrifice in Service to Freedom.

Well, I did that, but it just didn’t feel right.

So here’s what I think, and you can take it or leave it, you can love me for it or hate my guts and wish me dead. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I’m done kissing asses in the hope that I’ll get a nice pat on the head.

Today’s soldiers are, to my mind, of two types: the Guard and Reserve folks who signed up to spend one weekend a month playing soldier, both for the bennies they were promised and for the chance to make a difference, to stack sandbags when the rivers flood, to respond to emergencies on a State-wide level.

And here they are, deployed into a desert half-way around the world, riding around in poorly armored vehicles waiting to get blown up, sleeping in their body armor even in the “Green Zone,” while their spouses struggle to raise their kids alone, unable to pay their bills, meet their mortgage, , being foreclosed on, filing for divorce, desperate for someone, anyone, to help them make a life and raise their kids.

And then there are the eager, fresh-faced young Recruits, seduced by promises of adventure, job security, bennies up the wazzoo, and trained to kill first and ask questions later, to dehumanize the Fucking Sand Niggers who surround them, to Follow Orders just like they did at Mai Lai.

And I do not, will not, cannot support this. It’s murder, wrapped in a flag, and as often as not, carrying a cross.

Two incidents precipitated this unseemly rant. The first was an encounter Across From The Common with a young woman who was a veteran of the Iraq fiasco, and was so gung-ho to get back there, she held up traffic to express her disdain for the “idiots” who were protesting on the common.

The second was my visit to Dusty’s Blog, where I got to view a sentimental country song about a dead guy who had “made the grade” by earning his angel’s wings on a one-way trip to Arlington National Cemetery.

It’s not that dying for something you believe in isn’t a noble end. It’s that dying for a lie is a crime and a shame, and taking innocent people with you is a War Crime and a God Damned shame.

Trace Adkins’ sentimental heart-breaker neglects to mention the 600,000 civilians we’ve either killed or allowed to be killed in this war waged for the profit of the Filthy Fucking Rich.

“There’s a big White House sits on a hill just up the road,

The Man inside, he cried the day they brought me home…”

No Trace, he didn’t. You didn’t die for my Freedom, you died to fatten the coffers of his Oil Buddies, and he doesn’t give a Rat’s Ass about your sacrifice or the family you left behind. And rather than crying for your passing or respecting it in the least little way, he pulled a big fat curtain across the screen so nobody would notice that you’d died to fatten his stock portfolio.

I don’t support our troops. I don’t support what they’re doing, and I object strenuously (for all the good it does me) to paying for their illegal, immoral campaign against the people of the Oil Bearing Regions in support of the hegemony of the Filthy Fucking Rich.

But what about our Poor Children In Uniform, you might ask?

Well hey, we’re all shaped by the bullshit we’re surrounded by, but we don’t all take the bait, do we? We know that child rapists were most often fucked up the ass when they were nine, but we expect them to own their actions in the here and now, don’t we?

We can’t train our children to kill, then expect them not to become killers.

WE have to own what we’re asking our young people to do. And we have to apply ourselves whole-heartedly to defunding this mission if it isn’t what we want to see happen.

Write, talk, act.

Get visible.




1. DCup - May 27, 2008

Well, this is one of the most honest pieces I’ve ever read about the war and the troops. I’m glad you wrote it. And I don’t mean that in a better you than me way.

2. mathman6293 - May 27, 2008

I think that you have addressed one of those complex issues that the current regime always over simplifies. What does it mean when you say “you support the troops”?

Well I agree murder is murder. Especially when it is generally provoked by “our military presence”

3. littlebangtheory - May 27, 2008

DC, it hurt to write this, because I supposed I’d be slamming doors in my own face. And as a bridge builder, I don’t take lightly to cutting off lines of communication.

But sometimes things just need to be said, and I’ll just let the chips lie where they fall.

And MM, it’s so complex that I’m choking on my words. This post didn’t say half of what I wanted to get to, but sometimes putting a bit of it out there leads the way toward a discussion, and the rest just comes out more naturally.

4. notfainthearted - May 27, 2008

um. I think I love you.

In a totally appropriate and “unpatriotic” way, of course. πŸ˜‰

5. Tengrain - May 27, 2008


I lurves you, and you know it. I still make the distinction between the assignment and the actor. I hate this war, everything about it is wrong. I cannot blame the soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen for being lied to.

It’s like my objection to the death penalty: I could never flip the switch, and it also makes me nervous to give the state the authority to kill its own citizens. I could never pull the trigger, and I don’t like the idea of being told I had to.



6. Dusty - May 28, 2008

Good evening CR

The soldier that wrote that piece was given the choice of including that video or not. I asked him if he wanted it included in his post, it wasn’t my decision.

I think your taking the video and tearing into it is fine with me. I really had mixed feelings about it, which is why I asked the Vet that wrote the piece to yea or nea it.

Like Tengrain, I do separate the soldier from the war. This force is built largely on a backdoor draft which some call the Poverty Draft. Less than five percent of American’s have had a loved one fighting in Iraq so far. Its far from fair and equitable, especially when you consider the bullshit move known as Stop-Loss that the military has been using to keep men in the military.

Now, I am not saying everyone should be drafted, I am saying if there was a real draft the vast majority of Americans would actually have something to lose in Iraq….they sure as hell don’t now. They give lipservice to ending the war, just like the assholes in Congress do.

Perhaps then we would see millions in the street marching and protesting this bullshit war every weekend..not just a couple of thousand every six months.

I have attended countless marches the last few years and watched the participation level grow smaller and smaller each time. I am tired of carrying the water for the majority of Americans that SAY they want an end to the war but don’t do a damn thing to see that it happens.

Everyone has a right to voice their opinion, but when it comes to watching the death count go up daily in Iraq and Afghanistan and people’s eyes glaze over and they start talking about the economy and the price of a loaf of bread..well, I get real pissed off too..

Just hope I didn’t piss you off by commenting here. Take care dear man…

7. littlebangtheory - May 28, 2008

Dusty, Hell No! I’m glad you came by.

Your soldier-friend’s words were well chosen and held much meaning for me, but the unabashed glorification of Death by Deception in that country music song is the kind of slickly-produced pro-war spin which fuels many people’s trip down to the recruiting station.

I think it hit me hardest because of my encounter with a vet last Saturday, the young woman who was decidedly eager to get back to Iraq. Her “patriotic fervor,” coupled with the look in her eyes as she dismissed the peace protesters’ viewpoint, chilled me to the bone.

I’ll re-read your comment and get back to you with further thoughts this evening; I’m off to work now.

NFH, Leftie-Hugs back atcha!

And Ten, yes, the economic conscription makes victims of our young men and women who join the military. We brainwash them and give them weapons, then act surprised when they become cold-blooded killers. Again, there’s so much more to say on this complicated subject, but I gotta run for now.

Peace, All.

8. Gina - May 28, 2008

I was telling The Girls how I’ve read many posts and comments on or about Memorial Day and your comment on Dusty’s thread was the only one I read that I felt was identical in scope to mine; only you said it better than I could.

I can’t support The Troops. I don’t support war. I don’t support killing. I can’t. I have never pretended to support The Troops. I do support the new GI Bill, veteran’s services and a Get The Hell Out strategy. That’s because I support People. There is a difference.

As for getting out and protesting and taking action: I went to a vigil in my town on the 5th year of The War. I suggested to the folks there that we should do it weekly and the reply was that if we did we would be “stealing the thunder” of nearby Greenfield’s weekly vigil. WTF? Maybe I’ll stand there alone, for fuck’s sake. The conversation then turned them away from my question to their own concerns as a tight group of friends: where their children attended college, their weekly games night and the community garden. All well and good but where is the fire in the belly?

Listen, a lot of people feel as you do. Not enough, granted but I agree with you that we have to stop pandering.

I have to go to work, too…


9. Randal Graves - May 28, 2008

Now do you see why I personally have a tough time crossing that bridge? πŸ™‚ This whole issue is complex. In a more-perfect world, I would like to think that a huge chunk of the troops who DO realize that they were used to facilitate a lie would just up and quit. But then they’d be in economic dire straits.

I think where I have a problem coming to grips with this, and I’d like to hear your opinion, is that I haven’t romanticized the military in any way. That’s not a dig, because each of us does that for certain groups, places, times. What would make one, discounting economic need for a moment, join the military in the first place? At this point, the Denny’s placemat notion of patriotism has been debunked, has it not? What freedom is being defended and from whom?

The military, more than anytime I can remember – yeah, being born in 1973, I’m not THAT old – has been given some of Reagan’s Teflon protection: you simply cannot criticize it, the troops, the ideas associated with it, and on and on without automatically being labeled a traitor or whatnot.

You are taught to kill, kill efficiently and that issue is always sidestepped. Society never wants to talk about its darker aspects in an honest manner.

10. littlebangtheory - May 28, 2008

Gina, there’s not a lot I could say that would be more eloquent than what you’ve offered here. You DO know, don’t you, that you’re the reason I have a political consciousness in the first place? I mean, before you, I was an environmentalist, and all about Zero Population Growth, but I wasn’t aware of the Rest Of The Story. So anything I write here had its genesis in your broader perspective on the world.

We learn from our betters, don’t we? Unless, of course, we’re dolts.

And RG, Economic Conscription can’t be discounted; I believe it to be a reasoned part of the calculus of our current system.

But not every poor person buys the lie and signs on the doted line.

I’ve recently had the epiphany of understanding how to support the people without supporting their roll as troops.

And from here on out, I’m not gonna be played like a lip-hooked fish, reeled into the pool of Troop Supporters Against The War.

I’ll support the veterans who survive this abomination, and I’ll support bringing our active troops home and caring for them appropriately, but I WILL NOT SUPPORT OUR TROOPS’ EFFORTS IN IRAQ.

So I’m no doubt “with the terrist,” but you already knew that, didn’t you?

11. Boxer Rebel - May 28, 2008

I love you man. You are awesome. I agree with Ten and others when I say I separate the troops from the war and I can’t really blame the troops for being lied to. As you pointed out, those in the reserves did not think they were going to get sent half way across the world, they wanted the bennies and to help here in this country. They were lied to and that is not their fault. But I totally agree with you that there are many of those who enlist purely so that they can kill and so that they can go after the “enemy” that they are told is out there. We as a nation have created this and now we have to live with the consequences.

12. littlebangtheory - May 28, 2008

BR, so true.

It’s complicated, and I’m conflicted, but I’m done supporting the genocidal antics of “good kids” who have drunk the cool-aid and bought the lies.

I mean, we’re all expected to own our actions, no matter how we came by them. And the action of taking lives deserves the highest level of scrutiny.

13. Winston - May 28, 2008

Well said… And courageous…

14. Tengrain - May 28, 2008

I’ll support the veterans who survive this abomination, and I’ll support bringing our active troops home and caring for them appropriately, but I WILL NOT SUPPORT OUR TROOPS’ EFFORTS IN IRAQ.

I don’t disagree with that at all.



15. ouyangdan - May 29, 2008

well said.

well said.

16. Gina - May 29, 2008

“…unless, of course, they’re dolts.” And you’re no dolt, my friend.

Zero population growth? I changed your mind about that, too! πŸ˜€

17. obscenenotheard - May 29, 2008

Someone had to say it. Thanks for sticking your neck out. I’ve not read the comments yet so bear with me here if I repeat. The problem I have is that for those unfortunates who have not much in the way of resources the service is often viewed as a means out. I’d be surprised if the vast number of troops weren’t from less advantaged backgrounds. Most are young. I can’t say that the demographics you describe don’t exist I’m sure they do. Probably a mix out there. But they aren’t the ones that come to mind for me.

Peace to you.

18. Randal Graves - May 29, 2008

TCR, that’s an excellent way of putting it. And of course we know. Only America-hating jihadists post about food and nature!

19. sherry - May 29, 2008

no, you are not a dolt. unless, we are all dolts.

20. Dusty - May 29, 2008

Well hell, I don’t support the efforts in Iraq either..what lefty does? What I want to support is the human beings that are trying to survive until their tour is up and they can come home and hope to be somewhat normal..which isn’t likely with the level’s of PTSD seen in our young men and women after two, three and some cases now four tours of duty in that hell hole.

As I said…the miltary’s bullshit Stop-Loss maneuvers don’t help, the backdoor Poverty Draft don’t either for Christs sake. People need to feed their families, pay their mortgages and some find that impossible in this time and this economy. I do not blame them for taking a shit job like soldiering for George Fuckwit Bush…I wish they had other alternatives but I understand why they don’t in these times.


So yes, I still say I support the human beings that are identified as soldiers. I am not one to judge people about whom I know nothing except they are stuck in friggin Iraq and praying to stay alive.

CR…I missed Phydeaux’s last night..and I really wanted to be there and talk to you some more. Take care my friend.

21. QuakerDave - May 29, 2008

That song is insipid and patronizing. It’s disgusting.

The soldiers are human beings. They are are family members and friends and neighbors and colleagues and, in my case, former students. I “support” them in that I pray for their safety and in the fervent desire to have them come home safely and soon.

I cannot and will not support what they are doing. They are the agents of destruction, carrying out an evil mission launched by evil people who have evil intentions.

Yes, this is a tough issue. But the bottom line is that murder is murder, and this war in particular is nothing less than state-sponsored murder.

Well done.

22. littlebangtheory - May 29, 2008

Thank you all for responding. It’s certainly not a simple issue.

Winston, ouyangdan, thanks for stopping by and pitching in. It’s always encouraging to hear from different voices on these complex issues.

Even though I’m seldom very complex these days πŸ˜‰

Ten, I’ve been a bad reader, I gotta get over to your place for The World’s Best Snark, and soon. I’m losing my funny-bone, and I do believe you have the fix for that!

obscenebut and Dusty, you both make many valid points. I support the human beings who find themselves unexpectedly ordered off to war, like the Guardsmen and women who were ripped from their jobs and homes and families and ordered to prosecute, as Quaker Dave so succinctly put it, this evil mission, orchestrated by genocidal maniacs whose lust for wealth and power serves only corporate hegemony at the expense of us all, and with no regard for the lives of the people of the region or, for that matter, Our Expendable Poor.

And yes, obnh, our regular military now has a disproportionate ratio of minorities, bless their brave hearts. But race and ethnicity aside, I’m certain that if you evaluate the demographics economically, you’ll find that economic classism and lack of opportunity is the overwhelming winner in the Why-Do-They-Do-It contest. Too bad we don’t “support our troops” by delivering on the promises we make them when they come home broken.

But getting back to the basic premise of this post, when Good People do Bad Things, we don’t support them because they’re Good People. We insist that they STOP. WE MAKE THEM STOP. And QD is spot-on here; this war is the work of evil minds, and those who wage it MUST be called off.

And while the truly awful stuff being done In Our Names is certainly done by a small minority of the players, ALL OF OUR KIDS OVER THERE ARE TRAINED KILLERS, the first step of which is to dehumanize the indigenous people, the “Haji”s, as the lone Vet at the Pro-War protest I’ve been haunting calls them, and I’m sure the trainers call them and encourage calling them much, much worse. And if you add on the stress of constant mortal danger and repeated extended deployments, the result is unsurprisingly hideous, with lethal consequences.

I just can’t mouth the platitude anymore. Bring the troops home; then I’ll support them.

23. littlebangtheory - May 29, 2008

Oh, and Gina… You certainly did change my mind about having kids.

Did I mention how I feel about Hippie Chicks? πŸ˜‰

24. FranIAm - May 29, 2008

Wow I missed this and now so many comments. I will just say I love the passion and the fury of the blogger known as CR. To get this conversation going is great.

I am more of the separate school, but it is all bad. I know too many people who sign up because they lack options.

I was at unemployment recently (my life of late) and I overheard this 40-ish black man talking to you a young (19-20?) black woman.

She could not find a job and did not want to take loans for school, so she was considering joining the army.

This guy was doing all that he could to talk her out of it. She kept returning to the fact that she felt like she was full out of options.

Deep sigh. Our country. Right or wrong? WRONG!

25. littlebangtheory - May 29, 2008

Fran, so glad you got to come by!

Yes, at this point, wrong indeed. I’m so ashamed for us, and frustrated into a lather.

That poor young woman might wind up dead because of her need for a job, and that’s a sin of the highest order. I suppose it’s more likely, though, that she’ll be broken and cast aside to spend the rest of her life trying to regain her humanity.

I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true often enough that we ought to consider it before we let our children go off to war.

And hey, no mater where you are in a comment thread, I’ll find you, even if I don’t have time to reply to each comment. You’ve been a great source of strength to me, and you’ll always get a reply.

Peace, Sister.

26. Gina - May 30, 2008

It goes without saying how sad it is that young people enlist because, as Fran wrote, they’re “full out of options”. How killing others has become an option has just gone beyond what I can comprehend.

I know it’s fiction but if anyone’s not seen the film The Valley of Elah, it’s a must-see.

The Winter Soldier testamonies (sp?), if I’m interpreting correctly some of what I’ve seen on video, point to a military situation that views killing as sport. An indication both of what we’ve come to socially and militarily – the two are always intertwined. It’s not pretty…

27. sherry - May 30, 2008

me, i guess i support people, i support treating others as i would want to be treated.

i get sad and angry but i still hope.

28. Dusty - May 30, 2008

My dear sweet friend CR…Can I call you my friend yet? I would like to say something about the video and then I will vacate this thread.

I am a visual medium fanatic. I believe, yea its been proven, that people respond to the visual medium quicker and more emotionally than any other medium including the written word. I have to fight with myself when I make my anti-war YouTube so as not to get too graphic visuals that would alienate the watcher immediately.

When I saw that Trace Adkins video on another blog, I felt a rush of emotions..sadness, anger and resentment. I thought of ReasonOnes upcoming post for Memorial Day, the perfect vehicle in which to place that country music nationalistic piece of shit to gather some reactions from the readers I would get on that day. After reading the emotional and I thought spot-on post, readers would then see a video that played on the emotions quite obviously.

You sir, were the only one that took umbrage at it. I was amazed but then I thought perhaps people were jst too polite to react negatively to it in the comments section.

I figured, ah, what the hell…folks missed the irony in it, and moved on…until I stopped by your digs here.

I appreciate that you provide a forum for people to say what they really think. I wish I could get more of that on my blog. Sometimes I write a huge, long-assed diatribe that took me 8 or more hours to write and get very short, succinct responses to it. And I do of course include graphics, not all sedate.

So I was happy as the proverbial clam to see your post about my video. I am glad it offended you and forced a long post out of you about it. I aplaud your readers who seemed to speak from the heart about their pov towards it as well over here.

Because in the final analysis, that is all I ever wanted, to incite discussion both pro and con…allowing it to go off into whatever realm everyone saw fit to take it.

Thank you for giving me that…I wish it had taken place on my actual post…but this gave me the opportunity to get to ‘know’ you better, a blogger I have admired from afar. πŸ˜‰

Take care my friend and I hope that I can make you think again like that…farther down that bloggy road.

29. littlebangtheory - May 30, 2008

Dusty first, because your post (which I found through The Amazing Fran, if I haven’t already mentioned that) inspired this great conversation:

You may indeed call me your friend, and I’d be honored, but I know so little about you – anything you can point me at which might be a little more autobiographical might help me cement that connection.

More to the point of this thread and this comment: I am, as my blog name implies, a contrarian, despite my faux protestations to the contrary πŸ˜‰ Sometimes I say things which are caricatures of my beliefs, as it seems to take a lot to get a reaction in this hyperbolic ‘sphere. And a reaction is what I want, not a lot of “Ow Wow”s, but a conversation, a dialog.

That’s why, rain or shine, I’ll be Across From The Common tomorrow morning, both looking for common ground and sharing information with the Anti-Anti’s. I may even hold their signs for them while they go get their guns πŸ˜†

About the Trace Adkins vodeo – I totally missed the irony, not having a history of your perspectives to inform my paradigm, even though I was taken by the ideological non sequitur of ReasonOne’s words and the sentiments of the song.

I’m kinda dense like that.

Anyway, thanks for getting this conversation off the ground, and don’t be a stranger, or we may never connect again. I’m just that genetically bad at the Back-atcha part of life.

And Gina, it’s hard to know or trust how prevalent the dysfunction portrayed in the Winter Soldier videos is, and I pray it’s less rather than more. But ANY of that bullshit is too much, and it’s unavoidable if one expects to train young people to kill.

And we mustn’t forget that, if they survive this ordeal, they’re all coming home with that damage done.

30. Gina - May 30, 2008

Hey, don’t blame me; I tried to boycott war toys. I warned you, CR!

31. Burning Prairie - May 30, 2008

You are an inspiration. Truth-tellers have to be brave and you are.

32. littlebangtheory - May 30, 2008

Awww, Shucks! πŸ˜‰

33. Lindy and Rowan - May 30, 2008

Good post LittleBang.
Don’t fear the truth.

34. johnieB - May 31, 2008

I’ll support the veterans who survive this abomination, and I’ll support bringing our active troops home and caring for them appropriately, but I WILL NOT SUPPORT OUR TROOPS’ EFFORTS IN IRAQ.

I got no problem with that; it’s been my position all along, though I’m more radical in my distaste for patriotic slop and U S military bullshit. I avoid shit like that “country song” because it’s a trigger for PTSD.

One comment on your female vet. I have noted that, for many of my fellow Vietnam vets, it’s too painful to think their sacrifice and suffering in combat was either useless or, worse yet, contrary to the good of the country and morally evil. Some try to abandon moral issues–“It’s a war, dumbass; there’s nothing moral about it.”–and some follow the party line. And some are evil pervs who don’t mind, or actively enjoy, violently forcing others to do their will. The last are the enemy, no matter what uniform, or none, they wear. Even so, they are better than the monsters in charge of this abomination, in that they at least risk their own lives and sanity in the process. I will stop writing about th leaders at this point for health reasons.

I don’t think it’s as simple as your reservist/ gungho maniac dichotomy makes it; being in combat is life-altering at a level that almost nothing else is. Being stupid, patriotic, and easily misled ought not to damn anybody, but it often does, as you point out. Nor do soldiers fight and kill for “patriotism”, policy, or other dumb shit like that; they do it for each other, so they all can get out of the mess they, foolishly or otherwise, got themselves into. Organizing resistance so that one does not betray one’s comrades is tricky and rare, perhaps too rare; no one wants to fuck anyone else’s chances.

What interests, and to an extent amazes, me is how few rebellions have been reported; most seem to take it out on themselves in suicide rather than rebellion. I suspect our individualistic culture plays a role in this. Nonetheless, the periodic reports of “overstress” among units in Iraq/ Afghanistan that emerge from higher commands lead me to wonder. This regime has managed the propaganda “information operations” adroitly, in all the ways we have noted for years: no photos, “hopeful signs”, a gutless and derelict Congress, and the segregation of military people from national life. We may get a change that gets us out of Iraq within the next eighteen months or so, which perhaps will leave enough of a military to re-build; I doubt it will be in a direction which improve things very much. I don’t see any candidate, even St. Obama, who is open about limiting U S potential to project its power globally. So keep your seatbelts fastened, folks; it aint over yet.

Oops, Gina; I went and did it! πŸ™‚

35. susan - May 31, 2008

Great post CR and I’m sorry I didn’t seei it sooner.

36. johnieB - May 31, 2008

I wuz teasing Pagan while I collected my thoughts, CR; I’ve always felt welcomed here.

Thanks for stopping by.

37. Dusty - June 2, 2008

CR…check out this YouTube I made for the Iraq War Blogswarm this year:

I think that might give you an indication where I stand on this issue. It was very hard to NOT include graphic pictures..as I said earlier I didn’t want to shock people into turning off the video..I wanted to inform and perhaps educate them to the actual cost in human terms.

My second husband was a Vietnam vet with PTSD..something which the military didn’t recognize until decades after that war was over. I know from personal experience what war does to a human being…a wonderful human being before he was changed forever by that fucking war.

Take care my friend πŸ˜‰

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