Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Troops

What does it mean to say that we support our armed forces? What does it mean to display a yellow ribbon on your car or on a tree? Furthermore, what does it mean to support the armed services given a dislike for the current military situation and a disagreement with US foreign policy?

Two letter writers to the Anchorage Daily News seem to believe differing things about supporting the troops. One finds a support such as this to be apolitical in nature; "supporting the troops" doesn't mean that you support the government's decision to invade Iraq, for instance. Another finds the stickers to be and exhortation against complaints directed at the President [second to last letter on the page]. Is it even possible to support the people that make up an organization but not support the organization itself?

I like the say that I support the armed services; I at least support their existence. I don't support their existence as a huge mega-power, and I don't support our presence in foreign lands, but I do support a limited defense department. I cannot, though, support an operation in a foreign land where we have no business, fighting a fight that was started under false pretenses that continues to needlessly kill people daily. Should I therefore condemn my cousin, who actually targeted bombs at Iraqi buildings?

I realize that I've now ended three paragraphs with questions, and should probably start coming up with some answers. I don't know, though, if there are any easy ones to be had. I cannot condone the fact that my cousin contributed to the destruction, tyranny, and imperialism that happens in Iraq, yet I cannot chastise him for being a part of the group that protects my freedom and liberty. Iraq, of course, has no bearing whatsoever on my freedom here in the States, which is one reason that I might attack my cousin's chosen profession, yet his involvement there is simply based on orders he received from higher up the chain of command, orders which he had to follow regardless of his feelings about them.

I can neither support our military action in foreign countries nor the people that take those actions. I don't support our troops, at least not our troops in Iraq. I realize that they are there in order to protect me, but I realize that their intervention in Iraq is not protecting my freedom in any way. I must condemn those brave men and women in Iraq, and only support the military action that I believe to be in the best interest of my personal liberties.

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