‘Support the Troops’ can be a rhetorical trap…

Note: What follows is a comment I made on a Facebook post that wanted people to like it if they agreed with the message, “support the troops”. It had a photo with one of our soliders. And in a way I kind of wish I had not responded. I am not sure who actually posted it or what the motive was. I think my opinion is more appropriate in my own blog. But this is what I think about the call the “support the troops”.

I will always support the troops — they should have the best in equipment and supplies, and pay for that matter. But at some point we have to look at the policy that puts them in harm’s way. It is not unpatriotic to consider policy alternatives.
And this notion that a president can just order the troops somewhere and then we as citizens have no right to question the policy is a dangerous concept. Using that logic, a president could order troops into Canada and even though on its face that would be wrong, we as citizens would have no right to question it because doing so would be unpatriotic or treasonous. In some cases the restrictions on protest might be a little tighter in a conventionally or constitutionally declared World War II-type war, but even then citizens have a right to petition their government.
Peace lovers like me probably do more to “support the troops” than chicken hawks who have never worn the uniform and who vote against or do not vote in enough funds for the troops. And I should have saved all of this for my blog, but that phrase “support the troops” has been used too much as a rhetorical weapon against anyone who dares question ultra-right wing fascist policies. And I hope those who read this read all of my words because once troops are committed and as long as they are I do believe that they should be supplied with everything they need to handle the mission (meanwhile policy can be considered). And who wants to end up as the last person to die in an unwinnable or unjust war? Decisions are not easy. They require critical thinking not jingoism. And I do support the troops.


For the record, the U.S. actually did invade Canada in the early days of this nation and of course Mexico in the 1800s and again in the early 20th Century — but in the post I was using a hypothetical for today’s world where we are friends with Canada and have no serious beefs (Trump notwithstanding).

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