Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Big Lie: That "Liberals" Don't Support the Troops

I just got through reading an article over at and it got me to thinking. One of the most absurd and outrageous lies the Cons tell is that "liberals" (which is usually meant to label everyone to the left of Tom Delay) "don't support the troops." In fact, just as there hasn't been a flag burning in the US in decades (despite the Con lie that liberals go around burning it), there haven't been incidents when people didn't support the troops. In reality, even at the height of the Viet Nam war, overwhelmingly, most people --even those against the war--supported the troops. We could distinguish between stupid, "ignorant and deceptive chickenhawk politicians" and the troops. And it was the politicians whom war protesters opposed. Most protestors despised Robert McNamera, who not long ago, in "Fog of War" tells of lessons learned. GOP and media spin notwithstanding, those who did not support those serving were an extremely small minority. For the "troops" weren't seen as that at all, but rather they were our husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, and friends. Now they could also be the daughters, mothers, sisters, friends, significant others, etc. A smaller number of women served back in the Viet Nam era.

I was not originally against the Viet Nam War, but soon learned we'd been mislead. Many of us were honest enough to confront a president of our own party in 1968. (Where are the Republicans now when the lies have been worse?) It was the pressure we brought to bear on him that forced Lyndon Johnson to resign. I hadn't been involved in politics until then. I was a young wife with two small children. But I found time to do some small things to protest the misuse of our troops and work for change. It was always the troops. How dare Johnson take these lives for granted? But we never, ever, would have turned on our families and friends, or other Americans. They were part of us! Even during the period when I opposed the war, I and hundreds of others stood on shore, cheering as my brother's ship came in into safe harbor from Viet Nam. This was played out as month and after month, and year after year, our loved ones returned. But many of us lost loved ones in those or earlier wars.

War protest has always been about doing what's right by the troops. The Cons can say otherwise until they are --er, well...they can't be blue in the face, cause they can't understand "Blue." But if they even tried, they'd see they are buying into a myth.

But their myth does not get to drive what is defined as supporting the troops. And here's where most of the trouble lies, I believe. Blind rubber stamping war, callously sending them to slaughter for insufficient reason, will never be a requirement. Indeed, I believe that the burdon of proof rests with the those wishing to deploy our national treasure for their political ends. Iraq was never about protecting Americans, only the interests of Big Oil and hegemony. Ignoring this and blindly being yes-persons to such a misuse, sells short the interest of the real freedom (not Bush's fake flauanting of the word) that our military is sworn to protect.

But most of all, if we really support and love them, we will never agree to wreckless foreign policy or approve needless belligerence by hypocritical leaders. Besides, many more Democrats have served in the military than Republicans. The GOP leadership and pundit class has so few who've served it's astonishing how readily they'd commit the lives of others. Only in BUSHWORLD is skipping out on your guard Duty seen as preferable to actually saving lives in war. But, then the Swift Boat "Vets for Truth" were never about truth.

We support the troops by loving family and friends, and even strangers, who serve and working to assure they have what they need. We say: Take care of them when they are sent into harm's way. Don't make them pay for their body armor, send them without it, or supply them with defective vests (as was recently revealed). Treat their medical needs with respect, caring and funding. Don't make them pay their own way home (that has happened). Don't leave them to depend on food stamps. Generally do more for the troops than to Halliburton or Bechtel execs. And never, ever take them for granted.

It's time to stop the knee-jerk psuedo-patriotism which pretends to capture what it means to be an American, but really creates and reacts to stereotypes. We don't have to be told. We already know. Some of the leaders of the other side apparently don't.

"Support our troops. Don't Misuse Them."