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I Don't Support Our Troops

sanjuro

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Sep 13, 2004
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http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-oe-stein24jan24,0,1168298.column?coll=la-news-columns
From the Los Angeles Times
JOEL STEIN
Warriors and wusses
Joel Stein

January 24, 2006

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.

Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren't really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of "Laguna Beach."

The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.

I understand the guilt. We know we're sending recruits to do our dirty work, and we want to seem grateful.

After we've decided that we made a mistake, we don't want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country. But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed in the phone book.

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.
 

reflux

Turbo Monkey
Mar 18, 2002
4,622
2
G14 Classified
rooftest said:
I know several people that fought in Kosovo. Yeah... a frickin' walk in the park!:rolleyes:
If you don't read that phrase literally, it makes sense. What cause is more worthy? Protecting a foreign group of people from mass murder, or the unwelcome westernization of a country?
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,267
3,001
Sleazattle
reflux said:
If you don't read that phrase literally, it makes sense. What cause is more worthy? Protecting a foreign group of people from mass murder, or the unwelcome westernization of a country?

Using a little irony to point out Kosovo was a little more morally cut and dry.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,017
1,700
In my pants
This is about the only part I like.

It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.
I grew up in a town pretty infiltrated with military bases, mostly naval with some army and AF thrown in. The aggressive, loud-mouthed date raping 20 something underlings pretty much sealed my opinions of a lot of the military but that was during peacetime.

I can't imagine having as part of my job do something I'm morally opposed to with loss of med benefits and military prison as the alternative. I'm also not stupid enough to think that every soldier in Iraq is hunky dory with his/her orders.

For those that take in the frat boy flying in on an aircraft carrier 10 miles offshore from san diego and go "yup, thass mah cuhmannder" and dig on shooting people in their own country because they actually believe that what they're doing has something to do with defending our own because you're too obtuse to do your research......sure......you suck. But that's hardly a unanimous majority. I don't think it's that simple.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,267
3,001
Sleazattle
kidwoo said:
This is about the only part I like.



I grew up in a town pretty infiltrated with military bases, mostly naval with some army and AF thrown in. The aggressive, loud-mouthed date raping 20 something underlings pretty much sealed my opinions of a lot of the military but that was during peacetime.

In defense of the loud mouthed date raping military you concentrate the % of 20 year olds of background/job/whatever and it pretty much turns into an asshole parade. Try living in a college town.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,017
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Westy said:
In defense of the loud mouthed date raping military you concentrate the % of 20 year olds of background/job/whatever and it pretty much turns into an asshole parade. Try living in a college town.
What makes you think I never have?

Gainesville Florida is nothing BUT a college town. I Spent 6 years there in school and working. Sure there's the greek contingent but I was that age too you know. What I described applies to exactly none of people I surrounded myself with.........and it's not like that was difficult to achieve or anything.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
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In all fairness, let me elaborate. Those that made an impression on me were the obnoxious types that did something worthy of leaving an impression. I used to surf right near Mayport, a big navy base in Jax, Florida. The number of fights I saw and the conversation in general I'd hear were not exactly idicative of people I wanted to associate with.

But if it's not clear in my first post let me state it here. I don't take the actions of a few to dictate the behavior of the whole. I said "a lot of the military"......not all.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
kidwoo said:
In all fairness, let me elaborate. Those that made an impression on me were the obnoxious types that did something worthy of leaving an impression. I used to surf right near Mayport, a big navy base in Jax, Florida. The number of fights I saw and the conversation in general I'd hear were not exactly idicative of people I wanted to associate with.

But if it's not clear in my first post let me state it here. I don't take the actions of a few to dictate the behavior of the whole. I said "a lot of the military"......not all.
You're actually pretty spot on. Its just an income level/demographics thing.
Look at your young men who can afford to go to college and those who cant afford to. Where do they end up?

Its a generalization, I know. I honestly didnt have running water as a kid, and Im not a criminal, but stereotypes exist for a reason.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
reflux said:
Question: Do you notice a different mentality between the one (tour) and done, and the lifers?
Yes.
Actually, the lifers are alot of the time better behaved, because they know they're worthless at anything else, and to screw up is to well..
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,017
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BurlyShirley said:
Yes.
Actually, the lifers are alot of the time better behaved, because they know they're worthless at anything else, and to screw up is to well..
that's hardly particular to the military.:p
 

GumbaFish

Turbo Monkey
Oct 5, 2004
1,747
0
Rochester N.Y.
I don't think its fair to say people in the military are poor, or stupid, or have no other option...at least that is what some of you seemed to be implying. I have several friends in the military and all of them come from upper middle class families in suburbs, got very excellent grades and could have gone to pretty much any school they wanted. Then again one of them went to annapolis, and wants to become a SEAL so I guess maybe my friends arent the norm for the military.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
GumbaFish said:
I don't think its fair to say people in the military are poor, or stupid, or have no other option...at least that is what some of you seemed to be implying. I have several friends in the military and all of them come from upper middle class families in suburbs, got very excellent grades and could have gone to pretty much any school they wanted. Then again one of them went to annapolis, and wants to become a SEAL so I guess maybe my friends arent the norm for the military.
Im just talking, Enlisted folk here.

...and maybe MikeD too.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
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GumbaFish said:
I don't think its fair to say people in the military are poor, or stupid, or have no other option...at least that is what some of you seemed to be implying. I have several friends in the military and all of them come from upper middle class families in suburbs, got very excellent grades and could have gone to pretty much any school they wanted. Then again one of them went to annapolis, and wants to become a SEAL so I guess maybe my friends arent the norm for the military.
"the military" is far too large and varied to make any sort of accurate generalization. I know that. I tried to make it clear in my first post that I was a bigot about a lot of its members though based on my experience where I grew up and in that sense there are a lot of the military that I don't "support" (whatever the hell that means these days).

But anyway......that's the problem I have with the original article. It addresses the entire body too broadly. I feel sorry for a lot of the guys being forced to do something they wouldn't be doing of their own accord. Others: not so much.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,017
1,700
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BurlyShirley said:
...and maybe MikeD too.
Word.

That guy and his buddies though it would be funny to deflower me while riding in virgin utah.


Something about leaving the purity behind in the desert where it belongs.........
 

Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
9,890
4
Hypernormality
kidwoo said:
But anyway......that's the problem I have with the original article. It addresses the entire body too broadly. I feel sorry for a lot of the guys being forced to do something they wouldn't be doing of their own accord. Others: not so much.
That's a pretty good summary I'd say.
 

GumbaFish

Turbo Monkey
Oct 5, 2004
1,747
0
Rochester N.Y.
In any case I don't support our president, I don't support this war, but I am thankful for the people in our armed forces who will risk their lives to serve our country. Maybe its because I have friends who are very patriotic and found that they had to serve in a war that may not be what they were expecting. Also this is a different situation as compared to vietnam, a draft changes things a lot. Because it means that people didn't sign up to fight a war, they didn't sign up for the army...but guess what they fought and died anyways. If I got drafted, and my friends died next to me in battle and I came home to a country that hated me I couldn't even imagine how I would feel.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,060
62
chez moi
Based on the fact that the civilians are the ones in charge in this country, as they should be, supporting or not supporting the troops is really a moot point.

He's definitely right about the parade-factor, and Americans love to act sappy and self-sacrificial while others bleed for them in relatively small numbers, but I just don't see his point in the end.

And for all the rhetoric, he still does 'support the troops' de facto; he just dislikes the way that overt 'support' can help fuel the politics he abhors.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,060
62
chez moi
kidwoo said:
Word.

That guy and his buddies though it would be funny to deflower me while riding in virgin utah.


Something about leaving the purity behind in the desert where it belongs.........
You know I can't resist irony. Especially when combined with buggery, and a nice helping of red dirt.

Now 'scuze me. I have a date-rape to attend to.

MD
 
Oct 7, 2005
181
0
Bozeman MT

cannondalejunky

ease dropper
Jun 19, 2005
2,928
1
Arkansas
But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken
i beg to differ...i'm against the war because of what we're fighting for...i support the troops all the way and protecting our country, but i dont think we should be over there right now.
 

ashleylynn

Chimp
Jan 27, 2006
7
0
cannondalejunky said:
i beg to differ...i'm against the war because of what we're fighting for...i support the troops all the way and protecting our country, but i dont think we should be over there right now.

Cannondalejunky, you can’t have it both ways.

“I support the troops all the way…but I don’t think we should be over there right now.”

In order to support the troops, you have to support the cause they are fighting for. To keep individuals morale up you can’t say what they are fighting for is wrong, unjust or pointless. You have to support their actions, if you support them.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
I think you can have it both ways. I know some guys over there that are good people. Even if I didnt want the invasion and still didnt support it, I wouldnt want them to get shot, and Id send them toothpaste and snickers bars whenever they asked.
Why is that a double standard? They dont make the policy.
 

ummbikes

Don't mess with the Santas
Apr 16, 2002
1,794
0
Napavine, Warshington
ashleylynn said:
In order to support the troops, you have to support the cause they are fighting for. To keep individuals morale up you can’t say what they are fighting for is wrong, unjust or pointless. You have to support their actions, if you support them.
You have several flaws in you argument. Re-group and try again.
 

ashleylynn

Chimp
Jan 27, 2006
7
0
ummbikes said:
You have several flaws in you argument. Re-group and try again.
My argument has several flaws? I think you just don’t like my point of view; therefore you have this obsessive need to try and degrade anyone on this forum who thinks slightly different from yourself. I think you are the one that needs to re-group and try again.
 

ashleylynn

Chimp
Jan 27, 2006
7
0
BurlyShirley said:
I think you can have it both ways. I know some guys over there that are good people. Even if I didnt want the invasion and still didnt support it, I wouldnt want them to get shot, and Id send them toothpaste and snickers bars whenever they asked.
Why is that a double standard? They dont make the policy.
All the men and women who have and who are serving in the Iraq conflict are exceptional people, and I am certain that you, as an American, don’t want any fellow Americans to get killed. However, I stand by my statement. You can’t support one, but not support his actions. AND that’s coming from a devout Democrat. So, I have a question…If a service man or women feels that the “invasion” was justified, and they want to be in Iraq to support a good cause, would you still support that individual?
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,060
62
chez moi
ashleylynn said:
All the men and women who have and who are serving in the Iraq conflict are exceptional people, and I am certain that you, as an American, don’t want any fellow Americans to get killed. However, I stand by my statement. You can’t support one, but not support his actions. AND that’s coming from a devout Democrat. So, I have a question…If a service man or women feels that the “invasion” was justified, and they want to be in Iraq to support a good cause, would you still support that individual?
Your error lies in referring to the operations in Iraq as the 'actions of the servicemembers,' to extrapolate a phrase from your post.

Their actions are NOT independent and freely chosen. Their actions are the actions of the US government as an entity, representative of the US population's majority will. The only free action the servicemembers have taken is to swear an oath to the rest of us that they'll do what we tell them to do through our duly elected representatives. Their only other duty is to refuse to undertake unconstitutional orders, which are very narrowly defined.

What you're doing in essence is blaming your bike for a crash. It's the rider that's at fault.

MD
 

jodysbike

wheel man
Oct 11, 2001
390
0
Dune
ashleylynn said:
All the men and women who have and who are serving in the Iraq conflict are exceptional people, and I am certain that you, as an American, don’t want any fellow Americans to get killed. However, I stand by my statement. You can’t support one, but not support his actions. AND that’s coming from a devout Democrat. So, I have a question…If a service man or women feels that the “invasion” was justified, and they want to be in Iraq to support a good cause, would you still support that individual?
You have never served have you? Befor you ask US Marines 90-94 I lost 12 friends.
 
Oct 7, 2005
181
0
Bozeman MT
MikeD said:
Your error lies in referring to the operations in Iraq as the 'actions of the servicemembers,' to extrapolate a phrase from your post.

Their actions are NOT independent and freely chosen. Their actions are the actions of the US government as an entity, representative of the US population's majority will. The only free action the servicemembers have taken is to swear an oath to the rest of us that they'll do what we tell them to do through our duly elected representatives. Their only other duty is to refuse to undertake unconstitutional orders, which are very narrowly defined.

What you're doing in essence is blaming your bike for a crash. It's the rider that's at fault.

MD
Maybe she is trying to say that even though orders are given from the top, the individual soldier feels a certain responsibility to those orders or to the reasons with which the orders are derived. A personal affiliation if you will? Soldiers may take offense to someone knocking their affiliation. Maybe,,,,,
 

ashleylynn

Chimp
Jan 27, 2006
7
0
jodysbike said:
You have never served have you? Befor you ask US Marines 90-94 I lost 12 friends.
Let me put it this way; unfortunately I lived in Oceanside California for some reason. I have lost friends also. However, they didn’t die in vain. All of them wanted to be in Iraq. They wanted to be there for the Iraqi men, women and children who wanted a better life. They wanted to try and prevent Kurds from getting killed for their ethnicity, Shiites being killed because of their religion, or Sunnis because of their political views. OR maybe they just hoped that by being there, one less Iraqi woman would be a victim of an honor killing. I think the mass graves that Saddam’s men dug and filled with human beings (Over 400,000) are a bitter sign that mankind still has a long way to go before every person has the basic human rights promised by all religions and culture…the rights of life and liberty.

It is easy for us as Americans to take liberty for granted because we have never had it taken away.

Anyway, I got on RM to talk about bikes not politics! (But for some reason I thought I would check out the political section) If I talk politics I prefer to look the person directly in the eyes... so I probably won’t be back. I’m sure everyone will be glad, because about the only two people I have anything in common with on the forum is alwaysbroncin and the amish. AND you all think they are idiots.

Whatever. I rather be riding.
 

valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,788
21
Japan
ashleylynn said:
.


Anyway, I got on RM to talk about bikes not politics! If I talk politics I prefer to look the person directly in the eyes... so I probably won’t be back. I’m sure everyone will be glad, because about the only two people I have anything in common with on the forum is alwaysbroncin and the amish. AND you all think they are idiots.

Whatever. I rather be riding.
What did you expect was gonna be in this forum. This is the PD forum. It's sole reason for existing is so we can puff our chests out, peacock around, exhibit our massive (in our minds) intellects and insult and abuse each other. Occasionally we have a few good debates as well.;)
 

Dirtjumper999

Turbo Monkey
Feb 13, 2005
1,563
0
Charlotte, NC
really there is nothing that they are fighting for, america has turned into an fat, ignorant, trigger happy country, that votes for the most ignorant peice of crap there is, bush. "hey country, we don't like how your doing things, your kind of being a bitch, so can we leave a couple thousand troops over here. cool thats great by the way this is how you should run this place". Why doesn't Bush get out there and fight, because he's on his ranch playing golf, and spending more time in vacation than any president ever. what a douche bag
 

GumbaFish

Turbo Monkey
Oct 5, 2004
1,747
0
Rochester N.Y.
ashleylynn said:
Anyway, I got on RM to talk about bikes not politics! (But for some reason I thought I would check out the political section) If I talk politics I prefer to look the person directly in the eyes... so I probably won’t be back. I’m sure everyone will be glad, because about the only two people I have anything in common with on the forum is alwaysbroncin and the amish. AND you all think they are idiots.

Whatever. I rather be riding.
Amish is cool with me, just check the bike sections and stay away from the PD. It's honestly a good site for information if you can filter through the posts containing raging sarcasm and pre pubescent boasting.