What's the message behind "support our troops"?
Passed a group of demonsrators today stationed on all four corners of the intersection of 38th Street and John Deere Rd. in Moline.
They had an array of little flags planted in the ground, and a larger flag which had the emblems of the branches of service on it. They were waving at the traffic and holding banners which said, "Support Our Troops".
Ok. That's a laudible sentiment.
But why the hell do people feel the need to stand on the corner with this message? What are we supposed to do? A lot of people honked. I guess that will really help support the troops. After all, other than spending the country into generations of enormous debt, that's more than most people actually do.
But the more I thought about it, the more I found it a completely pointless and disingenous effort.
They weren't offering people a means to actually support the troops. They were just out demonstrating their supposed patriotism, feeling, evidently, that they needed to stand out on a corner to show everyone just how patriotic they were.
That strikes me as kind of weird. But I don't think that's the whole story.
The real reason these people were there, I would bet, is as some misguided counter-protest to a group which has stood on the corner of 16th St and John Deere Rd. on Saturdays urging an end to the Iraq invasion and to support the troops by withdrawing them from the deadly quagmire they've been sent into.
The "troop supporters" with the flags were from a group with the peaceful sounding acronym "F.I.S.T". I think that was the title of a B movie at some time, but I tried to do a Google search on it to see if I could find out just what group felt the need to stand on a busy corner, wave flags, and urge us all to support the troops (as if anyone doesn't.)
The only group that popped up on a search for "F.I.S.T." was "Females Investigating Sexual Terrain", which bills itself as "social and educational club for women interested in SM, leather and fetish between women."
I'm sure the women in that group may be quite patriotic, but somehow I don't think they were the ones on the corner today. No one was wearing leather.
But truly, what is the "support the troops" group's purpose? What is the motivation to stand on a corner festooned with flags and wave at traffic and urge people to "support our troops"?
Is it not likely that these people are so misguided that they think anyone who opposes our present course in Iraq is therefore somehow against the troops?
Isn't that a preposterous, false, and stupid assumption? And isn't it pretty nasty to even try to suggest it?
What about those who feel that leaving them as human targets in a shooting gallery, sitting ducks for IEDs and snipers, getting them blown up, mangled, shot to pieces, blinded, paralized, left without limbs, and/or traumatized for life isn't the best way to "support our troops"?
Can one "support our troops" while strongly believing that they shouldn't be sacrificed simply because a few impeciles in the White House are too egotistical to admit that their assumptions were dead wrong and at least begin to change course?
What is the purpose of standing on a corner waving a sign saying "Support our troops"? What does it mean? Aren't we already supporting our troops to the tune of all our tax money now and passing the debt on to generations far into the future?
Do they mean that we should demand that the Republicans stop cutting veterans benefits? Is it demanding that we spend billions to construct the facilities that will be necessary to care for all the wounded far into the future? Is it a protest against the Dept. of Defense trying to fight this war on the cheap, sending troops into battle with inferior and insufficient equipment and protection?
What do they want us to do to support our troops?
Honk I guess.
But that's like a group protesting outrageous grocery store prices and another group counter-protesting by saying "Support our bag boys". It's stupid.
(and for the dim-witted, that's an analogy, I'm not comparing our troops to bagboys, only that they are the ones who do the work, not the ones responsible for the position they've been placed in or the way the "store" is run.)
And seriously, do these folks really think that some people DON'T support the troops? I'd bet big money that not one of them has ever heard anyone who didn't.
I sincerely have NEVER heard a person write or utter a single word hostile to our military men and women, left, right, or center. Not one word. Ever. Have you?
So where do they get the notion that people AREN'T supporting the troops? That's easy. Fox, AM radio lunatics, cable boobs, and the rest.
And let's be real. By demanding that people "support our troops", aren't they really demanding that we unquestioningly support the war, and by extention the Bush administration?
If that's the message they're trying to convey, which is hard to deny, I find it dishonest and rather disgusting for them to both wrap themselves in the flag and hide behind "our troops" in order to do so.
One group says "Stop the war" and "Bring them home", and "F.I.S.T" feels compelled to respond by saying, "Support our troops"? Why?
Perhaps it's because they don't have the guts to honestly come out and wave signs saying "Support Perpetual War!", or "The best way to honor those who have been killed is to ensure more get killed" or "We can't accept the thought that our troops are at risk and being killed for no good purpose so please don't disturb our state of denial" just won't fit on a sign, so they pull the phoney "Support our troops" thing.
Obviously it's perfectly possible to want a change of course in Iraq and support our troops at the same time. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that the best way to support our troops is to demand that we begin to get them out of a situation where they're getting slaughtered for nothing.
Clearly, supporting our troops and supporting the way this war has been waged are NOT the same thing whatsoever. Supporting our troops and opposing the war aren't mutually exclusive, so what's the point of the "support our troops" gang?