Support Our Troops

support_our_troops1What does it mean, specifically, to “support our troops”?  Everybody says it, and I believe that everyone sincerely means it, but since every color on the political spectrum uses the phrase, even when foreign policy ideologies are diametrically opposed, we have to wonder what it really means.

It was originally branded by the right-wing topolitical-bumper-stickers emphasize conservative values that support any military action the United States chooses to take, but that position has been blurred pretty dramatically since Barack Obama has been President.  Apparently, it’s any military action a Republican President takes.

There is a meaning to the phrase that everyone can agree with.  It can mean that we support the lives of men and women in uniform who represent the United States of America and we unconditionally admire their service and sacrifice.  There is nothing party-specific about that.  Sadly, however, even though the sentiment is sincere, it can become a mere platitude when held up to serious cross examination.

I saw on Facebook a site called “We Support Our Troops” and circulating from this page is a picture of an African-American soldier.  The headline reads:  If Obama had a son, he wouldn’t look like this.stock-photo-3597987-isolated-portraits-african-american-soldier

Clearly, the implication is that President Obama would not allow his own son to be a soldier and in some twisted logic the site construes that they are “supporting our troops” with that conjecture.  I get frustrated because there is no depth of thinking going on with a post like that, yet that warped-view of reality continues to be a strong voice in the public discourse.

I wrote in the message box:  This is quite possibly the stupidest post I’ve ever seen.

And…the floodgates opened with Obama-hating, liberal-despising, name calling (insert the noun-adjective of your choice), to let me have it.  The nicest one said, “You’re a pacifist liberal!”…although I’m sure the intent was to insult, and not to praise me.

Actually, I call myself a “Realist-Pacifist.”  While I promote peaceful solutions and wish for a world without war, I also believe that we must have the strongest military if we are to achieve that end.  And let me be perfectly clear:  I support our troops.

I support them by hammering in posts, emails and conversations with representatives or anyone who will listen, that American foreign policy needs to define its purpose and have an exit strategy before engagement so that more men and women can come home alive.

I support our troops by demanding from our leaders that America follows moral directives that are clear before sending troops in harm’s way.support_our_troops_yellow_ribbon_bumper_sticker-p128639558653299365en8ys_400

I support them by petitioning Congress to give our military the equipment and armor necessary to better protect their lives. (http://sftt.org/)

I support them by voting for legislators who believe that American military men and women should have better benefits upon returning home and receive superior health care. (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/29/veterans-need-jobs-better-health-care-leading-military-official-says/)

This does not mean maintaining a bloated military budget, this means creating a military budget which prioritizes the lives of the men and women on the battlefield above the margins of defense contractors who get rich off of military conflicts.(http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/08/13/680481/defense-contractors-profits-cuts/)

Here’s the sticker I would like to have:  I Support Our Troops and That’s Why I Want to Bring Them Home Alive, as Soon as Possible, and to Receive the Care and Benefits They Deserve When They Get Here!

I wonder if that will fit across the bumper of a Prius.prius-bumperstickers

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