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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 09:10 PM
Original message
Supporting The Troops - A Study in Contradiction
"Supporting The Troops - A Study in Contradiction"
By Nancy Greggs

As the GOP is so fond of saying in the face of any topic being raised these days, You cant have it both ways.

Either you side with the president, or you side with the terrorists. Either you are with America, or you are with Al Qeada. If you do not support this war, you dont support the troops.

Well, its time someone pointed out something that has become abundantly clear in the way this war is being waged, and the way our troops are being treated. You either SUPPORT the troops, OR you support those who are overseeing the conduct of this war. And no, you CANNOT have it both ways.

During the course of the War in Iraq, under the Republican-run government, we have seen the gutting of benefits and pensions of US soldiers, and a flagrant disregard for their on-the-ground safety. While literally billions of dollars are being spent on this endeavor (much of it slipped into the pockets of Halliburton with a wink and a nod in place of any real accounting), our troops have been sent into combat without body armor, without vehicle armor, without helmet-inserts that could mean the difference between life and death, the difference between a debilitating brain injury and a headache.

Where is the outrage? Well, you might well ask. While the Republicans continue to wrap themselves in thousands of Support the Troops bumperstickers, while they vote for ever-expanding funding (to the tune of billions of dollars per week) for the ongoing combat, I have yet to hear one of them express their anger at the fact the troops they allegedly support are showering in fetid water, are dealing with the constant concern that their wives and children are facing financial crises back home, or are coming to terms with the idea that in the vast expenditures being made in this war, their safety and comfort is at the bottom of the list of priorities.

While I, as all of us, have had to sit through the vociferous arguments touted by the Republicans who control the war purse-strings, I have not heard word one about the casualties that could be avoided at a cost of a few thousand dollars per soldier (body armor plus a helmet insert), which obviously are considered too trivial an expenditure in the great scheme of things.

I will admit that while I try to stay current with the news, I may have missed a few things here and there. Maybe I was sleeping when the same GOPers who rail about supporting the troops held their press conference about ensuring that our military was fully equipped with every possible piece of life-saving equipment. Perhaps I was out of town when the Republicans who voted to slash pensions and benefits to those in combat explained how this was actually support. Yeah, maybe.

While the same people who talk about supporting the troops drone on and on, they simultaneously support an administration that not only condones but embraces the policies of torture and humiliation at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, policies that put our own captured troops in jeopardy of receiving the same treatment at the hands of the enemy. Call me crazy (and many will), but THAT doesnt sound like supporting the troops to me. But I, as they say, stand to be corrected in that regard.

And there is a bigger concept to be considered here. At the beginning of this war, many pundits and political observers (most of them Conservative right-wingers) quickly pointed to the fact that as casualties mounted, public support for this war would wane. That just begs the question as to why the president, his advisors, and those who support them have not insisted on every life-saving precaution being taken in order to keep the number of US troop casualties to a minimum if not out of a sense of concern for our military, at least in deference to the more-important, it would seem, PR consequences.

Less than a thousand dollars worth of body armor and the $71 cost of a helmet insert per soldier could easily have kept the number of casualties down. From a purely dollars-and-cents perspective, being that a severely injured soldier represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in life-long care weighed against a relatively paltry investment in the proper equipment, logic would dictate where the fiscal, if not moral, wise investment lies. And yet we hear no such argument from the Support-The-Troops crowd, and one wonders why.

Was it determined in the bowels of the White House, early on in the game, that thousands of casualties could be turned into an investment that the American people would not readily walk away from, as opposed to a small number of deaths that were easily translatable into Lets cut our losses and go home? Was it decided, from a psy-ops point of view, that an investor who has only lost a few bucks on a bad stock will cut and run faster than one who has lost a substantial amount, and thus can be convinced that his only hope of a return on his investment is to stay the course and hope for the best?

If someone has a more plausible explanation as to why EVERY precaution has not been taken to ensure the safety of our troops, I would be more than happy to hear it.

It seems obvious to me, and I would suggest that recent poll numbers reflect that I am not alone in my view, that supporting the troops and supporting this president and his administration are an overwhelming contradiction in terms.

Either you support the troops, OR you support those who have been detrimental to their well-being, both in combat and upon their return to civilian life.

The battle lines have been clearly drawn.

Whose side are you on, America? As we have been told time and time again, you cant have it both ways.

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SeattleVet Donating Member (708 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Powerful message! K&R
"Do you support the troops, or do you support the current administration?" is a question that should be asked on a regular basis.

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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks, SeattleVet ...
... and you are in a position to KNOW. What kind of 'support' of the troops includes slashing their pensions and benefits?

Is it just ME -- or does the rest of the country see this for what it is?

Just wonderin' ...
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Concur.
At work, in one of the 'reserved' parking spaces, is a SUV with a bumper sticker: Support President Bush and Our Troops.
I told the owner of the vehicle it should be "Or" not "And": If you support President Bush, you don't support the troops. You support the cutting of Veteran's Benefits, the stagnation of pay for junior enlisted, the involuntary extentions and the use of threats of extentions to force re-enlistments.
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JeffR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
4. This very much needed to be said
Edited on Wed Jul-12-06 10:48 PM by JeffR
And it needs to be repeated across the blogosphere, and by every Dem candidate this year, over and over and over until the goddamned truth seeps through to everybody. The Republicans have their collective ass hanging out on this issue, and every other issue. "Support the Troops", GOP-style, is yet another exercise in transparently phony sloganeering, and is so easily countered by Democrats that it's astounding why there's any of this soul-searching over "framing the debate" and "turning issues to our advantage".

Tell the fucking truth, say it over and over again, give no quarter, rebut the bullshit directly and relentlessly, hammer these fuckers on everything they've done, everything they haven't done, every hypocritical thing they've ever said, and shove their faces deep into the shit with which they've fouled what passes for public discourse in this country, before the last of anything good America signifies is utterly drowned in the sewage.

Just sayin'.

Oh, and a K and an R!



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JeffR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 01:59 AM
Response to Original message
5. Late nite kick
:kick:
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 05:43 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. K&R!
:kick:
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Jesterstear Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
7. Where's the "liberal media"?
I keep waiting for the so-called "liberal media" to get these bastard conservatives on camera and ask them these questions. So why aren't they doing it? For one brief moment in what seems a lifetime ago, we thought that the media had found its spine and had decided to stand up to Bush. Sadly, that wasn't so.

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PurpleChez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 08:02 AM
Response to Original message
8. Obviously, you hate America.
good rant, by the way ;)
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The Wizard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
9. To the Kool Aid guzzlers
support the troops is code for Dear Leader is always right. Patriotism means to always stand by your country and the government when it deserves it.
As the assault on veterans benefits by the chicken hawk administration gets exposed, more veterans are becoming aware that Republicans are the enemy of those who have borne the battle.
I must admit, however, that as a disabled combat veteran, I'm grateful Dead Eye Dick (head) Cheney wasn't along side me in Vietnam. If he were, I may not be making this post now. Then again, we had some guys like that and warned them that doing things like picking up grenades would lead to dire consequences, if you get my drift.
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Karmageddon Donating Member (596 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
10. "You can support the troops but not the president." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
- and who can forget this little ditty -

"We can support the troops without supporting the President." -Trent Lott


When they tell me that I have to support the prez to support the troops, they're either lying now, or they were lying then. Either way, they're liars.

So Trent, Tom, the rest of you GOP warmongers..... STFU.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
11. I wrote something similar with dozens of links
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
101 Ways The US "Supports Its Troops"
http://guvwurld.blogspot.com/2004/10/101-ways-us-suppor...

This piece also appears in my book, We Do Not Consent (free .pdf download)
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
12. Did anyone else hear on NPR that the Support Our Troops is originating
Edited on Thu Jul-13-06 12:15 PM by hootinholler
From the Pentagon? I swear I heard that this AM, but haven't found it on thier site yet.

Found it: in today's Morning Edition segment name "Pentagon's Fine Line: War Machine, P.R. Machine."

-Hoot
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timontheleft Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
13. Well said as usual, Nance
Your posts are great. It's great to know there are people like you that can passionately articulate what a lot of us are thinking.

:yourock:
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Onus Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
14. I agree but...
I agree that Nancy makes a valid point - supporting our troops includes taking EVERY precaution to ensure their safety and comfort. I also agree that reasonable people can support our troops and NOT support our President. But I think it is hypocritical to support our troops and NOT support our militarty, which is made up of our troops. Additionally, I would argue that supporting our troops means supporting their mission. It seems to me that lack of support for their mission leads to lower morale among our troops and higher morale among the enemy they're fighting, which in turn results in more casualties. This doesn't jibe with taking EVERY precaution to ensure their safety and comfort. If we could show a united front maybe it would make up for some of the missing body armor and helmet inserts?

As for Bush, beat up on him all you want. I think the only people that still support HIM are the die hard Kool-Aid drinkers. As for me, I support the troops AND the mission - they are fighting the good fight.
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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-14-06 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. So let's all pretend we believe in 'The Mission', shall we?
"I think it is hypocritical to support our troops and NOT support our military, which is made up of our troops."

I'm just wondering where the two differ. Yes, our troops and our military are one and the same. And soldiers without body armor, vehicle armor, and clean water to bathe in, those who have had their pensions and benefits slashed while in combat, are all the same group.

I cannot imagine that lack of support of their mission is MORE demoralizing than knowing your own government can't find the necessary funds to protect your safety when they are handing money, hand-over-fist, to Halliburton et al and aren't asking a single question about where over a billion dollars in "questionable" expenditures have gone to.

If we who do not believe in this mission, which was based on lies about WMDs, aluminum tubes, drones that can deliver chemical weapons in fifteen minutes, etc., are we supposed to just PRETEND those things were all true? Will THAT save soldiers' lives? If you think it will, I'd be happy to hear how.

Have you an idea how many Iraq War veterans are living on the streets of the US, HOMELESS, because the same government that sent them to risk their lives on the other side of the world can't be BOTHERED to look after their needs when they arrive home? I don't know about you, but I would find that REALLY demoralizing.

As for "higher morale" among the enemy, what could lead to any higher morale than knowing US soldiers are vulnerable targets because they don't have the necessary equipment to protect themselves?

As for: "If we could show a united front maybe it would make up for some of the missing body armor and helmet inserts?" Surely you jest. Just tell that to next soldier who winds up a quadraplegic due to a brain injury: "We know you'll spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair, but in place of a helmet insert that would have prevented this, we MADE UP FOR IT by showing a united front."

Of course, you won't be saying anything to the soldiers who come home in caskets thanks to no body armor -- they're beyond hearing your 'united front' reasoning.

Bush just LOVES trotting out that Commander-in-Chief title -- quite ironic for someone who had the chance to serve, and couldn't get up enough courage to complete his cushy National Guard duty safely here at home. Well, let me fill you in: JOB ONE of any commander of US troops is to ensure that the men under his command are KEPT AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE IN ALL COMBAT SITUATIONS. Bush sent thousands of the men under his command into combat KNOWING they were bereft of the BASIC safety precautions of body and vehicle armor.

On that basis alone, he should have been relieved of his command IMMEDIATELY.

Why don't you contact a few soldiers currently serving and ask THEM what they'd rather have: Your 'united front' good wishes, or the necessary equipment to keep them alive.

I think you know the answer.

As for 'The Mission', Cindy Sheehan, along with millions of Americans, have been asking Bush and this administration exactly what 'The Mission' is, and we have yet to hear a response.

If your president doesn't even know what 'The Mission' is, how are the rest of us supposed to pretend to support it?

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Onus Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-14-06 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Clarification
"Why don't you contact a few soldiers currently serving and ask THEM what they'd rather have: Your 'united front' good wishes, or the necessary equipment to keep them alive."

You assume that the two are mutually exclusive. I think we should do both.

"The Mission" (which I agree has NOT been expressed or acknowledged by the Bush administration) as I see it is to root out and suppress Radical Islamic Terrorists. I personally believe in this mission. If others don't that's their prerogative. Either way, the argument that undermining or showing lack of support for their mission equates to support of our troops seems a bit strained to me.

The united front that I propose is to show the same resolve that we did - as a nation - after 9/11. We don't have to stop criticizing Bush or our government, but we should show at least the same amount of outrage for attrocities committed by our enemy.

However we got into this situation ("Bush lied" on the left, or "Bush is a hero" on the right), the fact is we're there so we might as well finish the job.
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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-14-06 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. "We might as well finish the job."
"The Mission" ... as I see it is to root out and suppress Radical Islamic Terrorists."

The Mission (as told to us at the beginning) was to liberate the Iraqi people from a tyrannical regime, where they were subject to unlawful arrest without cause, torture, brutal living conditions while Saddam lived like a king. etc. Remember that?

The Mission was to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, refurbish schools, hospitals, get their economy rolling with the revenues from their own oil.

What have we done from the minute we got there? Established a tyrannical US regime where people are subject to unlawful arrest, torture, and brutal living conditions while people safe in the Green Zone live like kings.

The Iraqi people have learned, with good reason, to hate Americans -- who they see as causing worse living conditions than they ever experienced under Saddam. They have less access to electricty, clean water, and food than they did before. And now they have the added pleasure of living with violence every day of their lives, right on their own streets, in their own front yards, sometimes in their own homes.

As for radical Islamic terrorists, there WEREN'T any there before we invaded. And for every one we kill, there will be a dozen more who get on-board seeking revenge against us for that killing.

The Mission was a lie from day one, and every promise made to the Iraqi people has been broken.

Finish the job? The job WAS finished the first time an innocent Iraqi was tortured by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib, the first time an Iraqi girl was raped, the first time an innocent civilian was gunned down in the streets.

And while a billion-dollar embassy is being built in the middle of Baghdad, while Halliburton and the other war profiteers count the taxpayer money they've pocketed instead of spending it on rebuilding the country we have destroyed, while Iraqis turn their backs on the people they now see as their enemy and not their 'liberators', our soldiers risk their lives as their pensions get cut, their benefits get cut, and they go into combat without the most basic forms of protection.

The only job that CAN be finished at this point is to get out troops out before even more of them die in this quagmire.

Thanks for everything, president Bush - you've done a heck of a job.
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Onus Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-14-06 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Moving On
But before I do, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to point this out:

"The Iraqi people have learned, with good reason, to hate Americans".

I assume you're not talking about the American troops who are representing us in Iraq.
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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-14-06 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Well, you seem like a decent person.
So why don't you think about that?

The people who came to 'liberate' you wear the same uniform as the people in those photos from Abu Ghraib, the ones who are torturing your brother, your best friend, your neighbour from down the street.

The people in those same uniforms dragged your seventy-five year-old grandmother out of her house in the middle of the night, and screamed at her to tell them where the local insurgents were until she was too frightened to move.

The people in those same uniforms who told you they were your friends stood by and did nothing while the priceless artifacts from your museum were carried off by looters.

Be honest with yourself. If this happened in YOUR country, how would you feel towards the people in those uniforms?

I don't blame the troops. And I don't blame the Iraqi people.

I put the blame where it belongs: George W. Bush and his neo-con pals.

But in case you haven't noticed, THEY'RE the ones who AREN'T in uniform on the front lines -- nor have they ever been in their lives.
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