Eff's Rambles (Archive)


Troops: Suporting them

A while back I commented that it is basically a fallacy, an over extention if you will allow, to say that dissent is patriotic, as is suggested as being its inherent nature. Dissent simply is disagreement, and can be spurned on by very unpatriotic motives. What is it to be a patriot? That is a personal matter, and I have my views on what leans more toward that way, but the definition of patriotism is not the main focus of this commentary.

Moreso, I am going to focus on what it means to support troops. This is not a long argument, but I believe the logic I apply here to be sufficient, and I hope, if the reader agrees with that characterization, that he will consider, before any offenses he might have over my opinion helps him to form a negative opinion of me, my argument.

But first, I am not attempting to resolve the question of whether or not it is patriotic to support troops leaving a war and, by some standards, losing it. To me, sincere belief in the futility and, most especially, the unconstitutionality of a war is enough to preserve the patriotism of a call to end a war and stay the course. Intent is obviously very important to me, though knowing what that is might not always be easy; I suspect that it rarely is.

And here is what I am attempting to resolve: Are you supporting troops by calling for their removal from where they are performing their duties?

Conclusion: No.

While it is true that calling for the removal of soldiers from an "unconstitutional" war is not unpatriotic, generally speaking it is patriotic, though some could make a necessity argument for a war in some current, I suppose, or hypothetical cases, that is largely a separate matter, in my view irrelevant, and no effort to disparage someone's patriotism is intended.

A soldier, while human and carrying many of the emotional issues civilians have and face, is primarily not primarily defined by his similarity to everyone else, but by his profession and association. A soldier works for his government, or through it for his people. (Unless, in some cases, he is a mercenary, but that type of soldier is not intended to be commented on here.) A soldier does not exist as a single person where only his preservation and humanity are relevant. A soldier is part of a larger unit, each of which are banded together to implement actions which they soldier hope will improve the lives of their nation's people, and sometimes the peoples of other nations. War is reprehensible, beyond our understanding or beyond our acceptance, even if we understand it. A given action in a war can make us want to call back every last grunt in the field; and little to no progress can make us see the futility of our troops efforts that we often call noble. But, disdain or support an action, it still does not address one key issue: the soldiers that believe in what they do, or simply have faith in the wisdom of their leaders, are soldiers partly because of where they are; the very functions they are performing. Leaving a war does not mean a soldier is no longer a soldier, but it does mean he is acting opposite to within his tranied capabilities. When one supports the removal of troops from combat, it is not automatically unpatriotic, but it is also not support for the human as the soldier that he is, for his safety and honor, but for the human separate from what he is, a soldier. By calling for their removal, you are supporting the human being in each of them alone, with the caveat being a strategic basis for your call of removal. But you are not supporting them as soldiers.


  • I was in the States recently (in Florida) and noticed the amount of "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers I saw.

    I got talking to a guy who had one on the back of his car and I asked him if these stickers meant that the car driver supported the war in Iraq.

    He explained to me that he's against the war in Iraq and not a supporter of George Bush. So I asked him why he had the sticker and he told me: "I may not support Bush or the war but it's important to support our troops. They have no choice in any of this. They are essentially following orders and it's important you remember this and show them personally your support".

    I gave his words some thought and came to the conclusion he was making a valid point.

    By Blogger EllasDevil, at 9/28/2005 05:32:00 PM  

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