The retired postmaster flags certain items he comes across, for female soldiers: such as a little box of nice soaps. Stirling says even people who don’t support specific wars should support the troops. But he’s not sure he supports the troop withdrawal, “I think that’s a political thing right now. I think it’s expedient. But I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do unless they’re right there waiting to go back in because the situation in the world is very. It’s like a tinderbox, you know, and you’ve got to make sure things are done properly.”
I guess now that the troops are coming home from Iraq (except for the ones who will remain to guard the embassy, and the others who will remain in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, just, you know, to make sure nobody steals any sand) we’re going to get more of these sentimental puff pieces about those brave men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms.
Of all the braindead slogans regularly parroted in the mainstream media and culture, “support the troops” has got to be the most nauseating. Even when an effort is made, as in the passage quoted above, to separate the soldiers from the mission, it’s still, in effect, an underhanded attempt to silence dissent. What they’re actually saying is, “You may not support the war(s), but really you should, if only for the sake of the troops.” It’s become the foreign policy equivalent of “think of the children.”
But what really irks is the implied obligation. You should support the troops because they’re risking their lives for you. I mean, they wouldn’t even be in Iraq, killing all of those terrible sand niggers and getting their arms and legs blown off by IEDs, if it wasn’t for you and your damn freedom that needs to be protected all the time. You’re not some kind of ingrate, are you?
Funny thing is, I don’t recall asking a single soldier to go anywhere and do anything for me. So I have an idea: Instead of telling me that I should support the troops, I think you should just fuck off.