Support the troops!


Categories: Personal Politics

So, I’ve been talking of late to a friend who is in the military, and talking about things like Afghanistan (did you know that the US is involved in military action over there?) and Iraq (you probably heard about that one).

Between this, and the latest run of sound bites, and so on, I have come to a conclusion.

It is no longer possible to support both the troops and the President. The President does not seem to understand that, in a traditional relationship between superiors and troops, the leadership are supposed to care about the troops, not merely view them as pawns to be manipulated. A man who is “playing for” political support for a given position is not a man who is remembering that, in theory, he owes the troops loyalty as much as they owe him loyalty.

Support the troops. This means, I think, calling for some kind of basic hint of accountability of our government. Is what they are protecting even really liberty? Are warrentless wiretapping operations, prisoners held for years without charges, and people tortured to death what our troops signed up to promote and defend? I don’t think so. If we’re going to call on people to defend our Constitution, it behooves us to take it seriously back at home. What point is there in going out to get shot at in defense of essential liberties, only to come home and find out that they’ve been discontinued because there’s a concern that they might be a little risky?

I used to think it was clear that the Bush administration had no plan of what to do after they defeated Saddam Hussein’s armies. I am starting to worry that, in fact, this may have been their plan. There are simply too many people at the institutions and churches that Mr. Bush listens to who are end-times prophecy nuts for me to feel confident that he isn’t trying to accomplish something based on the deluded fantasies of 19th-century writers who tried to make the Revelation of St. John the Divine into a plan for ending the world on their own terms. As Hanlon’s Razor puts it, never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity… But I think this cannot be adequately explained by stupidity.

The most powerful military in the world is in the hands of a man who hires people to tell him that it’s okay to torture prisoners in case they might be terrorists. This is, on the whole, rather a bad thing.

Comments [archived]

From: Barton
Date: 2007-09-07 15:28:09 -0500

I don’t remember who said it, or where I read it, but sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

From: Brendon Etter
Date: 2007-09-18 09:23:38 -0500

I had a conversation like this with an acquaintance who insisted that it was impossible to differentiate support for the troops from support for Bush.

I essentially ended the conversation by asking him if his father was trying to kill him because his father thought it would improve his standing in the neighborhood, would it be okay then if I supported only him and not his father?

I know it’s not the most directly relevant analogy, but it stumped him enough to force some mumbles, stammers and, ultimately, a change of subject.