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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A parade is the least we can do

What's a parade?

Warriors and wusses

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.


But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.


But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country. But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed in the phone book.

First, Mr. Stein is one of those people who think Iraqis will understand if he doesn't support the troops.

They won't.

They kidnapped Jill Carroll and Quakers. They do not give a fuck about your personal politics. It is their families suffering and any American will do. In their eyes, we are all collectively guilty.

Why would you support the troops? Because, for many of us, they are our families. They didn't choose to go to Iraq and no one asked them about Afghanistan. The deserve our support, because like firemen and police officers, they do a job for the rest of us that we ask them to do. It is our collective fault when they are misused. You cannot assign away your responsibility all that easily.

Second, they don't just fight for the people who supported the war. If Mr. Stein wasn't a smug fuck, he'd read Stars and Stripes and see American soldiers, in Iraq, oppose this war. They serve because they have to, but they didn't stop thinking.

What Mr. Stein doesn't seem to care about is that the vast majority of soldiers enlist for one reason: money for college. Not part of any imperial exercise, not any sort of plan, just the chance at a college education which Stein's parents wrote a check for.

It seems Mr. Stein has a problem with parades, as if teenagers who risk life and limb and who come home horribly crippled don't deserve the acknowlegement of their service.

I have known vets my entire life. I remember when the hostages came home in 1981. They got a ticker tape parade. Vietnam Vets came home alone and then was vilified. All they had done was get drafted and obey the law. They couldn't get jobs, they were disrepected in the media and by family and friends, and yet, these people who had been held hostage were showered with gifts and praise, even free lifetime passes to baseball games. Vietnam Vets came home to rat infested VA's.

A parade is the least we can do for them, to know that regardless of how we felt about the politics, they are not the people to blame. A parade is a sign of respect, not only for the participants, but for those who did not come back.

The odd thing is that I found this on Malkin's site, she's using it to claim liberals don't support the troops.

The odd thing is that she thinks she's better than Stein.

She so isn't. Stein is honest, Malkin is not. She doesn't support the troops either, she just pretend she does. Because she expects someone else to die for what she believes in.

posted by Steve @ 12:05:00 AM

12:05:00 AM

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