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Support our troops or support a war, which is it? Viewed 27,812 timesBy: Bill Tew
Published for Orem, Utah (Area-Info.net Feb. 20, 2012)
Since at least 1990,just before the first "UN Peacekeeping" Gulf War with Iraq, I’ve grown very tired of the phrase “support our troops” and what it is assumed to mean. It is a phrase we've all commonly seen on bumper stickers attached to American automobiles and pickup trucks wherever we travel. Why am I tired of that phrase? Am I un-American? Am I a long-haired, leftist, street-marching, war-protestor? No, actually my irritation stems from my conservative view that the Constitution should be obeyed and that our troops should not be misused by presidents or Congress, but only used to defend America from aggressions.
My irritation is that I have a son about to become a soldier for a second time and I don't want presidents, Democratic or Republican, to risk his life for anything but a true defense of this country.
The oft used propaganda phrase “Support our troops” or “Support the troops” irritates me because so many Americans equate the phrase “support the troops” with supporting whatever war our presidents or Congressional politicians have decided America’s military should be engaged in at any given moment. Often Americans' support of these wars is virtually a knee-jerk reaction to media war-drum beating and they instantly wave the flag to support any war that comes along. Or should I say whatever “wars” or military occupations of foreign nations America’s politicians have our armed forces engaged in since it is usually plural wars and plural military deployments which our politicians have our armed forces engaged in.
At present for example our military forces are deployed to Bosnia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea, Japan, West Germany, off the coast of Libya and many other foreign lands. In many cases our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are required to conduct combat missions against people within these countries. Couldn’t it be said that American foreign military deployments resemble the ancient empire of Rome with our troops spread across the globe to defend a “new world order” just as Roman emperors spread Roman legions around their far-flung empire in ancient days?
The “We support our troops” phrase and all of its permutations actually means “We support our troops being engaged in whatever war our politicians and president want to send them into this week even without just cause.” If you’re not in favor of the flavor-of-the-month-war watch out; you’re likely to be branded as a traitor these days in America.
Where war is concerned freedom of speech and freedom of the press seem to be on the way out with the new threats to any expression of opposition to American wars. With section 1021 of the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now passed through Congress and signed by President Barrack H. Obama, you might even be arrested by military agents and “indefinitely detained” without charges, without habeas corpus, without a trial, even without having counsel of an attorney. Such a looming threat of oppression will surely dampen any descent concerning involvement in wars by America won’t it?
Thus, if you or I don’t support a given war because we view that particular war as immoral because it is unjustified, then we will be branded at least as unpatriotic. If we don’t support a war and want our soldiers (our sons and daughters) kept from fighting in such a war because America has not been harmed, or we see that war as a pre-emptive aggression on our government’s part, or we understand the war to be an illegal war because Congress has again ignored the Constitution and has not bothered to pass a resolution to formally declare war upon a country as our Constitution requires, then we are branded as unpatriotic.
In today’s America, we may even be branded as traitors because we oppose an improper, unjustified, immoral, aggressive, expensive, unnecessary, undeclared war that our president has launched America into. Or perhaps we object to our president thrusting our soldiers and sailors into a war as near mercenary troops to enforce United Nations or NATO mandates. That too will be viewed as unpatriotic since our President has willed that our troops must fight on behalf of these foreign globalist powers.
Thus, by peer pressure and even threat of arrest, as American citizens who see or hear the repeated mantra “We support the troops,” we are nearly prevented from checking or preventing presidents from launching our military forces in war after war for a myriad of causes and without a constitutionally required declaration of war because today we can be branded as traitors by the military for opposing even illegal wars.
Second, I’m tired of the various phrases “support the troops,” or “support our troops,” or “we support the troops,” because every American who pays income taxes or any other taxes to the federal government is in fact already financially supporting our military forces wherever they may be stationed, whether domestically, or in a foreign land, or upon the seas. Even those Americans who don’t pay income taxes are financially supporting our wars and our troops even if they are not aware of it. How? The federal government borrows enormous sums of money to conduct wars and military deployments, then, when foreign governments don’t wish to lend the Federal government funds, our government borrows the funds from the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve System creates new money from thin air (or at least paper or electronic entries) to loan to the federal government, then our government spends that money into our economy to buy tanks; pay soldiers, airmen and sailors salaries; to build new weapons, to build new military bases abroad, even to pay for armaments for this week’s allies whoever they are. That new money, introduced into the market place, has and inflationary impact and that too is a tax paid by even those who don't pay income taxes.
And how best might we as American citizens who seek to do our duty as citizens “support our troops” during the 21st century? Is our support best reflected in going along to get along with every war or deployment that an American president might decide upon? For example how many reading this would have favored sending their son who had joined the U.S. Marines off to kill people in Haiti as Bill Clinton ordered?
Haiti had not attacked America nor even threatened Americans, but President Clinton thought they should have restored to power the ruler they had ousted, so on behalf of the United Nations President Clinton sent our navy to Haiti and our Marine Corp invaded that small island as UN “peace keepers” and in the process shot to death several Hatian police officers. That invasion was something I strongly objected too in letters to my Senators and Congressman as America was under no threat and thus was unjustified in invading and intervening with military force inside a nation that meant America no harm. Whatever happened to the concept of self determination for a country? But for most Americans the “Support our troops” mantra was sufficient to keep them from voicing any opposition. What “vital interest” of America really justified an American military invasion of tiny Haiti? Why not mind our own business instead of behaving as the biggest bully on the global block?
Or how can we forget how President George Herbert Walker Bush, only a month after being defeated for another term as president, sent 30,000 U.S. troops to Somalia in a mission he defined as a UN “humanitarian mission.” Our troops invaded Somalia under authority from a UN resolution, not under authority from a declaration of war by Congress upon Somalia. Why? It is unlikely that Congress would actually want to declare war upon a nation that had done no harm to the US, isn’t it? Newly elected President Clinton upgraded the mission to a military mission within weeks of landing our troops in Somalia and then new orders were given to capture a Somali leader and disarm Somalia’s civilian population.
When American soldiers became engaged in a horrific gun-fight in the capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu, and 18 American soldiers were killed while hundreds of Somali citizens died in the fight, Clinton did pull 4,000 Americans out of Somalia, but he placed the remaining Americans under the command of Turkish General Cevik Bir, as JBS President John F. McManus pointed out in his 1995 book “Changing Commands- The Betrayal of America’s Military.” Is that how we “Support our troops” is to support the turning over of those American soldiers to the command of foreigners as if they are UN troops rather than American troops?
So how could we actually support our troops without supporting every hair-brained war scheme of every UN Secretary General, or every president who wants to be a “War president” once he’s in office? How about insisting that Congress declare war before allowing the president to launch wars upon other nations? Isn’t that why the Founding Fathers placed the power to decide the question of war within the powers delegated by the Constitution to the Congress rather than to the executive branch? Presidents who exceed their constitutional authority are breaking the law- the "Supreme law fo the land" our Constitution.
Then, if Congress deliberates and doesn’t believe a war is justified, we won’t see our soldiers constantly sent into nation after nation by presidents, will we? Wouldn’t that be better for our troops? In how many ways would it be a benefit to our soldiers not to be ordered to participate in unjustified wars? First, they would maintain self respect and wouldn’t feel guilt over being ordered to kill other human beings without a just cause, right? That’s important to our soldiers’ mental health isn’t it, to only ask them to shed blood when there is genuine cause to do so in order to protect the Constitution, American lives, American freedom, and America’s homeland? Another benefit is less deployments away from their families if we were involved in fewer wars, right?
Wouldn’t soldiers also find it beneficial to not be crippled or blinded for some unjust cause, or maybe even killed in a cause that was not our own? Imagine your son or daughter being killed to blow up a nuclear facility in Iran when Iran is not threatening America and has no ability at present to deliver a nuclear device to American soil, how would you feel about your child’s supreme sacrifice? Would you feel it was justified or would you feel that your president had wasted your child’s life upon some UN-mission in pursuit of global empire? Wouldn't we be better off to take our example from Switzerland a country that doesn't engage in UN wars?
Maybe, if one actually supports the troops and not the myriad of wars America has been engaged it, the real way to show support for those troops is to speak out to keep them from being misused and wasted in yet another war as “global policemen” for the United Nations or for the UN’s regional arrangement- NATO. What do you think? It may not be popular to oppose a war because you want to stand on principles of justice, mercy, and constitutional legality, but it may be the truest method of showing genuine support for our soldiers, sailors, and airmen.
Let me end by recommending a book to all concerned Americans. The book was mentioned before in this article. It is CHANGING COMMANDS-THE BETRAYAL OF AMERICA'S MILITARY," by John F. McManus. You can find it at www.shopjbs.org or probably as a used book online. I hope you'll read the book to gain an understanding of how and why our troops are so often misused in support of power-politics and the goals of Internationalists rather than as a defense for America. I say, "Bring our troops home to defend America, quit involving them in military adventures abroad as global cops, and get US out of the United Nations."
Hold a BS degree from USU with a double major and an Associates degree from UVU. Works in political education field.
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