Suppoerting the troops

Turbo Dog:

Generally a Reservist or Guardsman doesn’t rate quarters on base and therefore their family doesn’t have the same access to the military support services that the Active Duty folks do.

Also, it’s insulting to say that the Reservist and the Guard are doing this as a hobby or as just a supplement to their income.

Obviously I support him. And I realize the strenght of our military depends on people like him doing what they are told, not what they feel should be done. That’s the deal he signed up for and he’s proud to do it.
The problem is - in a :rolleyes: representative form of government, any miltary action should ONLY br taken with the informed consent of the governed (or their representatives more specifically).
And you can tell me til you’re blue in the face that the Iraquis are be better off - a worthy goal in any event - but if Bush had gone to congress with that as the rationale, would they have agreed to send troops? Would the pubilc have agreed?
Here, BTW, is my analogy for the shifting rationale used by the administration.
Seal Jr: “Dad, you know the emergency credit card you gave me? I used it to buy tires for the car.”
Seal: “OK, that’s legitimate.”
Seal Jr: "I mean groceries. And tires. Or, 1 tire. Well, I PLAN to buy a tire.
Seal: “WTF?!”

That’s aweful. At work here, we’ve raised a substantial amount of money for phone cards, and we rented a limo for airport pick-up and paid for a gift certificate to a nice restaurant for 5 for a woman and her 3 children who’s husband and father was returning from the Gulf.

And rockle, you’re not alone in your feelings re: the war. That about perfectly sums up my position.

It is the nature of military service that people do what they’re told. With the exception of “illegal orders” (which is really a surprisingly limited concept when you get down to it), soldiers obey. That is their function.

There are currently no draftees in any of the armed forces, so everyone serving has chosen to do so. With that as a given:

Soldiers do not bear the moral responsibility for the things they are ordered to do. That falls to the people who give the orders.

But that sword cuts both ways. In giving up moral responsibility, soldiers lose the status of free actor. In a very real sense, they are highly sophisticated (and extremely expensive) tools being wielded by an external force.

We are not in any way obligated to support the things soldiers are ordered to do to make them feel better about their mission and their actions. Even if they made their own decisions freely, we have no duty to “support” what they do, and this is especially true when they act as part of the larger military organization.

Soldiers perform a very difficult and very necessary role, and they deserve more respect than they get most of the time. But neither do they deserve the role of “hero” that we periodically place them in when we need to feel good about what they do.

As soldiers do not choose their actions, they are not responsible for them. Neither are soldiers are involved when the correctness of those actions are questioned.

It is not disrespectful to the people in the armed forces to question the things they are ordered to do. Since they have voluntarily given up their ability and obligation to make judgments about their orders, it is the highest form of respect to their genuine sacrifice to question everything they are ordered to do.

In short: the constant mantra of “support our troops” has absolutely nothing to do with the troops themselves, and is actually a profound insult to what they stand for. Soldiers cannot question what they are ordered to do, so we must question for them.

Here we go with the patriotically correct bullshit again.

It’s not a question of “not supporting” the kids who are over there. Some of us don’t believe they should have been sent there. Some of us think those kids have been victimized by this administration. Capice?

When those kids enlisted (as I did twenty years ago) they were agreeing to serve their Commander in Chief but there was also an implied trust that their CiC would use that service responsibly and would not place them in harm’s way without just cause. The current administration has shown nothing but contempt for that trust or for the lives of the troops. Bush has lied to his troops about why they had to go to Iraq, lied about when they would return from Iraq and tried to fuck them out of their pay because he already spent their bonuses on tax cuts for his billionaire oil cronies. I think Bush has treated the troops like shit. I think his little stunt in the flight suit was insulting and obvious and I think his behaviour is all the more reprehensible since he. himself, is a wartime deserter.

My dad served during Nam. I know what it’s like to wait at home while a member of the family is half way across the world getting shot at. I was only a little kid but I remember how tough it was on my mom and how every day was permeated with the unspoken knowledge that today could be the day we got a knock on the door.

My mom voted for Nixon because she thought he would stop the war. He escalated it instead and she ended up hating him. She’s never voted Republican again. She was against that war (and so was my dad. but he went) but she was emphatically not against the troops.

Opposing the invasion of Iraq and disliking Bush != hostility towards the troops. Can we put that lie to bed at long last…please?

Oh, and thanks guys for your kind words. Getting to see a lot of the grandkids nowadays so seal jr’s wife can keep working. Support the troops, fine. But we need to Support seal_clubber who is too old to play horsey.

Great post, TVAA. You summed up what I thought better than I could have.

Why, thank you, Aesiron.

TVAA, nice post.

My brother was an active duty Ranger for years, and never saw the kind of combat going on right now. But as an SF part-timer, he is now serving in and around Afghanistan, and he’s gonna be there a while.

Is it a hardship? Yep. Is it killing his relationship with his high-maintenence girlfriend? Yep. Is it making my mom cry? Yep.

Is it a choice he would make again? Yep. He isn’t in it for the money, or the glory. It’s a difficult job that most people can’t or won’t do, and he can and does.

I want him to come home, along with all of his bros. Soon. But I understand that it may not be soon.
PS- as he is a member of the special operations warfare community, I understand that his experiences may be different from others in the armed services.

I agree with everyone here. Every day I have to wake up to more soldiers lost. Im in the Navy and it hits real close to home. Every fucking day! Has our “Big Hero” president said anything about what he plans to do about this! No! All I hear is “we got Saddams sons…this should help cut down on attacks” does it…HELL NO! Did this presidency ever stop to think that maybe these “rebels” hate us whether Saddam is alive or not?! Ive really had it! DO SOMETHING…anything. My heart goes out to you Seal_Clubber…it really does. I wish I could do something about this but I cant, and even though America is trying to support our troops nothing will make it any safer till there home. BRING THEM HOME for christ sake. Pardon the spelling but this has been on my chest for months now and I cant stop to check for spelling cause Im way too worked up about this! This has got to be the biggest mistake my country has made in my lifetime. Something must be done.

Excellent post, TVAA. Too many people think that “Support the troops” is synonymous with “Support the orders given to the troops.” It is not.

I am with him but note that he is talking in general terms and not especifically about the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Your country should not come before what is right: humanity, decency, ethics, morals, and you should only support your country as long as your country represents those values. Germans who fought against the evil that the Nazis represented did the right thing. if your country has taken the side of evil it is your moral obligation to fight against your country. we are humanity before we belong to any nationality. Right comes before my country. Every time.

You think you have the stones to kill your neighbor, or your dad, or your sister, or your son/daughter, sailor? If so, then have at it, because that’s what it takes to be able to have a position such as that, the knowledge that just because you don’t agree with their orders you would be willing to see them die, or even actively assist in their deaths.

If you can seriously say yes to that, then you’re a piece of garbage as far as I am concerned.

No, I would not help my father torture someone. No, I would not help my brother rape someone. Right comes before country and before family and those who put country before right belong to the same class of people as those Nazis who killed Jews or those Japanese who committed the rape of Nanking. Maybe you belong to that class. I don’t. I know right from wrong.

On the facade of the Hotel Inglaterra, in Havana, there is a plaque which commemorates an event which took place over 100 years ago. In the revolutionatry climate of the late 19th century, some students were sentenced to death (the reason I do not know as the plaque does not say). The young officer in charge of the squad which was to carry out the sentence refused to obey orders and refused to carry out the sentence saying “before my country come humanity and justice”. He was court-matialed and expelled from the army but he always said he did not regret what he did as he thought it was the right thing. His name was Nicolás Estévanez (1838-1914), his only punishment was to be discharged and he later became a successful politician, a representative in the Congress and a minister in the government.

It seems 100 years ago some people were more understanding and tolerant than some fanatics today. The world needs more people like him and more cultures who can understand people like him. And we definitely need fewer fanatics who would do anything, no matter how evil, if they were told to do it.

“Wow Ma! Look at this! A time portal to December of 2000!”

The American people have yet to elect a president. I find it funny that some people decry Bush’s stupidity and yet persist in stupidities of their own.

Turbo Dog, reservists and Guardsmen have it harder than active-duty servicemembers. Reservists and Guardsmen are expected to literally drop everything on very short notice and leave their jobs and families for who knows how long. They’re expected to shoulder a drastic pay cut and benefits for the duration of their deployment, and while there are federal and state laws protecting them, there’s no guarantee they’ll come back to the same jobs they had when they left. Some employers are not particularly tolerant of their employees’ absences for duty and make it damn difficult. What’s more, as others have said, the level of support their families receive is nil. Many reserve and Guard families don’t live near military bases and don’t have access to the kinds of support active units take for granted.

Look. I’ve been active military, and I know that’s a hard life. I’m not trying to minimize that. But put yourself into the shoes of a Guardsman. You have duty for one weekend a month, and two weeks a year, or so the commercials say. The pay for that weekend isn’t much, certainly not enough to count as “income supplementation”. There are no benefits, save commissary and exchange privileges on duty weekends and free college tuition for the Guardsman. (The only education break family members receive is that they’re classified as state residents for tuition purposes, but it’s meaningless when you consider that most have already met the requirement.) Occasionally, there is travel required for training that falls outside the regular weekend. If it’s a hobby, it’s a hobby that demands a lot of time and effort and understanding.

In short, TD, you are cordially invited to bite every square inch of my ample ass. Come back and talk to me when your statements come out of your mouth and not your ass.


I thought these arguments were dead and buried, but I recently read yet another angry letter to the editor reaming someone’s ass for expressing any objections to the troops being in Iraq. They used that same “How about supporting the troops!” line.

To which I wanted to say a hearty “fuck you.” Frankly, I think a fabulous way to honor the troops is to engage in one of our country’s better freedoms: The ability to grouse about the government without being arrested or harrassed.

At any rate, I know a number of people (Dopers and otherwise) who are being extremely proactive about supporting the troops. We’ve adopted soldiers and are keeping a steady stream of care packages and letters flowing to Iraq. It has nothing to to with my views on the Iraq effort, which are pretty negative. I wonder if Mr. Holier-Than-Thou Letter Writer can claim to have given the same kind of support?

I salute all of you who are giving support in tangible ways. And I applaud those of you who are smart enough to understand that there can be difference between supporting the decisions and decision-making and supporting the individuals who are doing their (increasingly difficult) jobs.

Well said Seal Clubber, I wish most Conservatives would relize the difference between supporting our troops and supporting the War with Iraq.

Active duty wife here. ** Robin** honey, you are full of shit. I could accept it if you said they had a hard time but trying to claim they have it harder? I admit my husband has an easy job in the ARMY, he’s a food inspector and he’s needed here so he probably won’t be going anywhere. There are 32 other families on my street that aren’t so lucky. I talk to wives every day whose husbands are gone, actually on my street alone there is only one other husband still here and that’s because his wife is deaf. These wives have no magical support group that you seem to feel you are being denied, they have the same support measures you have. Got a problem, call a chaplain or call Red Cross.

All the “extras” we have? Hmm, let’s see, the commissaries are stocking less food, the recreational facilities are closing because they can’t make as much money, housing has cut down on it’s staff so if you have a water leak in the middle of the night you still have to wait up to 48 hours before someone can help you, CDC is cutting it’s hours because so many people staff and families alike have left that they can’t afford to stay open and we have Reservists “guarding” the post and they don’t know what the hell is going on. It’s a choice you make, sure you can pack up and go home to Mama until all this shit has blown over or you can shut up and just deal with what’s going on. Oh yeah, we do get medical, can’t forget that. The hospital staff has been cut down so now if you call for an appointment now you can be seen in October. Golly, we active duty wives are blessed.

The main point is, both active and Reservist had no notice, left their families for who knows how long and are doing what they feel is right. The Reservist around here have it pretty easy, they get to call their wives nightly, their famlies get to come up to visit them and they just have to stand around at the gates making sure no one comes in without an ID. The active duty wives think they have things easy now, they know their husbands may be home by April and they at least get a phone call a month. It’s more than they were getting.

Any wife of a man with military ties knows her husband may get deployed or just sent somewhere else for “training”. Doesn’t matter if she’s married to an active duty man or a Reservist. We deal with the house, the kids and our lives the best we can. If he’s willing to give his life for his country the least we can do is support him with dignity. You want to support the troops? Vote for pay raises for the military so we aren’t below poverty level. Want to whine about how hard it is? Don’t stand next to me because I have a father and brother-in-law over there and I don’t want them home until the job is done. I don’t want them to ever have to go back over there. Ask the 32 wives on my street, they all feel the same way.