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The battle over words

Posted by Lissa on March 11, 2009

Is it actually possible to be against the war in Iraq but to support the troops?  At the same time?

Mike and I had an interesting discussion on that over the weekend;I’d like y’all’s opinion.

My contention is that, while most people who say that probably don’t mean it — it’s a sop to the idea that they should  support the troops, without any actions or belief behind it — it IS possible to mean it. 

I used as my example a friend of ours, Patricia (not her real name).  To the best of my knowledge, she does NOT support the war in Iraq or the war on terror in general.  However, at the same time, she uses her own money and time to send care packages to the troops on a regular basis.  She makes a serious effort to provide them with whatever comforts, first aid packages, entertainment etc. she can manage.  I think she has every right to say “I am against the war but I support the troops” — her actions clearly prove the latter part of the sentence.

Mike disagrees.  He feels the statement “Against the War / For the Troops” has been politically corrupted beyond repair; that anyone who really does support the troops, rather than just paying lip service, needs to add clarification in order to be a truthful statement.  He argued that while “I’m against the war but I support our troops” spoken by a person like Patricia might be an actual fact, it’s not truthful.  Knowing how that statement is perceived nowadays as a trite, empty slogan, he feels like unless Patricia clarifies her position — “No, I really do support the troops and here’s all my actions to prove it” — there is a failure of communication.  (Fair warning – I will update this section if Mike wants to phrase his position in his own words.)

So, what do you think?

P.S. There is some conjecture on our part, because Patricia doesn’t advertise her position on the war nor her support for our folks stationed over there.  In fact, if she stumbles across this post, she’s probably going to kick my *ss for over-sharing.   So please vote and make my future butt-whooping worthwhile!

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7 Responses to “The battle over words”

  1. secretlivesofscientists said

    I think Patricia* does indeed support the troops, as is shown by her actions. The statement, “against the war/for the troops” has been politically corrupted, but none-the-less, Patricia doesn’t need to justify her position if she doesn’t want to. It isn’t really clarification.

  2. totwtytr said

    The only way to support the troops is to support the mission. I’m old enough to remember when during the 1960s and 1970s the “I support the troops” gang demonstrated this by spitting on uniformed military personnel, calling them baby killers, and calling for them to be tried for war crimes.

    Sorry, but the very statement connotes that the person supports NEITHER the mission nor the troops.

    Patricia is merely the exception that proves the rule.

  3. Ted said

    I can see the argument for “Win or out” as still supporting the troops. As far as the War in Iraq, I don’t see a viable alternative to going in and winning, but would be willing to listen to arguments.

    Unfortunately, most of the arguments I’ve heard are more or less from John Lennon’s “Imagine” …

    :-/

  4. 19D John said

    When a person says this, they are implying that they have the authority to make this judgement. If they are against the war, can they support people who CHOSE to go fight it? For them to believe that they can judge the war as wrong implies that anyone who supports it is either morally or intellectually deficient.

    Is it possible for a person who thinks I am either dim, evil, or both to support me? Yes – bet their support is based on pity for me because of my ignorance. I would rather not have their support.

    Scouts Out,
    John

  5. Brad K. said

    “Support the troops” is a general statement. Expressing gratitude, hope for their safety and well being is well and good.

    Patricia, by selecting the troops she supports, unlike general support like paying taxes or donating to the United Service Organizations (USO), supports the *mission* the troops are assigned to. That is, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

    Calling a rose by the name “alfred” doesn’t change the nature of the rose. Selecting troops assigned to the war to support selects the mission they are on.

    Sending care packages to people from your community, stationed in Iraq or nearby, is great. You express support for that person. But what about others from that same family or community, that might be in uniform – Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps – but stationed somewhere else. If you aren’t supporting each, regardless of mission or organization, then – voiler! – you are supporting the war in Iraq.

    You support the war in Iraq, with care packages (and, please, *do* send them – they can mean life and death to recipients, quite literally, and you may save several lives with each sending. Anything that improves morale – like contact from the outside – is a life-saver.). You support the war by making the soldiers more effective, by reducing casualties.

    This is an indirect support, unlike encouraging Congress and the President to directly support the effort with munitions, with pay, with the infrastructure that supports and maintains the mission. Yet it is support for the mission, an important part.

    In order to oppose the armed efforts in Iraq and nearby areas, you would be contacting Congressmen and Senators, organizing protests, hampering those supplying materials and sending troops to the area. But please be careful – most ways you can disrupt the war will place our troops at greater risk from armed opponents, from faulty equipment and faulty communications.

    Sorry, Patricia. Support is what you do, not what you say or deny. Opposition, likewise, is in what you do.

    Thanks for supporting our troops.

  6. Eriko said

    I am much like Patricia in that I have bought packs via Soldiers Angels and also given then as gifts. I do not think we had a good reason to go back into Iraq this time but that President Bush the first should have cleaned up his own mess when he was in office and in Iraq. I do think that we should be in Afghanistan although we should be billing the Russians and British for the cleanup.

    Brad K. makes a really good point though actions supporting remote military personnel is good it needs to be followed up with action a home. I do not think that I have done a god job on this part and will have to think about what to do.

  7. Paul in TX said

    Isn’t it odd that Liberals can support the troops but oppose their mission, all the while telling us that we can’t support our country but oppose its current President?

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