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Surprising gold in an anti-war screed
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, March 13, 2008

A lot of people are calling Kenneth Thiesen all sorts of names for an op/ed piece he had in the Berkeley Daily Planet a couple of days ago entitled "Why I Don’t Support the Troops".

Ed Morrissey calls him "low hanging [anti-war] fruit." I mostly agree.

How do you get excited over this sort of boilerplate dreck:
We need to expose that those in the U.S. military are trained to be part of a “killing machine.” While not every member of the military is an individual murderer, they are all part of a system that commits war crimes, including aggressive wars, massacres, rape, and other crimes against humanity, all in the service of U.S. imperialism.
It's hardly worth the effort to rebut, refute or even just poke fun at. I mean, I must have missed the rape, massacre, "committing war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" training we all apparently undergo, etc., etc.

Nah, not worth it.

But he stumbles into an interesting point. I credit that fact to the "blind pig/acorn" school of thought that says even the most addled will at times say something worth listening too at least once.
“Support for the troops” has become political cover to support the wars. In Congress, many of those who claim they oppose the wars, use “support of the troops” to vote for hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the wars. These politicians are political opportunists, but there are also people who genuinely oppose the war, but who also say “I support the troops.”

But to decide whether U.S. troops deserve support you must analyze what they actually do in countries occupied by the U.S. The wars these troops are engaged in have the goal of maintaining and extending U.S. hegemony throughout the world. They are unjust, illegal, and immoral wars. Can you support the troops in these wars? Why is this any different from a German in World War II saying, “I oppose the wars launched by Hitler, but I support the troops of the German army which are making these wars possible.” When the Marines in Haditha massacred Iraqis, including women and children, would it have been correct to say I supported the Marines who killed those people, but not the massacre? This would be ridiculous, but no more so than supporting the troops engaged in the war that made the Haditha massacre possible in the first place.
Now be clear here, I don't support or agree with his implication that US troops are like Nazis, don't find his claim that US troops abroad support US hegemony and, having followed the revelations about Haditha, know there was no massacre.

But much of the anti-war crowd does.

His point, then, is to ask those who believe like him or are at least against the war, precisely the same question I've been asking for the past 5 years: how do you separate the warrior from the war, since without the warrior, there is no war? How can you separate the necessary means for fighting the war from your desire to end the war completely and say you support that means?

It would seem logical that the way to end the war would be to remove the warriors and the fastest way to do that is to not support them.

He seems to understand not only the question for the anti-war side but the only honest answer.
 
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But to decide whether U.S. troops deserve support you must analyze what they actually do in countries occupied by the U.S.
He does stumble across an interesting point. Wouldn’t this go both ways? Given that those among us who aren’t rabidly inventing fantasies about military sanctioned rape see the American armed forces as doing quite an amazing amount of good in the countries we currently ’occupy’, silly things like saving civilian lives and rebuilding entire country’s infrastructure, would it stand to reason by his argument that there truly is a required correlation between supporting the troops and supporting the mission?

*gasp* Did a nutter butter just have a plausible hypothesis despite his best efforts?
 
Written By: NeoconNews.com
URL: http://www.neoconnews.com
I mean, I must have missed the rape, massacre, "committing war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" training we all apparently undergo, etc., etc.
That’s because you’re an old man. It was part of my Phase III testing in 11B OSUT in 1993. My battle buddy was a first-time no-go for missing a "little brown person" target during the weapons qual.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Umm... how about this for an analogy of "I support the troops but not the war":

I support your right to own a gun (the military), but I don’t support your using it to rob a bank (this war). Guns are fine for self defense if you (the US) are attacked, and I support their existence and agree they should be well maintained.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
In case anyone has an unprogrammed JDAM, the coordinates are 37° 53’ 35.46" N, 122° 17’ 21.89" W, Elevation 85.3’.

BTW, Berkeley CA, for all their false charges of criminal activity, should look inward. Their violent crime is 148% of the national average; property crime, 188%. These numbers would be higher if they did not have 13.4% Asians who are crime free.
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
I support your right to own a gun (the military), but I don’t support your using it to rob a bank (this war). Guns are fine for self defense if you (the US) are attacked, and I support their existence and agree they should be well maintained.
Nope. Troops aren’t an inanimate object which has no say in how it is used.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
That’s because you’re an old man. It was part of my Phase III testing in 11B OSUT in 1993. My battle buddy was a first-time no-go for missing a "little brown person" target during the weapons qual.
No way. We supposedly set the standard for rape, massacre, crimes against humanity and war crimes if you believe John Kerry.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Actually it’s easy to "support the troops" and oppose the war. But the best way of doing that is not to defund them or otherwise—it’s to get rid of those who command them currently and don’t understand that the longer we maintain a military presence in Iraq, the harder it is to win the war with the jihadis.


Supporting the troops is really a euphemism for not treating the troops like they were treated during Vietnam—it’s recognizing that the flaws, faults, and immoralities of the war are by and large the responsibility of the administration in Washington (that is, we shouldn’t even be there), and that the soldiers in the field are, with few exceptions (such as the folks at Abu Ghraib and Scott Beauchamp) people with high ethical standards and high motivation trying to do the job given them by their superiors.

The Code Pinkos are of course, like Mr. Theisen, not sharers of that opinion, and his logic applies to them. My version also does not apply to the folks in Congress, either, who seem to want to use the phrase as a cover for having it both ways. But to most of the people in the country who oppose the war my version does apply. Nor does it apply to that very large group of people who think we should not be fighting in Iraq but that we should be fighting in Afghanistan (me, for one).
 
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://
I must have missed the rape, massacre, "committing war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" training
You guys never had hollywood movies at the base movie theater?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://

I support your right to own a gun (the military), but I don’t support your using it to rob a bank (this war). Guns are fine for self defense if you (the US) are attacked, and I support their existence and agree they should be well maintained.
If only that analogy worked. Then the price oil wouldn’t be heading towards 4 bucks. The idea of Iraq being used as a bank right now sounds pretty good given what we have sunk into the country.

 
Written By: ODY
URL: http://
Now be clear here, I don’t support or agree with his implication that US troops are like Nazis,...

That’s not his implication at all. He’s saying that US troops are comparable to German troops, the majority of whom weren’t Nazis or war criminals, just men who loved their country and fought to defend it after having been force-fed specious claims that their nation was surrounded by dangerous enemies. Not dissimilar to the claims made that Iraq had WMD’s, was allied to Al Qaeda and was a looming threat to our security.
 
Written By: Dolf Fenster
URL: http://
No wonder I have "anger issues". I didn’t get my share of rape and pillaging. D***. We grunts always get the mooky end of the stick.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Troops aren’t an inanimate object which has no say in how it is used.
Do you really beleive that McQ? Not inanimate perhaps, but unless they’re ordered to do some pillaging and raping, to which they ought to say no, the troops pretty much have to go fight where they’re told to and how they’re told to. Nicht Wahr? Did "the troops" decide to invade Iraq? The choice to invade and occupy Iraq is the choice I oppose, that choice wasn’t made by the troops. Why then must I not support them in not supporting that choice? What I oppose even more is the choice to wage war in Iraq so very very badly. Again, that wasn’t the troops’ decision, but came from the top of the chain of commnand. Perhaps you believe in the old socialist fantasy of the workers in the army deciding whether or not to fight in capitalist’s battles on a case by case basis, but that’s not the world we live in.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Not inanimate perhaps, but unless they’re ordered to do some pillaging and raping, to which they ought to say no, the troops pretty much have to go fight where they’re told to and how they’re told to. Nicht Wahr?
Nope.

They’re trained to refuse to follow illegal or immoral orders.

So, if they felt what they were doing was either illegal or immoral, then they are supposed to to say no.

Not many have, have they Retief?

So again, we have warriors who apparently find what they are doing both legal and moral. Tell me how you separate supporting them from supporting the war if you hold the war to be either illegal, immoral or both?
Perhaps you believe in the old socialist fantasy of the workers in the army deciding whether or not to fight in capitalist’s battles on a case by case basis, but that’s not the world we live in.
Perhaps you need to lay off the crack a little.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I don’t hold it to be illegal and immoral. I hold it to be stupid and counterproductive. Unfortunately servicemen and women have to follow those kinds of orders, don’t they? What the soldiers and marines and airmen are doing isn’t (mostly) immoral. Wasting their efforts and lives to no good purpose is. Again, that decision is made at the top.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
I don’t hold it to be illegal and immoral. I hold it to be stupid and counterproductive.
Good for you. Why should a soldier care about your opinion?

If you have an argument to make about illegality or immorality, I’d bet they’d listen. But emotional drivel claiming what they do to be ’stupid’ isn’t going to win many allies among them.
Unfortunately servicemen and women have to follow those kinds of orders, don’t they?
I think you’ll find the vast majority of them don’t share your opinion. So, as far as they’re concerned, they’re not following those types of orders, are they? And that’s all that really counts in that department. They are willingly carrying out what you find ’stupid’ and ’counterproductive’ and yet you’re going to argue that the instruments of doing that "stupid" and "counterproductive" thing are worthy of support, aren’t you?

Do I have to tell you again how utterly unconvincing that is?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
McQ, are you trying to tell us that in your experience in the military you never got an order you considered stupid or counterproductive? And followed it anyway?
Good for you. Why should a soldier care about your opinion?
Why indeed? I’m not the one who’s suggesting that the soldiers decisions to obey their orders should determine anything about anybody’s support for the war. They have to do their best to do their jobs whether their commanders know, or their commander in chief knows what he’s doing or not.
So, as far as they’re concerned, they’re not following those types of orders, are they? And that’s all that really counts in that department.
No, absolutely not. All that really counts is whether their orders are illegal or immoral; after that, they’re stuck with them. Doing their best in those circumstances, why would they not be worthy of support?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
McQ, are you trying to tell us that in your experience in the military you never got an order you considered stupid or counterproductive? And followed it anyway?
What I may have done has nothing to do with the point of the post. It has to do with your beliefs and support, not mine or theirs.

Let me reset this for you. How does an anti-war type like yourself, who claims to believe the war is stupid and counterproductive, support the instrument of that stupid and counterproductive war, while not supporting the war?

Even the dimmest among them (see Mr. Thiesen) know that no warrior means no war and thus not supporting the warrior is a logical extension of not supporting the war.

Why do you have such difficulty with that concept?
No, absolutely not.
Irrelevant. You can’t hang your framing of the argument around their necks. This isn’t about them - it is about YOUR beliefs.

If you want to argue that since you believe the war to be stupid and counterproductive and you further believe (with no facts to back your belief) that they think it is stupid and counterproductive, and on that basis you’ve rationalized a way to claim to support the troops but not the war, go for it.

But on its face, it’s a laughable argument.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
no warrior means no war and thus not supporting the warrior is a logical extension of not supporting the war.

Why do you have such difficulty with that concept?
Because it is nonsense. First, I’m not looking for "no war", I’m looking for "not this war." This war is not the spontaneous product of warriors’ existence, but the deliberate product of the warriors’ commander.

Having determined that it’s orders are neither illegal nor immoral, and therefore must be obeyed, the instrument of a policy is not the party responsible for that policy. Thus I can oppose the policy while supporting the instrument. Indeed I can oppose this wrongheaded policy while supporting the instrument as absolutely vital and important for the pursuit of other, better policies.

"Love me, Love my mission" may make a nice bumper sticker, but it’s not logic.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Because it is nonsense.
If you claim that to be the case, it obviously isn’t the case.
First, I’m not looking for "no war", I’m looking for "not this war."
Don’t care. Regardless of the war it doesn’t continue without the participation of the warrior.
This war is not the spontaneous product of warriors’ existence, but the deliberate product of the warriors’ commander.
Its extension is only be enabled by the warrior’s continued willing participation, which, apparently, they continue to give.

You seem to have missed the fact that this military is enjoying the highest reenlistment rate that any military engaged in combat has ever had.

Do you think they don’t know what that entails?

How do you square that with your dumb "they probably think it is stupid and counterproductive too" meme? Afterall, that’s your justification for saying you support the troops but not the war, isn’t it?
"Love me, Love my mission" may make a nice bumper sticker, but it’s not logic.
Well it is to all but the illogical. Look, as mentioned, even Thiesen has figured this out. Why you’re unable to do so as well is becoming less and less of a mystery as this conversation goes on.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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