May 30, 2007
I'm So Sick and Tired of the "Support Our Troops" Mantra I Could Eat My Internal Organs
And More Happy, Happy Days as the Dems Fold Again
by Warren Pease (an obvious pseudonym designed to foil nosy Google searchers)
Support our troops. It’s the only rallying cry left. It’s the dirty, shredded little yellow ribbons and tattered flags that used to mean nationalistic pride and now nobody’s really up to replacing them and, since it’s impossible to agree on much of anything about the Iraq invasion, occupation and subsequent unmitigated disaster, we’re all supposed to at least agree to “support our troops.”
And of course it was invoked yet again by our Democratic "leadership" the other day as they caved in their customary ignominious fashion. Hell, they're only the majority party; what could they possibly do? But I've got bigger issues on my mind today.
Personally, I don't support the troops; never have; don’t have the flag-waver gene.
The few drops of residual patriotism I had left from childhood have long since evaporated, victims of decades of watching the ruling class do its perpetual hatchet job on the rest of world, with the gleeful and well-paid assistance of whomever's in political power, using the US military and its black ops zealots to fight proxy wars solely to expand corporate America's bottom line -- over and over and over again, from Indonesia to Iran; from Chile to Greece; from Nicaragua to Grenada.
The list of US meddling in other countries’ affairs is depressingly long and shares one consistent attribute: In all cases, the US has intervened against national liberation movements that advocate land reform, reestablishment of public services, reversing the damage wrought by the IMF and World Bank "privatization" sledgehammer, redistributing elites’ wealth and nationalizing their conglomerates and/or land holdings, and so on toward a more humanitarian and egalitarian era. But Uncle Sam has other priorities.
Rather than siding -- even once -- with the good guys, the US always comes down on the side of bloody dictatorships with a predictable record of murder, torture and "disappearing" members of the opposition, and who embrace the kind of rapacious capitalism that's the organizing economic principle in the continual transfer of the lower 95 percent’s rapidly dwindling wealth to the numbered accounts of the upper 5 percent. That’s what “our troops” do when they’re not otherwise busy committing genocide in the Middle East.
To the raging murderous madmen running this administration, the "troops" are just interchangeable killing machines whose sole purpose is spreading terror and carnage throughout yet another country of little brown people with the rotten luck to be sitting atop America’s oil -- and which offers a good chance of rapid conquest, since we have no stomach for a fair fight.
The Lancet reported last week a study of the arithmetic of mass slaughter that suggests about 655,000 Iraqis have been murdered by "our troops" in any of dozens of grisly ways -- lined up and executed, bombed to pieces, "accidentally" wiped out at some wedding party or farmers market, slaughtered by grenades or surface to surface hand-held rockets, crushed under demolished buildings (with schools and hospitals favored targets), randomly shot on their way to or from work (what little work is left in a ruined country with almost no functioning infrastructure) or, perhaps saddest of all, executed because they're of the wrong Islamic sect, victims of a sectarian and class war "our troops" unleashed and will continue while hundreds of thousands more die because one idiot's version of Allah is said to be better than some other idiot's version. For five years and counting, the presence of “our troops” has been unrelentingly disastrous for the former country of Iraq, now a bombed-out moonscape of craters and ancient ruins, with no room left to even bury all the bodies.
And we're not talking about some little jerkwater country with no real identity or reason for continued existence. We're talking about the Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of writing, where plants and animals were first domesticated and where farming first competed with and then replaced the hunter-gatherer model. From there, this "package" of domesticated grains and herd animals spread east and west, changing the way people obtained food, creating food surpluses through agriculture, which then allowed the growth of non-food producing classes like scribes and artisans and, unfortunately, a warrior class -- modern US representatives of which stood by and watched as rioters looted or destroyed irreplaceable artifacts dating back more than 8,000 years, some of the oldest human creations anywhere in the world.
The ancient Mesopotamians probably had debates about "supporting the troops" back then, some resenting the fact that the warrior class spent its time sharpening spears and pikes while most of the rest of organized society did the back-breaking work that produced food for the spear-sharpeners. But as usual, you can imagine the right wingers winning the debate by manufacturing some external threat that, if left unchecked, would overrun their (town, hamlet, village, agrarian community, etc.) and eliminate their cherished freedoms, commit murder and mayhem, rape their women and steal their animals, and generally turn the cradle of civilization into just another sorry disorganized large-scale slum.
But back to the theme: This stuff doesn't happen in a vacuum. The primary, and perhaps only, objective of American foreign policy since the late 18th century has been to negotiate diplomatic solutions to issues of tariffs, trade, border disputes, preservation of peace (or temporary lack of war) -- with the advancement of US business interests always, always, always the only real objective of US diplomats, and with the US military ready and willing to act as the enforcement arm of the US corporate agenda -- the hired muscle coming in from the Jersey side.
And that works some of the time, although there's a huge difference between deploying troops as a final, desperate measure and gleefully shipping them around the world to whatever flashpoint happens to need a little more fuel so it can erupt into the traditional mass murder crime scene we've all come to equate with the end game of American foreign policy.
But "our troops" aren't innocents. They're not particularly stupid; rather, they're representative of the range of intelligence and political awareness found in the general population. They are poorer than the US average for adult men in their age range, which makes them more susceptible to promises of economic betterment through the practice of socially sanctioned murder. And they're far more gung ho than the average American. They tend to believe that "Army of One" crap, as well as the ads for technical skills training.
They also tend to believe the doctrinal American creation myth, which ignores the mass slaughter of native peoples, minimizes the effects of slavery on the slaves, justifies vicious expansionism with the phrase "Manifest Destiny," and, most importantly, hides the naked aggression with which US imperialism deals with the rest of the world behind positive though nonsensical concepts like "spreading freedom," "exporting the American dream," "preventing the spread of (insert current despised social system here)" and "making the world safe for democracy."
And who gets to do all this spreading and exporting that our bottomless arrogance tells us the world is salivating for? The troops we're supposed to be supporting.
Somebody has to pull the trigger, align the bomb sites, push the button, rotate the tank turret, hide the Semtex, ambush the wedding party, fuel the jets, chauffer the latest four-star yes-man, maneuver the Blackhawks into position for the kill, and generally try to screw up anything they can get their hands around or weapons sights locked on.
Somebody's got to keep volunteering to keep doing BushCo's killing for them. Somebody's got to sign the paperwork and step across that line so some cheese-ball recruiter can get his bonus. Somebody's got to disable their conscience long enough for one more amoral trip to the killing fields. Somebody's got to scream "SIR, YES SIR" when another demented drill sergeant questions the shine of their boots or the maintenance of their weapon.
Without "our troops," BushCo's adventuring would be impossible. Without "our troops," BushCo would have to farm the whole thing out to Blackwater.
They used to say, "It's not just a job; it's an adventure." Well, it's not an adventure, either. The job description of any member of the US military anywhere in the world is, simply: "Kill or be killed at the whim of The Commander Guy." Any nonsense about building character or preparation for life in the technical world -- just lying hogwash designed to lure more suckers into the gears of the world's most grisly mass murder machine.
And here’s the really sick thing: the higher the US body count, the faster the Iraq disaster will end. War must have serious real-world consequences if it's to penetrate the slack-jawed narcolepsy of TV-ravaged Americans. Flag-draped coffins – or “transfer tubes,” as the Department of Official Bubbly Happy Talk has dubbed them -- tend to do that job rather well.
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