There are simple, almost knee jerk methods by which the idea of unconditional support for our soldiers during war can be questioned. The easiest involves any variation of this query: Would it have been acceptable for the people of Nazi Germany to support "their boys" even if those same folks did not agree with Hitler's maniacal methods?
I know, you think I'm ignoring the economic factors that "force" young people to join the military. But this is America, not Sierra Leone. Without being facetious, I ask: Does anyone know how many U.S. soldiers enlisted simply for financial reasons? Is it as many as we assume? Are these people completely oblivious to what military men and women are expected to do? But, for the sake of argument, let's accept the unproven premise that the majority of American soldiers sign up due to financial hardship. Instead of slapping a yellow ribbon on our SUV, a better show of "support" would be to fight tooth and nail for fair wages, benefits, health care, etc. Hmm, what color ribbon shall we pick to represent union organizers?
An even better form of support would be to "inform the troops." Imagine if every soldier today knew what U.S. Marine Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler knew back in the 1930s. Calling war "possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, sure the most vicious" racket of all, Butler declared: "It is the only [racket] in which profits are reckoned in dollars and losses in lives." Summing up his career, he said: "I spent 33 years...being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism...I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico ... safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of a half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street."
Don't support our troops...inform them.
Mickey Z. is the author of several books, most recently 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know (Disinformation Books). He can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.