Not too long ago I created a bumper sticker:
The point I was trying to make is now back in the news. It turns out that NPR’s Bob Sommer isn’t the only lefty who’s feeling prickly about yellow ribbons and “Support The Troops” stickers. UMass student Thomas Naughton’s self-described guilt spurs him to tear yellow “Support The Troops” ribbons from other people’s cars, as he explains in his The Daily Collegian column:
Guilt can only weigh on a person’s mind for so long before they crave the act of purgation; to get the weighty feelings of shame and responsibility out of the mind — or at least the guilty parties attempt to find some kind of peace if they cannot rid themselves of a screaming conscience that implicates and indicts its possessor.
That said, perhaps some readers will understand why my friends and I rip yellow ribbon “support the troops” magnets off of cars or wherever people have affixed them. By ripping off these ribbons, we find a way to deal with our guilt, as though with each ribbon swiped we take back a life that was taken by this senseless war started by our senseless president and those who support him.
I will never say, “support the troops.” I don’t believe in the validity of that statement. People say, “I don’t support the war, I support the troops” as though you can actually separate the two. You cannot; the troops are a part of the war, they have become the war and there is no valid dissection of the two. Other people shout with glaring eyes that we should give up our politics, give up our political affiliations in favor of “just supporting the troops.” I wish everything were that easy.
We say, “support the troops” so that we won’t feel guilty about saying “no” to war. We reason that if we say that we support the troops, somehow we aren’t monsters for not saying a word when the death tolls of U.S. soldiers climbed above 1,000. Those ribbons are yellow for a reason, they are not the mark of armed forces support, they are the mark of cowards.
Pundits on the radio advise their cowardly listeners to approach men and women in army uniforms and say “thank you.” I cannot do that. Every time I pass a person in uniform I look long and hard at them and all I can think inside to say is “I’m so sorry.” I want to apologize to them, to their families and to their friends. I feel sorry that we, the people, couldn’t control our own government at the outset of this conflict when most of us knew deep inside that it was a mistake.
Where are we now? Are we in a better place? Is the world safer for democracy? No, it is not safer and we are not in a better place. In this war that we are fighting to somehow avenge the deaths of the Sept. 11 tragedy, we have amassed a field of body bags, the number of which almost matches the number killed in the terrorist attacks four years ago.
Naughton’s column caught Michael Medved‘s attention today, and his invitation to Naughton to come on the air has so far gone unanswered. No big surprise there.
When I created my bumper sticker I pointed out the same brand of self-serving lefty illogic that Naughton chews on. Though he and I come down on opposite sides in the debate over the war (not to mention respect for property rights), we both understand that in this war it’s not possible to meaningfully support the troops while also believing that the troops are engaged in a criminal military adventure.
My recommendation? Get two stickers and give one to a liberal relative or friend.
Marine Corps Moms
Angry in the Great White North
This Untamed Fire Of Freedom
Clear and Present
Joobo the King of Wisdom
A Word From The Right
A Logical Voice (agrees with Naughton)
Here’s the Budweiser Super Bowl ad thanking the troops. Amen.
How can our Border Patrol agents secure our increasingly violent frontiers with less funding? They sure can’t look to the Army or Marine Corps for help.
Well, at least we can be happy that Congressman Chris Cannon’s no longer on the House Subcommittee on Immigration, so that’s one less open borders fan gumming up the works. And there’s always public support for border enforcement … just ask the University of North Texas students who created “Capture An Illegal Immigrant Day” (are you following all this, Matt?).
The Weekly Standard just published a bipartisan open letter urging an increase in the Army and Marine Corps. An excerpt:
The United States military is too small for the responsibilities we are asking it to assume. Those responsibilities are real and important. They are not going away. The United States will not and should not become less engaged in the world in the years to come. But our national security, global peace and stability, and the defense and promotion of freedom in the post-9/11 world require a larger military force than we have today. The administration has unfortunately resisted increasing our ground forces to the size needed to meet today’s (and tomorrow’s) missions and challenges.
So we write to ask you and your colleagues in the legislative branch to take the steps necessary to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps. While estimates vary about just how large an increase is required, and Congress will make its own determination as to size and structure, it is our judgment that we should aim for an increase in the active duty Army and Marine Corps, together, of at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years. There is abundant evidence that the demands of the ongoing missions in the greater Middle East, along with our continuing defense and alliance commitments elsewhere in the world, are close to exhausting current U.S. ground forces. For example, just late last month, Lieutenant General James Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, reported that “overuse” in Iraq and Afghanistan could be
leading to a “broken force.” Yet after almost two years in Iraq and almost three years in Afghanistan, it should be evident that our engagement in the greater Middle East is truly, in Condoleezza Rice’s term, a “generational commitment.” The only way to fulfill the military aspect of this commitment is by increasing the size of the force available to our civilian leadership.
The administration has been reluctant to adapt to this new reality. We understand the dangers of continued federal deficits, and the fiscal difficulty of increasing the number of troops. But the defense of the United States is the first priority of the government. This nation can afford a robust defense posture along with a strong fiscal posture. And we can afford both the necessary number of ground troops and what is needed for transformation of the military.
In sum: We can afford the military we need. As a nation, we are spending a smaller percentage of our GDP on the military than at any time during the Cold War. We do not propose returning to a Cold War-size or shape force structure. We do insist that we act responsibly to create the military we need to fight the war on terror and fulfill our other responsibilities around the world.
Makes sense to me. But hey, what do I know? I was in the Coast Guard.
Every time I argue with some liberal who whines about the war in Iraq, they always feel compelled to mouth platitudes about supporting the troops no matter what. But after hundreds of incidents like this one, I have a reply.
I just created my own support-the-troops bumper sticker, which you can have for yourself by clicking on the image below.
Buy two and give one to a liberal relative or friend.
UPDATE: I knew it would hit a nerve. Check the comments here.
TigerHawk has video footage of an airstrike on a bunch of terrorists trying to surround our Marines in Fallujah. If youu’re an overzealous Muj in the open, twin 500-pounders sure can ruin your day.
I saw this photograph earlier today on USAToday.com …
… and I realized that there’s no way I could imagine how good these guys must have felt to sleep on a mattress with a pillow. Then I read an e-mail sent to Rich Lowry at National Review Online:
I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle began. He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I’ve yet to see a report in the media of this. Imagine that.
Additionally, he said their spirits are high, but they would certainly appreciate any “care packages” that folks in the States would care to send their way (preferably consisting of non-perishable food items, candy, deodorant, eye-drops, q-tips, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lip balm, hand/feet warmers, black/dark undershirts, underwear & socks, and non-aerosol bug spray).
Amazing. If you want to send stuff to the troops, click here.
I’m thankful for every single one of our troops. Godspeed, folks.
Backcountry Conservative has an exclusive look at an Iraqi SWAT recruiting poster, and links to a story about the Force Recon Marines training the Iraqis as very effective shock troops.
The Arabic script translates as “Iraqi SWAT.” Go get ’em, fellas.
King Abdullah II of Jordan has offered Jordanian troop support to Iraq:
“If the Iraqis ask us for help directly it will be very difficult for us to say no…Our message to the president or the prime minister [of Iraq] is: Tell us what you want. Tell us how we can help, and you have 110 percent support from us.”
Bravo, sir. And please watch your back.
Hat tip: Terrorism Unveiled