Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Troop Support
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Over the last few days I've been thinking a lot about the "support the troops" attitude of many people, businesses, etc.

To me, this seems like a big cop-out for those who don't want to look unpatriotic. If you don't agree with the government's policies toward war with Iraq, the U.N.'s resolutions, etc., then you can always make yourself look and feel better by saying "I support our troops."

Of course all the troops are following orders and putting themselves in harm's way, and even getting killed and doing the things that troops do in war. However, they are not defending our shores from invasion, and they were not legally required to join the service.

They volunteered to become soldiers and sailors. They volunteered to make themselves pawns of our government. They knew the risks when they signed up. If they willingly put themselves in such a situation, why should those who disagree with the government's policies feel they have to support those who volunteered to carry them out?

Motivations for joining the service vary, of course, from needing a job to a fervent desire for revenge for 9/11 to wanting to see the world to an honest belief that doing so will make the world a better place. All of these are understandable, and may or may not be laudable.

But I'm not convinced that any of these reasons deserves support if the overlying cause does not. Some of those desires could have been turned toward more constructive efforts. War is waste. Making the world a better place doesn't have to start with killing and maiming.

Now, if the military resumed drafting and people joined rather than break the laws of their country because they felt it was their duty to obey them regardless of belief in the cause, I would be more inclined to support such individuals. Certainly if we suffered invasion it would be that way. And of course if I believed it was a just war in the first place then this whole issue wouldn't have arisen.

So... do y'all have any insights into why one should support the troops even in a war one believes is unjust or unnecessary?

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