Support the Troops?

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by Eric Peters EricPetersAutos.com

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I’d like to – and would – if “the troops” were actually defending “our freedoms” – rather than stomping the freedoms of people across the globe. Us included, I hasten to add. Because you can’t expect “the troops” who brutalize people abroad to not come home and abuse the people here. The mindset – and the precedents set – cannot be compartmentalized. Brutality – contempt for other human beings – cannot be turned off and on. The transformation of Andy Griffith into Officer 82nd Airborne is no random happenstance.

It has happened for a reason.

The casual bloodlust of the average American – safely cocooned in front of his TeeVee (probably watching fuuuuuuhhhhhhhtttttball) also has consequences. Osama was right. You send troops to other people’s countries, topple their leaders, drop bombs on them from afar. It tends to annoy those people. Some will try to hit back. We call it “terrorism.” Just as the British of King George III’s era called the insurrectionist colonists who dared to fight back “terrorists.” Just as Reinhard Heydrich’s SD thugs called the partisans in the occupied east a few generations later. Just as we – “we” being the comfortable couch potatoes watching “the game” – call anyone who dares object to the American Imperium – and its imperial storm troopers.

No one wants to hear this, of course.

The troops are “fightin’ fer freedom,” god bless ‘em. Just exactly as the legions of the Wehrmacht had belt buckles stamped Gott mit uns – and fought for freiheit, too. Or so they were told.

As we are told today.

The problem is one of separating sympathy for the idealistic kid from StumpJump, West Virginia from revulsion at what the kid from StumpJump, West Virginia, will do in my name. With my tax dollars.

I don’t want the kid to have his legs blown off. But I also do not want him to blow the legs off people in far-away lands who have done me no wrong – and done the kid no wrong, either. When he does so anyhow – I am complicit. As are we all. Because we cheer – and we pay. We “support the troops” – by paying the taxes that make it possible for the troops to do their thing. Such as this thing, for instance.

At the very least, we can have the good manners not to cheer. We might even try objecting. Or perhaps at the very least, questioning.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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