I don't support the troops. Let me just get that out there. For years I have been saying things like, "I don't support the war but I support the troops," hedging my argument so as not to sound like some kind of "un-patriot". But now I am admitting to GT and to myself that I don't. As a pacifist, I support the individual men and women that make up our armed forces as men and women, but I cannot support them as an organized whole because their intrinsic purpose is anathema to what I believe in.
I think that celebrating and venerating them is problematic at best. For some reason it is easy for us to look at other countries and see the damage that extreme nationalism can do to a state and its people, but of course nothing like that could happen here, we are just patriotic. It's completely different when we do it. And if you don't agree with us you must be a socialist muslim (as if that is somehow a bad thing). You are not allowed to question the military in this county without being dismissed as disrespectful or unpatriotic. That alone should tip you off that something is wrong.
We have repeatedly questioned what it is about our military that causes such high rates of sexual assault. Why are so many women (and men) being raped by their fellow soldiers? And no one thinks it has to do with the way we put veterans on a pedestal as untouchable heroes, despite the dark things we ask them to do? We teach them violence, sanction violence against our enemies, and then we are surprised when they commit more violence.
Even if you do support the troops or the war, you have to see how our jingoism is damaging our country, and the rest of the world with it. I'm sorry if I have offended anyone, I just needed to finally admit some of this stuff to myself.