Support the troops, question the administration

“Support our troops” seems to be the battle cry from those in power these days. Not support our President, not support this war, but support our troops.

Unfortunately, this insidious bit of propaganda lends tacit support to the actions of President Bush and his ruling coterie.

After all, who wouldn’t want to support our troops? These are our sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, friends and parents. However, they are also victims.

They are victims of an evil game of chess, wherein they are pawns moved by the administration without a care.

It is not the ruling class that will risk their lives to reap these profits. I believe N.Y. Rep. Charles Rangel in his assessment of the military, stating that “a disproportionate number of the poor, and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while the most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent.”

Evidence for this disparity can be seen frequently in advertisements featured in magazines and on television channels targeted to youth.

Enlistment is pitched to young people, promising rewards of college tuition and job training. It is evident to which socio-economic classes military recruitment is geared.

I support the U.S. soldiers. I support them because they are victims, unwittingly placed in harm’s way for an unjust cause

I protest not only because I value the lives of the Iraqis, but because I support our troops.

Now that the United States is actually at war, the inclination is to abandon former feelings about the issue and get behind our soldiers. However, this mindset is dangerous.

Consider this example: a woman feels that war with Iraq would be wrong, mirroring the feelings of a large percentage of people pre-March 20.

This woman feels that sending American soldiers to fight in Iraq would be wrong.

However, the Bush administration, disregarding opposition, both international and domestic, attacks Iraq. Suddenly, social pressure forces this woman to “support our troops.” Now, any sentiment against the war is uncouth, as it will supposedly hurt morale.

Is this really the kind of support our troops need or even want?

Even worse, this kind of mentality gives Bush carte blanche to do whatever he wants, simply by placing the troops in the middle.

Call them human shields against popular dissent.

By exploiting the good names of American soldiers, faux support has been created for war. There have been several misleading surveys offering a “support the troops” choice.

When the surveys were made public by some news media, those who chose this option were counted among those in favor of war.

Also, take the example of these “Rallies for America,” a name which insinuates that the anti-war rallies, a staple of democratic freedom, are not “for America.” One was held recently in Valley Forge, Pa.

To sum up, both our troops and the Iraqis are innocent victims of the power struggles of our respective ruling classes.

The Bush administration has convinced many Americans that the only way to support our troops overseas is to stand behind the decisions of the administration, even if we don’t agree.

I maintain the best way to support the troops is to protest this unjust war, and bring them home safely.

Simply falling in line with Bush, despite feelings that the war is wrong is doing a disservice to our young men and women in the armed forces.