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The Hypocrisy of Opposing the War But Supporting The Troops
by Patrick Bryson
16 April 2003

To oppose the war and support the troops is like saying you oppose someone who planned the bank robbery but support the guy holding the gun.

Actor and career windbag Alec Baldwin recently offered to have all the troops currently fighting in Iraq over to his house for a party after the war ends. It was a curious offer from a man who believes George Bush and Adolph Hitler are ideological soul mates.

Baldwin is hardly the only delusional party-giver to proclaim his love for the troops. Eddie Vedder, lead singer of the group Pearl Jam, impaled a mask of George Bush on a microphone stand and expressed his contempt for the president and his undying love for the troops.

“We’re just confused on how wanting to bring them back safely all of a sudden becomes non-support. We love them,” said Vedder.

His quandary is understandable. Vedder is obviously not a deep thinker and considers no question deeper than wondering aloud where his next episode of groupie sex is coming from.

Baldwin, of course, once offered to leave the country if George Bush were elected. It’s times like this we wish he were a man of his word.

Claiming to oppose the war but support the troops is the height of hypocrisy. Baldwin and Vedder just can’t figure out why.

Modern liberals have tried to separate the troops from the policy of war that sent them to Iraq. The truth is, the two won’t detach. It’s a package deal.

You can trace current concern for the troops back to the Vietnam War. During the war soldiers were seen as partners in President Lyndon Johnson’s crime. Troops were oppressors, baby killers, receptacles for saliva projected from the mouths of peace loving demonstrators.

U.S. soldiers were hated, scoffed at. vilified, and as much the war criminals as those in the Pentagon or the White House. During the Vietnam War nobody who wore a uniform was an innocent.

Then came the historical reconstruction of the 1970s and ‘80s and a social and cultural revolution to change that outlook.

Just as women became viewed as the victims of the patriarchy, and blacks were viewed as the victims of white oppressors, former soldiers became victims of the immoral and unjust thinking of the Johnson and Nixon administrations. They were draftees, cattle in uniforms, shuffled off in confusion to a war zone to be slaughtered. They were as much the victims as the children they supposedly killed and the villages they supposedly burned.

It didn’t matter that many of the Vietnam era soldiers were volunteers, rightfully proud of their service. In the eyes of liberals, solders became victims of the war in which they had fought.

There isn’t anything a liberal loves better than a victim. The metamorphosis from perpetrator to victim seems natural.

Music emerged like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, about a dejected, down on his luck vet who couldn’t find a job. We were subjected to footage on the nightly news of bearded, camouflage wearing veterans coming out of the movie Platoon in tears.

We saw endless fictions about messed up vets sniping from the tops of buildings because they couldn’t forget the horrors of war. Whenever veterans’ issues pushed their way into the news, we saw interviews of bearded, camouflaged, bike riding vets whining about their service and a country that had forgotten.

The overwhelming majority of Vietnam vets came home and integrated themselves back into society. They weren’t motorcyclists, bearded or camouflaged. They were people you could bump into at the mall who gave no outward hint of the service they had rendered.

Those pictures of the Vietnam vet were ignored, while bearded, drunken, drug-soaked, camouflaged victims became the poster boys of the war.

That image still persists to this day and is being projected on the young men and women of the current armed forces. A few days ago one of the networks ran a story about homeless vets of the Vietnam War and interviewed a homeless advocate who said he expected to see an upsurge in homelessness once the current vets were released from active duty.

The victim label for Iraq vets is being applied already.

Unlike Vietnam, where some were draftees, this is a volunteer army. These people volunteer knowing that orders to invade, conquer and occupy are possible.

They had a choice: implement policy as a member of the military or stay home, get a nose ring and protest any war that happens along. These people chose the first and in doing so became partners in policy, rather than victims doing the bidding of a warmonger.  On that basis to oppose the war and support the troops is like saying you oppose someone who planned the bank robbery but support the guy holding the gun.

Every time an anti-war protestor brags about “supporting the troops” they’re paying homage to the idea of the troops as mindless victims.  But these young people are far from mindless victims.

They are heroes, conscious of what they are doing and respectful of current U.S. policy. They are liberators, not drones, warriors and not strategic chess pieces.

The “ we support the troops” anti-war crowd may be able to appease their own politically correct consciousness with their rhetoric, but they offer not real support, no matter how many parties they offer to throw.

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