The Vietnam War split the American nation. Some supported the war at first. Many turned against the war when Daniel Ellsberg and others revealed that the U.S. Government was knowingly and deliberately lying to the American public about the war effort. When the American public turned against the Vietnam War, the war was ultimately brought to an end. The soldiers returned to a public that was unsupportive of the soldiers as well as the war effort. The entire episode was very hard on military morale after the war ended and especially hard on the self-esteem of draftees who were returned to civilian life.
The draft is gone, and a volunteer army fights for America these days. That volunteer army is the fist of the American Empire. That fist bludgeons small nations like Grenada, weakened nations like Iraq, and remote nations like Afghanistan. The U.S. military has not fought in a war declared by the U.S. Congress, in accord with the U.S. Constitution, for decades.
Now, the bulk of the U.S. military is focused on a war of aggression in Iraq, where well over 100,00 troops are fighting an illegal war. Why should we support those troops? Everywhere we look stateside we see bumper stickers on vehicles with little yellow flags and the Stars and Stripes with the exhortation: "Support the troops!"
Why should Americans support the troops? It is all about morale and self esteem. We want our troops to feel good about themselves! We want our troops to be proud of their illegal and immoral participation in the pursuit of empire! We want our troops to be proud and feel good about their role in torture, rape, murder, and illegal occupation of an innocent sovereign nation.
We want American troops to be proud of their infinite superiority in firepower over any conceivable enemy. We want our troops to be glad they poisoned a nation with depleted uranium for 4.5 billion years. We want our American troops to be pleased that they carried the fight to foreign soil, even though the foreigners involved had no ability to invade America and no desire or ability to do similar damage to our nation.
It’s all about self-esteem, pride, and feeling good about being American! Being an American soldier should mean that you can destroy Fallujah and never regret a single moment. Being an American soldier should mean that you don’t have to apologize to any rag-head family for blowing up their car when the driver panicked at one of your checkpoints. Being an American soldier should mean that you can detain any number of Iraqis for indefinite periods of time just for being Iraqi and thus "suspicious", and never convict them of any crime and certainly never apologize to them. Being an American soldier means you can torture anybody at any time for any reason if you think they might have some information you need.
Yes, we must support the American troops because even if they are murderers and rapists and sadists, they are, after all, Americans. They need to feel good about themselves and not feel disrespected or abandoned or unappreciated.
That would be a tragedy, wouldn’t it — if America’s troops were to feel bad about who they are or what they do. We can’t have that, now, can we!
Support the American troops — It may not be just or right, but it makes everyone feel good!