The Hell I Can't! -- Supporting the Troops, not the War
In this modern era of patriotic platitudes, it seems all too many have forgotten the reason we affix those ever-present yellow ribbons to our cars and doors and the meaning behind the meaning of the almost cliche phrase "support our troops." Memories have grown short in America.
It was 1968 and the long national nightmare of Vietnam was in its darkest days. The draft was in full swing and young men were taken away from their families, their lives, and their futures to serve in an unpopular war in a far away land. The Peace movement was huge and growing larger by the day. Draft cards were burned in the streets and an entire generation sought refuge in Canada or in deferment through whatever means were necessary. George W. Bush, then the wealthy son of a the Representative from Texas' 7th district, enrolled in the Texas Air Guard, seeking, like thousands of others, to avoid an ignominious death in the jungles of Vietnam.
Most were not so lucky, and so resentment against both the war's military and political establishments grew quickly out of hand. Soldiers returning from duty were met with cries of "baby killer." Protesters threw eggs at them, hurled insults, and spat upon them - all in rejection of the ambitions and arrogance of a war spinning dangerously out of control.
In retrospect, those were the lowest and most shameful moments of America's Anti-War movement.
And so the cry was born: "support the troops." It serves as a constant reminder to those that would rally against the expansionist and imperialist policies of the United States that the solider - volunteer or conscript - is not responsible for the policies he is asked to implement. That phrase is the watchword of the modern anti-war movement, still shamed by its Vietnam era excesses. The decision of a solider to serve his country, to defend his nation, and to fight for what he believes is right is to be commended, no mater how egregious the policies he is ordered to carry out.