Sunday, June 25, 2006

Support the Troops

Sara wrote wrote that she views the “Support The Troops” slogan as a critical imperative, a written command exhorting liberals and pantywaists to get with the program. I hadn’t thought much about the slogan, but I have reflected some on what it means to support the troops.

While traveling to and from Iraq, on leave and while deploying and re-deploying, we’d pass through airports in our uniforms. During drill I also occasionally rub shoulders with civilians while wearing my uniform. It is very common for someone to come up and thank me for my service. One old guy bought me a hot dog, once. These people are trying to express their support for the troops.

I always appreciate this because I know they are well meaning and they probably have little other way to show support. It always makes me think, though, about how they could really support the troops. For me, that means shared sacrifice. If you want to support the troops, enlist, encourage and help someone you know to enlist, find a spouse of a deployed troop and mow the lawn for him or her. Go to and adopt a service member.

Saying the slogan is nice, but is kind of meaningless. In fact, it may be counterproductive. I see the vans festooned with ribbons, but the driver often doesn’t have a relative in the fight. I suspect that the driver feels like sporting the ribbons is sufficient support, and doesn’t do anything else.

Without a real shared sacrifice it is too easy to support the conflict without end. If there was a real shared sacrifice, I think the country would either want the conflict to end, or would have a consensus that it is worth it. We don't have either right now.

Some sacrifice all; most sacrifice nothing. Sgt. Siler of the 116th Brigade Combat Team gave his "last full measure of devotion" on 25 May 2005.

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