Friday, June 22, 2007

What "Support Our Troops" really means

For a long time now, I've been bothered by those "Support Our Troops" ribbons — actually just magnetic stickers — you see on the backs of cars... usually huge, gas-guzzling monstrosities. Seems to me it's always the people sucking up the most resources, and thus whipping the drive to empire, who clap the loudest when they send someone else's kid off to die for it. Make no mistake. Afghanistan is a facet of an ongoing resource war. People forget we went in there in October, 2001, to get Osama bin Laden. We still don't have him. We're still there. And scores of Canadian soldiers have died, horribly, for little more than the ongoing tarnishing of our international reputation. The civilians of Afghanistan may, or may not, have considered themselves ill-served and oppressed by the Taliban government... but now they live day and night in the shadow of war. If we were wanted there, if we were truly wanted there, this war would long have been over. We aren't, and so it goes on. This is not "peacekeeping", but peace-disrupting. We are, ourselves, the invaders.

So you spend five bucks on a sticker that makes you feel proud but does not a good goddamn thing for the troops you purport to stand behind, except to help keep them where they shouldn't be: risking their lives, ruining an already destitute country, returning us to days of empire we had long since left behind.

Over at We Move to Canada, Laura has blogged about the ribbons at the official level... the City has agreed to let fire fighters and ambulance drivers continue to display those magnetic "Support Our Troops" ribbons for another year. The post has a lot of a collateral information.

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