Monday, May 28, 2007

Support Our Troops

And now for something completely different:

Recently, a friend of mine was showing me some photos she took of an Iraq War vet with his artificial leg. While I can't show you the photos for privacy reasons, it did get me to thinking about the cost of war, and what it means to "Support Our Troops."

As a science teacher, the main tenet of my teaching is the TANSTAAFL concept, which stands for:

"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."

In science this relates to The First Law of Thermodynamics, the conservation of energy. I think it's a pretty good rule to live by in many regards. Honest accountants know that the true cost of many actions is not always what is advertised, but adds up based on all the consequences. In war, money is not only spent on guns and bombs, but is spent on repairing the damage to our soldiers and society as well.

Currently, we don't seem to be able to break out of the linguistic gridlock about the definition of what "supporting our troops" actually means. The president seems to feel that any attempt to reign in the blank check he feels he's been given is somehow not "supporting the troops." Congress conversely seems to feel that sending the troops off to die in the crossfires of a civil war we've unleashed isn't very supportive either.

So, what we have here is the analog to this classic National Lampoon cover. If we don't buy Bush's War, we are against the troops. This is such a false choice. I'm an old anti-war peacenik from the Vietnam era, but I have come to respect the sacrifice soldiers make for our country. We don't live in a stateless world, and until that day comes where we have no borders, we will need people to defend us. So many soldiers have lost their lives, and so many more have practically sacrificed their souls, all betrayed by a Commander-In-Chief with the big lies. On one hand we have budget deficits, tax cuts for the rich, huge contracts in Iraq for Halliburton and the like, and we juxtapose that with a rat-infested Veterans Hospital. Military families are living near or below the poverty level, and benefits to the veterans seem perpetually at risk. If we are to ask these young men and women to do whatever it takes to protect us, we owe it to them to make sure what they are dying for makes any sense at all, if there is such a thing.

Supporting our troops means we don't put them in harm's way as an instrument of policy, but only as the last resort.

click on the comic below to enlarge:

3 comments:

UnifiedTheory said...

It's true about the false choice
we've been given...support the Bush
plan & the troops...or...critique
the Bush plan & leave the soldiers
to hang.

As teachers, it is our job to educate
our students (while teaching them
science) to think critically and SEE
the 'choice' for what it is. An basic
and simple manipulation.

It's like when I say I don't like
hamburgers and someone calls me
Unamerican...I know that liking or
not liking hamburgers has nothing to
do with being an American...so I can
just pass off their remark without
even thinking about it.

The administration has manipulated
our fear. We are afraid that people
will believe we don't support the
troops just because THEY say we don't.
We should be able to have a logical
debate in this country and not have
to worry about the other side drawing
illogical and nonsensical conclusions
about where our loyalties lay.

Creating a fantasy out of the discussion
is the only way the administration can
'win' and get people to agree with them.
However, people don't care about what they are
agreeing with. People are only concerned
with how they are perceived when they
come out of the discussion.

How the Administration can still convince
people that not supporting them means you
hate soldiers is beyond me. That little
magic trick never worked on me. However,
what is concerning is that it works on
so many others.

It is all a bit frustrating to see all
of this happening and see people
being manipulated and abused. I feel
helpless and saddened that so many people
are still buying what the Administration is
selling. My hope lies with time and logic.
The tricks that the people in power keep
using are getting old and they are bound
to loose their effectiveness.

Until, then we just have to keep on
educating and working for change.
All is not lost!

UnifiedTheory said...

p.s. I like your favicon!!

Dave Lee said...

Geoff--

A wonderful, well-thought-out explanation of the sham being perpetrated on the American people. Question our Iraq policy = unpatriotic. Ask questions and demand accountability = undermining American "boys".

As dismayed as I am by all that has transpired in the last few years, I'm almost as disgusted by the actions of Democrats in Congress. The blank check continues despite lots of rhetoric about "timetables" and the like. Shame on them. What a gutless bunch.

I'd be careful, though, about saying there is no free lunch. Apparently, if you're rich and well-connected, the buffet line is still open, regardless of which political party you belong to.

Thanks again for sharing your views...