The politics of the phrase, "Support Our Troops."
"Support our troops" is generally a good and an important phrase that informs the men and women in our military that the civilian population is, indeed, supportive and appreciative of their service and sacrifice.
It is a powerful as well as a politically useful phrase.
The present situation in Iraq, however, needs to seen for what it truly is, and the use of the phrase needs to be re-evaluated in that light. This is an important thing to do because the phrase is used by those who favor American involvement in Iraq to rally support for their policies and to stigmatize those who question or oppose the Bush Iraqi policy as unpatriotic or weak, and to create division and hostility within American polity.
First, the circumstance in Iraq is not a "war," notwithstanding the use of the word in such slogans as "the war in Iraq," and the "war on terrorism." The "war" was created, as we now know, by the Bush administration which manipulated intelligence and used it to stampede loyal and well meaning Americans, particularly Congressional members, into supporting the military incursion into Iraq.
When this happened, in 2003, and as long as there was military resistence by Iraqi forces, it could have been labeled a "war."
Once Saddam Hussein was toppled and Iraqi forces ceased to exist, the "war" was over. President Bush himself stated "mission accomplished."
What exists now is an occupation.
Replacing the Iraqi military were Iraqi (Baath) and Arab guerilla resistance fighters, joined ultimately by Al Qaeda fighters, labeled as "terrorists." These forces fought and continue to fight in the only way outnumbered and out-gunned fighters can, with concealed bombs, booby traps, sniping and hit-and-run skirmishing.
Iraqi and other Arab fighters fighting against an occupation force in their own lands and cultural environs cannot generally be said to be terrorists. Al Qaeda members are an exception to this. There were virtually no Al Qaeda fighters in Iraq prior to the invasion, but the action by the U.S. and the Coalition opened the door wide open to Al Qaeda.
There is no argument that Al Qaeda deserves to be labeled as terrorist. Its 9/11 attack in the U.S. that killed almost three thousand innocent civilians, its attacks on embassies in Africa, against rail lines in Spain, and other attacks that killed and hurt civilians qualify it and its members as terrorists.
The presence of U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq is, to repeat, an occupation. The men and women serving in these forces do so at the peril of their lives, bodies and minds. On all sides they are threatened by the resistance fighters as well as the smaller terrorist groups.
Our troops’ lives, bodies and minds are subject to maiming and killing on two fronts: by Arab fighters attacking them, and by the civil war between the two major Arab sects, Shiites and Sunnis.
We must remember our troops are there not because of that bad egg, Saddam Hussein, not because of weapons of mass destruction and therefore a threat to the West (none were there, and this would have been revealed had the inspectors been allowed to continue the successful second phase of their job in Iraq). Our troops are not there because Iraq was a hotbed of terrorism (prior to the invasion), it was not. In fact Saddam, a secularist, was adamantly opposed to the religious Islamist doctrinaire of Al Qaeda and others. Saddam considered them a threat to his power.
This civil war, the hostilities between the two sects, is historical, and no amount of political activity by the Arab and Iraqi "leaders," be they elected or installed by Coalition manipulation, will solve the deadly problem in the near future. Perhaps it will take ten to twenty years to bring peaceful cooperation between the factions as well as with the Kurds, that is, if the political superstructures can prevail. There is no guarantee of that.
Whether our troops and those of the Coalition leave Iraq now or in several years or more in the future, the civil war will break out in full force.
The three entities, Shiite, Sunni and Kurd, were cobbled together by the U.K. artificially after WWI. There was no, nor is there now, common ground between these peoples.
Today the stakes are unimaginably great for each of the parties because of the vast store of oil in the land, most of which lies under Shiite territory, and the Sunni are desperate to claim a good share of the potential wealth. The Kurds are better off because a good deal of the oil lies in the north, in their territory. Still the Kurds are jealously protective of their claim.
The struggle between the parties will continue to be bitter and deadly for a long time to come.
Meanwhile, young American lives are forced to face injury and death, and in many cases despair, because of the unspelled-out agenda of the Bush people, their corporate cronies and Congressional mouthpieces.
This gang, motivated by power and wealth at any price, propagandize the nation by that phrase "support out troops," in order, as was said earlier, to rally its right wing electorate base, and to stigmatize all who question and oppose the "war" as defeatists, weak and, at worst, unpatriotic.
No, in this case, a case of unmitigated political and economic corruption and deception, "support our troops" actually means "condemn our troops."
This administration, like none other before it, is steeped in doublespeak. "Peace and democracy" means pre-emptive war, the death and despair of tens of thousands, or more, of the innocent, and political manipulation for self aggrandizement: excessive power and wealth. "Homeland security" means the gifting of billions of the public treasury to crony corporations like Haliburton (while many of our American poor go to bed hungry and risk every day without health insurance), and the corruption of our Constitution and the civil rights that our founders, and their descendants, struggled to establish and protect, protect against the very power grab displayed by this callous and vacuous Bushian clique, this un-American cabal.
Leaving Iraq, yes, in an orderly and thoughtful way, is not a retreat but a rescue of our troops and a step towards righting a grievous, dangerous and immoral act, a healing of a world-wide illness and vitriol.
"Support Our Troops" Highlight summary:
U.S. and Coalition troops in Iraq is not a "war," it is an occupation.
The occupation exists based on false and immoral premises.
U.S. and Coalition troops are forced to subject life, limb and mind to attack by both Arab and Iraqi fighters as well as a violent civil war between Shiites and Suunis. Except for a relative small force of Al Qaeda, these fighters cannot be labeled as terrorists because they are fighting the occupiers in their own lands and cultural environs.
Thus, when mouthed by Bush supporters "support out troops" actually means condemn our troops.
Thus, leaving Iraq is not a defeat or a retreat. It is a rescue of our troops.
Not included in the article, but added thoughts as to a sensible plan to solve The U.S. in Iraq:
1) Redeploy all our and Coalition troops to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, out of harms’ way. Be vigilant and ready to enter Iraq at a moment’s notice to help defend the new government if it is threatened.
2) Only a strike force of 60 to 70 thousand would thus be needed. Bring the rest home upon redeployment.
3) Bring all the troops home when reasonable stability is achieved in Iraq. Put a reasonable time limit for such stability. In the interim prepare a United Nations peace keeping force to replace U.S. and coalition forces after the time limit expires.