Sunday, April 13, 2008

Johnson, Vermont: War Dilemma

The slogan on the flag reads: "WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS / Hang a Yellow Ribbon for Your Soldier"

I asked a few writers and artists if they thought supporting our troops was the same as supporting the war. The answers were divided.


Lance said...

When I think "Support our troops", in my mind that means "Keep your head down, do the job you're assigned, and get home safe." Does this mean I support the war? Not in the slightest!

If doing the job they're assigned means attempting to secure an area (and in that process, God forbid, killing another human being) IN ORDER TO keep themselves safe and eventually return home, it's the job they were chosen for and assigned to...nothing more. That doesn't mean I think it's right they're there at my opinion, this entire fiasco was initially only an excuse to keep the American people diverted from the fact our "intelligence" agencies couldn't find Osama bin Laden, but now "President" Bush(or Emperor, if you prefer) has caught us so deep in the mire, it's past too late for him to pull back without losing face on a globally political scale, so all he can do is press forward.

Think of it this way: If I were to wear an arm band reading "Support the police" does that mean I endorse crime? No, it just means that I understand the job they do is very dangerous, and the police exist to keep us safe...even if some aspects of their job are distasteful(though necessary).

The biggest shame of the entire affair is that Bush hasn't been impeached, when the fact is that even the majority of his most staunch political Republican voters & supporters no longer have confidence in either him or his "mission" to save us all. All Clinton did a few years back was stick his namesake somewhere it didn't belong, and he was nearly skinned alive. What does our Emperor have to do in order to get removed--press the red button?

Xujun, you never ask the easy questions. :-P

katrina said...

Vermont is a state that is and has always been different politically rom the rest of the nation. In Brattleboro, there is an arrest warrant for President Bush. My guess, after spending thirty some odd years living in Vermont that Support our Troops means simply that. I think Vermonters are smart enough to separate the two.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Hi Lance and Katrina, thanks for the sensible and very interesting and informative comments. In Chinese culture, there isn't a distinction between supporting the troops and the particular war they are engaged. I'm interested in learning when and how such a distinction evolved in American culture. Is this recently?

katrina said...

Great question, Xujun. Hmmm, I can only speak for myself. I am definitely anti-war. And yet, I don't blame the men and woemn who risk their lives to do what's commanded of them. Our military presence in Iraq is not what I want but to have no military presence at all would threaten our way of life and our idealogies. It's an unfortunate paradox.

I live in a town in which many military families live. Many are involved in the schools, in the town and are down-to-earth, hands-on citizens. I would never consider blaming them for the mistakes or sins of our government.

But of course the issue isn't so simple, is it?

katrina said...

I'm sorry for all of my typos. I think I need some more caffeine this morning. :)

katrina said...

To try to answer your question about when...perhaps the aftermath of Vietnam taught us that you can be against a war and still treat our soldiers with respect. In fact, it is imperative.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Kat, I didn't see any typo in your posts at all.

What you said makes lots of sense. It is also thought-provoking. The subject of war is indeed a paradox worth exploring more deeply.

Lance said...

I absolutely agree with Katrina, that the public distinction between the soldiers and the wars they fight came about as a result of the Vietnam aftermath. However, this obviously only happened several years after the war, since most troops coming home were at the time still referred to as "baby killer" and such.

I have a friend who's a 'Nam vet, and he recounts the entire experience as one of the worst he's ever had in his life...while he doesn't seriously suffer from post traumatic stress or anything like that(thankfully), to this day he still has dreams about the events.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Interesting observation about the lagged change in people's attitude after the Vietnam war, Lance.

As far as I can tell, one thing similar between that war and this war is that soldiers don't even want to go, and we don't want them to die there. Perhaps a better slogan is "Support our troops/bring them home!"