Fox News picked up on our point that the Stryker vehicles we were protesting are deployed to Iraq before troops are deployed. Unfortunately, they had Colmes say it in a really weak way that was quickly dismissed by Hannity. This is indicative of nearly every professional media outlet or conservative outlet that covered this story. Since the Stryker tanks ship to Iraq first, conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin are wrong to think we’re “hurting” US troops by preventing them from getting their tanks. Even though she’s not, let’s assume Malkin is right about troops deploying first.
Even if troops were deployed before strykers, it doesn’t mean they would be put in the same situations as troops with strykers. Why would we assume that? If they don’t have their vehicles they wouldn’t go on certain kinds of missions. Malkin and her friends of the right seem to assume things like that, and hence we’d be “hurting” the troops and preventing them from “doing their duty” which is to protect American liberties and interests by occupying and dictating the political course of foreign nations. And this argument doesn’t seem to account
even if troops were deployed before strykers, how many would still be at the port of Tacoma protesting the war and the shipment of war-supplies?
Let me take a firm position. I’m not consenting to the “support” argument in any form. I think Malkin’s assumptions about the legality of the war and our anti-war tactics are wrong entirely. To the political right, any protest against the war is basically a subversive act. It challenges the status-quo of military planning. The “support the troops” argument is one example of how a submissive ideological stance has been cemented into the political subconscious. Its slow cementation is aimed at pacifying any subversive elements in the political discourse. This is how I believe it works. Since “the troops” are involved at every level of this war, any level of speaking out against the war involves what the troops are doing. That is to say, any military proposition involves the military. To be unsupportive of the war yet supportive of the military performing war is a contradiction, since the military is involved in the performance of war, and as a voluntary body believes in the justness of its wars.
Further, conservatives have got us thinking that a proposition against the war implies a proposition against troops at an individual level. And since we’re not supposed to be against the objectives of individual troops—who are supporting their families, supporting their communities, and fighting for what they believe in—then we’re not supposed to be against the objectives of the military as a whole. This has the pacifying effect of promoting pro-war sentiments about the war in general. For those who have studied debate, this ideological stance is the fallacy of composition, (which occurs when we assume something is true about the whole simply because it is true of its compositions.) The argument has even also shifted its original advocacy from under us, from being a moderately neutral stance against troop effacement like in Vietnam, to now a submissive war stance in compliance with war-crimes and foreign occupation.
I don’t support what the troops are involved in at any level, since it is unjust war. “Support the troops” plays into the status-quo of military planning. It mentions nothing about the unjustness of the war, doesn’t imply any exit strategies, and plays us into a submissive role of war-crimes compliance. It doesn’t mean anything to me. Therefore, being against the war in Iraq, I cannot accept “support the troops” as a cogent proposition ideologically.
The whole “support the troops” campaign was designed initially to prevent the public from backlashing like in Vietnam. There will be no draft, so there will be no public outcry. But just in case, the administration used this campaign to quell any anti-war sentiment that might arise out of disgust of what the “troops” are doing.