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#31664 - 11/13/09 10:26 PM Assuaging Guilt
Nemesis Offline
senior member


Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2175
Loc: US
I'm mainly referring to the slogan/meme of "Support Our Troops" that has taken root in our nation's consciousness, ever since the US launched its offensive in Iraq several years ago.

Every day, we're bombarded with "Support Our Troops", and are encouraged to mail goods (cookies, ipods, Christmas cards, etc) or donate time or money to do things for military families and such. Why, it's almost considered "unpatriotic" if you don't support these all-volunteer, community-effort type organizations. Dixie Chicks, anyone?

I've come to the conclusion that all these efforts are simply to assuage our own guilt at prolonging this "war" (which is in parentheses, because it's more like an extended operation with no end in sight, with no clear, defined goal). Not necessarily any personal guilt either--more like our guilt as a nation.

It started with the yellow ribbon magnets that were plastered all over the trunks of every car on the road. Then came more bumperstickers, then the "military moms" who bake hundreds of fresh cookies to send to their kids and whatever unit they're in overseas. Now it's become a contest, who can do the most, in order to appear the most patriotic. Or are we just trying to make up for how we treated Vietnam vets returning from tours of hell?

Now, I'm not speaking from a military perspective. Do our armed service men and women really give a shit about receiving a Christmas card from a 5 year old stranger? Or do they just grin and bear it, because it would hurt the feelings of all those well-intentioned civilians?

If I were in the service, I'd appreciate receiving gifts and cards from my own family. But strangers? Only if they sent me porn and an iTunes gift card.

Unthinking and unquestioning patriotism is what smacks of Socialism, not passing universal health care. Nazi Propaganda Bureau?

So if our active and retired military members would fill me in on what you think of this, I'd be happy as a clam. I'd also like to hear the opinions of others, whether you agree with my assumptions or not.
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#31675 - 11/14/09 01:58 AM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: Nemesis]
ceruleansteel Offline
active member


Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 784
Loc: Behind you
I agree.

From a totally civilian standpoint myself, it's as if your patriotism is measured by how much money you spend on bumper stickers and flags.

Being a soldier is their JOB. No one sends me cookies when my 57 school kids are stuck inside for a solid week due to rain. I don't see a "Support our starving university students" drive. I did see a T-shirt about supporting single moms, but Tshirthell.com doesn't really count.

Not that I don't appreciate the danger associated with their JOB, but fuck! Police, Firemen...their jobs are dangerous too. Hell, depending on what part of the country you live in, you are in just as much danger walking around outdoors in America as you are in the Middle East. (And if you don't believe me, take your white ass on a tour of some choice Savannah neighborhoods some day).

Personally, I don't think it has a thing to do with guilt, I think the whole thing is just to keep us distracted. We're so busy gathering back issues of Maxim and whatnot that we're not paying attention to what is NOT going on...which is any of these fuckers keeping their word about withdrawing, or getting our economy UNfucked, or spending five thousand dollars on a three hour business meeting in Las Vegas.

And I don't recall congress ever declaring war, so that means it is NOT a war and is - drumroll, please - Just Like Vietnam...a conflict.

Does anyone even pay attention to what state of awareness or whatever we're on right now. Are we yellow? Orange? Teal? Who gives a fuck?

My little brother did his time in Balad and although I did send him a couple of letters, it's not like he got drafted or something. He applied and got the job. I support my troops by paying my taxes like a good little chumpette.

They took a job I didn't want...I'm not going to kiss their asses for it because if they wanted the damn job that badly, that means the DIDN'T want the job I have. So we're even.

Not to mention: That very same army is the one what will be shooting AMERICAN CIVILIANS if martial law is ever declared.

New Orleans?

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#31677 - 11/14/09 02:12 AM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: Nemesis]
CJB Offline
member


Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
I've never been a big fan of the cards little kids send us, but I remember making them back when I was a kid when there wasn't a war going on. I do appreciate the goody bags...being underway for months at a time, sometimes without hitting a port for a couple months straight, it's nice to have some random stranger send me food or candy or whatever.

That said, the best gifts were from my own family. Mom makes great fudge. Or their church, I suppose. Yeah, we don't believe in the same god, but at least we all believe in the same ramen noodles.

I don't like it that they may be sending it to me out of a sense of duty. If they had that sense, than they should've joined the military or something. I do appreciate the compassion, which I think is what most of the vets are expressing when they send goodies our way. They've been there, they know it sucks, and they're just trying to make it a bit better.

As for the silly little cards...well, occasionally they provide comic relief. Like the one that said "cum back saif frum the whors!" (Come back safe from the wars).

So yeah...if you feel like sending goodies or even a card because of some sort of guilt, I wouldn't mind at all. I'd rather you send it in gratitude or compassion, but guilt will get me just as much canned honey glazed peanuts as the rest of it.

I must also admit that I do like the current anti-war way of thinking: Hate the war, not the troops. At least some of us volunteered because, at least in part, we want to keep our country safe, and I think more people now appreciate that as opposed to just thinking we're a bunch of bloodthirsty fucks that get our jollies off on napalming babies.
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~~CJ
"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
-Ayn Rand

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#32873 - 12/13/09 07:24 PM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: Nemesis]
Fist Moderator Offline
veteran member


Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 1453
Loc: B'mo Cautious MF
Truly.

While it is a nice token gesture, most troops really couldn't give a fuck less. While I am still taken aback when someone buys my coffee or says "Thank You", I really can't help but wonder just who they are doing it for. I see a nation awash in yellow ribbon magnets but have to wonder just what they are supporting?

Want to do us a favor? Allow us to fight the war - on our terms. If every three letter agency, cabinet level director, bleeding heart reporter and dirty hippy are going to second guess and micro-manage our actions then just simply bring us home. You people can fight Al Queda.

I remember at the end of the first Gulf War that the Mustang Ranch in Nevada was giving free rides to returning veterans. Now there is something a guy can use! It sure beats the hell out of cookies and month old Xmas cards.
_________________________
I am the Devil and I am here to do the Devil's work.

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#32894 - 12/14/09 01:20 AM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: ceruleansteel]
ballbreaker Offline
member


Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 134
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Bahaha.

"UNfucked", "martial law"...your unique grasp of politics is always enlightening.

Just posted to say keep up the good work...whatever you're doing, don't stop!

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#32913 - 12/14/09 06:27 PM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: Nemesis]
Gemini Offline
pledge


Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
 Originally Posted By: Nemesis
Why, it's almost considered "unpatriotic" if you don't support these all-volunteer, community-effort type organizations. Dixie Chicks, anyone?

This is a fact that I've been hollering against for years. "Patriot" has become a pretty loaded word, especially since September 11th, and all the noise that followed after it.

For a while, if you didn't have an American flag hanging in your front yard, you were considered "unpatriotic." If you didn't have a yellow ribbon stuck to your car, you were "unpatriotic." If you didn't support the "war" in Iraq (which, as ceruleansteel pointed out, is not a war - it's a conflict or, more accurately, invasion) you were "unpatriotic" - or, worse, an Al Qaeda sympathizer/supporter/member.

It seems that the commonly-accepted definition of a "Patriot" is one who unquestioningly supports the Federal Government and its decisions. According to dictionary.com, a "Patriot" is:
 Quote:
1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.


People fail to recognize the difference between supporting one's country and supporting the Government of that country.

I myself, as a civilian, feel no guilt at the fact that those in the US Armed Forces willingly joined, and consequently sent to participate in a conflict as ordered by the Government which regulates them.

Soldiers go to war - it's a requirement of their job. No one felt guilty for me putting myself in danger when I spent time as a firefighter - nor did I expect or ask them to. It was my job.

This isn't to say that I don't feel a great amount of respect and gratitude for those who are in the Armed Forces, because I do. It's the Government I don't much care for.
_________________________
http://www.soundcloud.com/onewingedangel

-Gemini

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#32916 - 12/14/09 06:52 PM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: Fist]
Jake999 Offline
senior member


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
 Originally Posted By: Fist

Want to do us a favor? Allow us to fight the war - on our terms. If every three letter agency, cabinet level director, bleeding heart reporter and dirty hippy are going to second guess and micro-manage our actions then just simply bring us home. You people can fight Al Queda.


This hung on the wall of my Commander's office. Pretty much says it all.

"Commanders should be counselled chiefly by persons of known talent, by those who have made the art of war their particular study, and whose knowledge is derived from experience, by those who are present at the scene of action, who see the enemy, who see the advantages that occasions offer, and who, like people embarked in the same ship, are sharers of the danger.

If, therefore, anyone thinks himself qualified to give advice respecting the war which I am about to conduct, let him not refuse his assistance to the state, but let him come with me into Macedonia.

He shall be furnished with a ship, a tent; even his travelling charges will be defrayed, but if he thinks this too much trouble, and prefers the repose of a city life to the toils of war, let him not on land assume the office of a pilot. The city in itself furnishes abundance of topics for conversation; let it confine its passion for talking to its own precincts and rest assured that we shall pay no attention to any counsel but such as shall be framed within our camp."

[General Lucius Aemilius Paulus, surnamed Macedonicus, Roman general and patrician, c. 229-160 B.C.]
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


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#32969 - 12/16/09 12:44 PM Re: Assuaging Guilt [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Dimitri Offline
stalker


Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3151
I'm not a war-expert nor a well-trained and experienced soldier..
But hell, you have "official documents" and "ethical convictions" on one side and live-combat on the other side.

I'm quite convinced that most of the times these convictions and documents are put aside with an explanation to evade the "law".... unless you really fuck-up.
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Ut vivat, crescat et floreat

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