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January 25, 2005

Get yourselves one of these.

Before you get into the stuff below (some *good stuff* too!) Go vist The Commissar, and consider doing what he asks. I did. It *is* related to the meat of this post. (Hat tip to Bloodspite at Techography for pointing it out) No worries. We'll wait.

The Puddle Pirate at Brainshavings has a bumper sticker for you. The Armorer's Chariot will soon be sporting one.

So should yours!

And on a completely unrelated note... if NZ Bear's 'bots are right... the Castle sits at #20 today, but our traffic holds pretty steady... it looks like absent the Google hits for gun pics, just about every reader we have is a blogger who's linked us. Whew! Talk about inbred! I'm stunned (and suspicious) when we're so high above so many high-traffic blogs, the implication being that bloggers are more impressed with the Castle than they are the high traffic blogs? Heh. It just feels weird to be sitting right on top of Dean's World today.

Lastly - if you've just joined us - we have a Caption Contest and Interservice Rivalry Brawl going on way down there in this post!

Update: Disaffection in the ranks! Grumblings in formation! Mutters behind the BC's back! Graffitti in the latrines! Anonymous 'toons in Army Times!

Does anyone else have something to say on the subject? (While I understand Sanger's point, I still want one of these bumper stickers - call it the contrarian in me.) Keep it polite and on track. Ya wanna rumble in the basement, go hit the caption contest! I wanna see what ya have to say, and not prejudice the discussion by putting my opinion out first (beyond what's already there...) an old military tradition of soliciting from the juniors to the seniors so the juniors will say what they think, and not as likely to parrot the seniors. Doesn't always work, but if you've created the right command climate it does. Sanger feels safe!

UPDATE: Since Puddle Pirate has responded, and his response is as long as SangerM's challenge, I have moved both into the Flash Traffic/Extended Post.

You don't need to go in there - both comments are in the comment thread below - but it *will* make it easier on people coming into the Castle all unsuspecting, and everything will be displayed in the archived version.

Keep it up, guys, nice thread so far!

SangerM responded to the bumper sticker thusly (Puddle Pirates' rebuttal is below this)

[ rant ] At the risk of making myself a target, I could not disagree MORE with the sentiment expressed on the bumper sticker. That is a naught but propaganda aimed at quashing legitimate dissent about the proper and appropriate roles and uses of the military in America's foreign policy. It is exactly opposite what we should be doing.

In spite of opinions to the contrary, one can indeed support America's soldiers without reservation while still having and expressing reasonable doubt about the mission those soldiers have been given. As a former soldier and current GS Civilian, I clearly understand the need for a soldier to 1) act with integrity in accordance with orders (i.e., do the mission to the best of his or her ability) and 2) to have the support of the citizenry in whose name he fights. For all of that, however, expeditionary war is not always founded on a firm, clear-cut, no-gray foundation (as opposed to a war of self-defensive, for example, as was not the case w/ Vietnam, which was anything but self-defense). Our invasion of Iraq, while justifiable in my opinion, is far more expeditionary than defensive, and I have very right--nay, an obligation--to question it's validity.

The United States has prospered entirely because a core value of this country is vociferous and occasionally violent debate. With that in mind, it infuriates me to have someone tell me that if I disagree with the policies and activities of my government, I am therefore an enemy of my fellow citizens, and that I should just sit down and shut up!

As most of us have discussed over time, the 2nd Amendment is perceived by many to be as much about letting citizens protect themselves from a run-amok government as about the general good of the nation. It is THIS principle and this fear that motivates Americans' overall underlying distrust of Big Government, and which motivates a good many of us to own as many guns as possible. Many of us have sworn--more than once--to defend and support the _Constitution_ of the United States, not the current administration (not directly in any event), and I believe every American should be asking the hardest questions he or she can devise to MAKE the government prove its case for war.

Frankly, I love it that the government has to worry so much about us masses." Whether we all agree or not, the People are in charge, not the elected folks. Churchill did his best, and stayed the course, and eventually his people turned to him in their time of greatest need (thank God!), but it was certainly the right of a Free People to go the way they went. And although I would hope our nation would never be so blinded by stupidity, we certainly have the same right to be that stupid, regardless of the right or wrong of it.

As many of you know about me by now, I would never advocate undermining
the success of our nation in any legitimate endeavor--in for a penny, in for a pound--but as an educated, intelligent citizen of a free nation, I absolutely reserve the right to decide for myself whether or not I think the Government is doing the right thing. I did NOT like seeing the United States invade Iraq. I understand the reasons, and I agree with those reasons without reservation--AND I am pleased that we did what we did--but even so, it was still very unsettling to see our Army invade another country without CLEAR provocation. I got over it, but that doesn't mean I will support the same again and again, just because other people are willing to blindly accept whatever wars our Leaders want to engage it. In fact, there are great many things about the current state of affairs that I really dislike, not the least of which is what I
feel is a clear misuse of the National Guard and Reserve troops. Does that make me an enemy of those Guardsmen? Hardly.

To end, I'll just say this: The military is obligated to do what it is told--soldiers have NO choice but to go where they are told and do what they are told; THEREFORE, as citizens, it is our DUTY to ensure they are not told to do things that are wrong or wasteful of life. American soldiers depend on us to disagree with the government when necessary, and we are abrogating our duty when we do not question the plans and actions of the government. It is exactly because soldiers have no voice that we must do double duty on their behalf.

And so with that in mind, I say SCREW that bumper sticker and the sentiment it expresses!



Puddle Pirate Responds:

I created that bumper sticker, and I stand by every word.

In some cases, it's logically possible to support the troops while opposing their mission. But when the troops support their mission by a large majority, the two can no longer be separated. At that point, opposing the mission hurts the troops' morale.

Put yourself in the boots of an enlisted infantryman serving in Iraq. First of all, he's in the military voluntarily. Most likely it's because he wants to defend the country and its values, and maybe he wants to challenge himself in the toughest arena around. He's sure not in it for the money (military pay sucks, believe me). Now consider that it's been nearly four years since 9/11. Before that day, joining the military didn't necessarily mean that you stood a good chance of seeing combat. At most, you might rotate through the Balkans as a peacekeeper. Thise who wanted no part of combat have long since had time to let their enlistments lapse. They've been free to go home for awhile now.

Today, anybody who enlists knows the score. If you join up, especially if you're in the Marines, the Army, the reserve component of either branch, or the National Guard, you know the odds are good you'll be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. There's no way to avoid that knowledge, since the mainstream media pounces on every opportunity to wail about manpower shortages, high optempo, frequent deployments, recruiting difficulties, and the dreaded "backdoor draft" bogeyman. Today's enlistee doesn't want to die (as ever), but he enlisted in the combat arms branches with the clear understanding that he'd probably be headed overseas to fight. The military emphasizes that very fact in boot camp these days, and training there has been revamped to teach the latest hard-won tactics used in the current war. Since you can drop out of boot camp before it's over, you have every opportunity to change your mind before you're committed to the life of a warrior. Every enlistee lugging a rifle, sitting in a tank, or cocking a cannon in Iraq or Afghanistan is there essentially because he wants to be.

Now picture that trooper or Marine over in Iraq, watching the news from home and seeing mobs of chanting loons opposing the mission he's committed to. Worse, he sees them cheerfully mixed in with oxygen thieves like these. Then he hears politicians (including every Democratic presidential candidate but one) bloviating about quagmires and illegal wars and genocide, and self-righteously claiming that the highest form of patriotism is dissent ... an Orwellian concept if ever there was one. This cast of kooks all make certain that they end their carping with the standard disclaimer to insulate themselves from criticism: "... but we support the troops." What is our infantryman to think these bozos mean? He knows it's an empty nothing of a sentiment. The kooks' actions speak quite loudly to the contrary: "You are committing immoral aggression, you are wrongfully killing innocent people, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and we hope the other side wins. But hey ... we'll throw an occasional warm thought your way, you poor dumb violent brute."

In this war, there's a clear difference between sides. One's good and one's evil. Our guys aren't the ones targeting women and children. Our side doesn't try to tear down the very infrastructure of a functioning society. Our side doesn't drag people in front of video cameras and saw their heads off with blunt knives just because they weren't supportive and subservient enough to suit us. Our side doesn't use those snuff films as recruiting tools. When you oppose our mission to defend our own country from the threat of the international Islamist movement, as we simultaneously bring freedom to a dark cesspool that's never known it before, all with the overwhelming support of the troops themselves, you are not supporting the troops.

My statement stands.

John | Permalink | Comments (47) | Observations on things Military
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