Friday, July 14, 2006

Support the troops?

There is a narrative that has long since taken hold with the right in this country and is perpetuated even by circles in the left that we need to be sensitive to the opinion of the troops and our military and that their opinions about the war carry more weight than those who have not served.

Well folks, the last time I checked one of the cornerstones on which this country was built was the separation of civilian and military powers. The minute we decide to grant the military greater moral authority, greater political authority is sure to follow, and the last thing I want, and the last thing the founding fathers wanted, was a Roman style military dictatorship in which the military gained an excess of "potestas".

The Pentagon and its minions in the corporate, media, and political elite already have a disordinate amount of power. Does the military need more? Enough is enough. Whether you are Christopher Hitchens or Tom Hayden, you as a civilian who has never donned a uniform have as much authority and right to your opinion as does Bill O'Reilly or Cindy Sheehan.

As for supporting the troops, I've never really been sure what that means. You hear it a great deal from people who, as is the case with many of us, over consume the planet's resources without question; that in turn means we have "national interest" (read really consumer, corportate and military interest) just about everywhere which in turn drives military deployment and war industry. In the process, young, eager, nationalistic men are put in harm's way. Support the troops? You really only do that if you resist their misuse; you do not do it by deferring to the opinion of the soldiery and military.



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