"In a condition of war, civil liberties tend to get overridden. The current war on terror, now over 11 years old, shows this. For any number of reasons, this war shows no signs of ending. It is actually spreading to more lands. The connection to an "organization" or "persons" that are in any way linked to 9/11 is now exceedingly remote, but the use of military force continues. This is not logical. It is not legal. It's happening nonetheless because the pro-war forces are driving it. There is no apparent political force that is stopping it. Under these conditions, the prognosis for civil liberties is anything but good."
Michael S. Rozeff
May 15, 2013
Americans are constantly bombarded with the demand to, "Support our troops!" I see it on bumper stickers and billboards, I hear it in churches, I read it on military discount offers at stores, I experience it at public events when our troops are ordered to stand and everyone present is strongly compelled to applaud their service.
I suspect that the term, service, is merely a remnant from a time when troops were drafted, known in the USA as Selective Service, and paid very little to risk their lives, ostensibly in defense of the nation, but quite often merely to enrich a few very wealthy people and expand The Empire. Today, our troops are highly-trained and well-paid government workers with health benefits and retirement packages that exceed those of most tax payers working in the private sector.
As of 2010, a Congressional Budget Office report estimated that the average active duty soldier receives an average $99,000 per year in compensation that includes pay and benefits, with 60 percent of the total being non-cash compensation. As an example, the Army website broke down the annual $29,380 compensation of a military police sergeant into $29,380 for salary, $16,164 for housing, $3,900 for food allowances, $1,800 for special pay, and tax advantages of $2,716. An example of tax savings are the allowances for food and housing, which are typically exempt from both federal and states taxes
Since January 27, 1973, as the Vietnam War drew to a close, the Selective Service announced that there would be no further draft calls. So, for more than 43 years, every person entering the military has done so voluntarily. At some level, these volunteers all know that the military is not in the business of serving people, the military is in the business of killing people. "And cousin, business is a-booming!"
As I have written in a previous article regarding the current state of our elections, media, government, and nation, "Nobody is ready, willing, or able to ask and/or answer questions of substance." Obviously, in a democracy, politicians support the troops because they want their votes. In other banana republics, politicians might not need their votes, but still need the military to remain in power by force.
In America, today, as Rozeff illustrates in the quote at the top of this article, We, The People, are giving up real liberty in exchange for perceived security in time of war. If you disagree, then just take a look at the so-called Patriot Act:
So, I am posting this article to ask the hard question, why, exactly, Americans should support our troops in 2016? And, I want to provide in the ZH comments section, below, an open opportunity for veterans of voluntary military service since 1973, active duty military, their families, and really anyone to respond to the question, and to make their case, because I clearly do not get it.
Here are a few excerpts with hyperlinks to items that might be useful in fueling this discussion, and providing insight into the arguments that would likely be necessary in order to overcome my lack of understanding.
The Soldiers' Honor Fallacy. The ancient fallacy that all who wore a uniform, fought hard and followed orders are worthy of some special honor or glory or are even "heroes," whether they fought for freedom or fought to defend slavery, marched under Grant or Lee, Hitler, Stalin or McArthur, fought to defend their homes, fought for oil or to spread empire, or even fought against and killed U.S. soldiers!. A corrupt argument from ethos (that of a soldier), closely related to the "Finish the Job" fallacy ("Sure, he died for a lie, but he deserves honor because he followed orders and did his job to the end!"). See also "Heroes All." This fallacy was recognized and decisively refuted at the Nuremburg Trials after World War II but remains powerful to this day nonetheless. See also "Blind Loyalty." Related is the State Actor Fallacy, that those who fight and die for a country (America, Russia, Iran, the Third Reich, etc.) are worthy of honor or at least pardonable while those who fight for a non-state actor (abolitionists, guerrillas, freedom-fighters, jihadis) are not and remain "terrorists" no matter how noble or vile their cause, until or unless they are adopted by a state after the fact.
Standing armies are controlled by the governments, which are now so obviously controlled by the elite, and are very much a force of tyranny. You see, local militias are controlled by The People, not the government, and are indeed, "necessary to the security of a free State." I understand that many of our nation's founders agree with me on these points.
A two-star general who was found dead at an Army base this summer died by suicide...
A total of 265 active-duty troops died by suicide in 2015, according to a Defense Department report from May. The Army had a suicide rate of nearly 30 suicides per 100,000. By comparison, the national rate in 2014 was about 13 per 100,000 citizens, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Rossi was scheduled to take over as commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command, the Associated Press reported.
Special forces operations in Iraq and Syria are reportedly hamstrung by fears over war crimes prosecutions being brought against them retrospectively.
The elite soldiers are fearful of legal reprisals in what critics of full legal oversight are framing as a climate of litigation.
The UK is currently embroiled in a row over attempts to hold troops to account in relation to allegations of abuse and even murder from recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In fact, the dozens of Vietnam vets I have spoken to ALL strongly support America's war against Muslims.
I also want to reiterate five of the steps in my Revolutionary Call to Arms, which I believe are highly relevant to this discussion, and to further contemplation of this topic. I have successfully encouraged my sons, and many of their teenage friends, to take these steps during high school, when they are being exposed to intensive military recruiting. I hope many readers are able to do the same.
8. Read, 1984, by George Orwell.
15. Research your two senators and one congressman at https://www.opensecrets.org/ Make a list of their 10 biggest donors, and send the list to your "representative" in an email or letter.
16. Read, War is a Racket, by Smedley D. Butler.
17. Read, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, by Dave Grossman.
18. Watch the online video of the TED Talk, A radical experiment in empathy, by Sam Richards.