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imperialism & war

Should we support the troops?

Is it possible to be antiwar but still support the troops?
Somewhere in a thinktank deep in the bowels of the Ministry of Propoganda sometimes after the Vietnam war someone came up with the idea that instead of supporting the war we will tell the public to support the troops. If you don't support the war you must be "anti-people", "you don't care about the soldiers fighting, suffering and dying". Any liberal or lefty that questions the validity of war deserves to get his ass kicked because he's insulting the sacrifice of the brave soldiers. Clever isn't it? Even people on the far left will get caught up in this and become "cheerleaders" for the troops.

Aren't the troops the muscle behind imperialism? fascism? capitalism? Any dictatorial power that uses force to compel obedience needs soldiers, without them they would be nothing. Remember the song by Donovon? Universal Soldier? He figured that out a long time ago.

Is there any justification for anyone to join the military? If you are poor, uneducated with no employment prospects does that justify becoming a soldier? If you kill people in your role as a solider (with the blessing of the government) are you really a hero or a murderer?

Any opinions on this out there? A flame war over this subject has erupted on this blog: http://www.pudgyindian.blogspot.com Questions about supporting the troops have been debated and charges of racism have been leveled, check it out.


It's the use of language. I'll give you another one: 19.Mar.2007 12:20

Fred Bauer

"Do you approve of the way the president is handling the war?"

If you say "Yes" that means you support more of the same. If you say "No" that means you support a more gloves off approach.

(Have you stopped beating your wife?)

The question should be: "Do you approve of the war?"

My answer is "No".

Fuck The Troops 19.Mar.2007 12:28

another white male for anarchy

Yeah, my impulse is to shout "fuck the troops", but to do this we have to forget an important detail: members of US military are deceived, tricked into joining up. Lies about money for college, for example. Poor people join the miltary, so "fuck the troops" coming from middle class white kids with options is bullshit. We're lucky the army isn't our ONLY ticket out a fucked up life. Also, let's not forget all the insurgents who're joining the Iraqi police and military for the free training and the free guns and ammo. Anarchists say "fuck the troops" but go running when the troops come gunning, because we don't know how to shoot back. Nonetheless, if someone breaks into your house (or country) with a gun and starts shooting up the place, fuck em, even if they have anti-war mom's back home.

not the only option 19.Mar.2007 13:58

nevermore

comeing from a poor person that didnt join the army i just want to say that im sick of people using the excuse that they didnt have anywhere else to go and that they didnt have any options. thats not true every single person that has joined the army made the choice to become a pawn of the government. and there are other ways to get out of their fucked up lives. any other way is better in my opinion.

The fight "over" the troops. 19.Mar.2007 14:43

Xman

One reason that usually gets overlooked is that both "sides" want the support of the troops. Meaning, in Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of vets became anti-war and contributed greatly to the end.
Having the troops on ones side validates each side for different reasons.
Troops and their loyalty are "the" weapon of war. A largely unknown fact is, a big part of the reason we got out of Vietnam was that the soldiers there, just refused to fight. Huge groups of them.
Can't fight a war with no soldiers.
Bush is doing all he can to avoid that.
1. all volunteer.
2. illegal to show american corpses on tv. not even coffins.
3. imbedded journalists that show us nothing.
4. much greater brainwashing.
What else?

Anti-war folks "support the troops", so anti-war faction is seen as "welcoming" to the troops. A warm place to go when they think twice about killing.
There are more reasons of course.

Let's support the troops going AWOL 19.Mar.2007 15:09

shivacat

how else will it end?
Tell the soldiers to shuck their brainwashing and indoctrination and go AWOL
Get the hell out of there!

Link is broken 19.Mar.2007 15:22

help

The posted url link is broken. Type in "pudgy indian" in google and you will go right to it. It's Eugene Johnson's blog, he posts a lot regarding Native American issues, but he still supports the troops.

They don't have my support 19.Mar.2007 16:47

expat in Kiwiland

It was their choice to join the military, and it continues to be their choice in fighting.
Why should I support them? No way.
It's not just Bush/Cheney and the ruling class thats the problem... its the ones pulling the triggers too.

However, the ones that refuse to fight have my undying support.

to answer a question 19.Mar.2007 19:52

with a question

First some premises:

1) Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland in 1939 telling the German people it was necessary to protect their safety. Of course, documents show that the invasion had been planned far in advance (certainly prior to the Gleiwitz attack) and was just the first objective in a larger plan.

1) Bush Jr ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003 telling the US people it was necessary to protect their safety. Of course, documents show that the invasion had been planned far in advance (certainly prior to the 9/11 attack) and was just the first objective in a larger plan.

So the question one can ask, to gain some historical perspective and objectivity, is:

Should the German people have supported the Nazi troops?

I support each and every member of our troops.... 19.Mar.2007 22:28

wobb.

Yup, each and every member... of the black block. Cause, really, you have to remember, the US military ain't "our" troops. They're the capitalists' troops. Why should I give a shit about them other than caring that hey, hrmm... they ain't actually *here* in the US. (Golden opportunity for revolution actually... the military ain't here to protect the fuckers and it would take *quite* a while for them to get here...).

Do I care about the people in the military. Of course. I care enough for them that I want them to stop obeying their masters and either lie their weapons down and come home and help fight a fight for other members of their class or even better, turn those weapons on their officers.

and to "help".... 19.Mar.2007 22:52

Rhonda again sweet_earth_lover@hotmail.com

He does (support the troops)?! Big surprise to me, since Eugene and I have stood together in protest of this F***ING war right in front of the recruiting office for 10 months now (I've been there for 21 months). In fact, he made a sign that memorializes a 14 year old Iraqi girl raped and killed by U.S. troops. When people ask him about it, he tells them the NAMES of the troops who did it.

I can't speak for him, though. As for me, I support people who want to end war. I don't care if they are pacifists or not, vegetarians or not, Christians or not, in the military or not,....

Listening to Darrell Anderson (Iraq war C.O.) when he spoke here in Portland a while ago gave me a much different perspective on the troops than I had before hearing him. He helped me remember that they are my relatives, too - even though I can't support the things they've done and are doing in Iraq.

Things just aren't as black and white (no pun intended) as some of us well-meaning people seem to think.

clarification 20.Mar.2007 01:23

j

Response to the analogy to Nazi Germany:

Hindsight is 20/20. Of course now we can say, no one should have been in the Nazi army. Atrocities were committed, etc. But at the time, as you acknowledge, there was much disinformation by the government, lying to make the war effort seem noble. As the current anti-war movement has taken time to become popular, we can now say without any hesitation that the war is wrong. Some soldiers want to make the same anti-war declaration but have already been brainwashed into unity and are afraid of federal prison. Many soldiers signed up before any war even began. Remember how preposterous the idea of war sounded pre-9/11? People were in the reserves and now they're active and can't get out. "fuck the troops" is as much a blanket statement as "support the troops." There are many forces in this thing and to focus on the poorest of all seems too easy.

also, for those interested, go to the goarmy.com discussion boards.

Thank You 20.Mar.2007 02:44

Eugene Johnson

Thank you for passing people on to my blog, not that I care if people read it.

What I do, as I have tried to explain to you, Serephim, is try to get those men to stop pulling the trigger. There are many different methods to do this. However, it is Zek who brought up that institutionally racist bullshit on my blog, and you who heavily support it, and I'm rather fucking tired of it. Read Inga Muscio's book, "Autobiography of a Blue Eyed Devil." I still stand by my offer of purchasing you a copy.

Now tell me, Serephim, what would you do with people like Darrell Anderson, Erin Watada, Suzanne Swift, Ishmael Beah, etc. Should I tell these people to fuck off because they are or have been in the military.

Tell me, Serephim, would you go out to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation where the unemployment rate is %80 to %86 and preach to them your views on their children, friends, relatives, who join the military? You have a very narrow scope on what I do, but somehow, you are so much holier than me is what is insinuated in your wording. Tell me what it is you do, sister, besides explain what is and isn't racism to me? Here is what I tell my fellow Indians:

When you join the military, you are joining the same system that has and continues to commit genocide against your people. However, I do understand the conditions in much of Indian life that would motivate you to do so; lack of opportunity on the rez, starvation (on Pine Ridge, most people are starving at the end of each month), hopes of getting off of the rez, etc.

I don't hold these things AGAINST these people. I understand these conditions. I don't go and tell them so arrogantly as Zek did to me that they there for have no right to speak out about the attrocities enacted upon their people. Here in this alleged great nation, there are always plenty of non-Indian and especially white and white-identified folks on all ends of the spectrum, right and left, who are willing to tell us Indians what we can and cannot do. There are plenty of folks to take away any and all forms of our autonomy. You and Zek are just a couple more of said folks.

As far as the troops go, they are my fellow human beings, like you and Zek. I want my fellow human beings to stop killing each other and I am doing my best to end that. Like I told you previously, institutional racism is the shit that gets on my nerves more than any other, and you and Zek display it well and defend like every other person I have ran into that is immersed deeply in it. I'm a little fucking tired of it, having lived it for 43 years, and now, in my semi-old age, it really fucking pisses me off.

No sympathy for the troops 20.Mar.2007 09:41

Seraphim

Eugene, you have on one hand condemn actions of the troops and on the other voice support for their "welfare" and the infrastructure that supports their activities. It is that contradiction that you were called on. You then went ballistic, screamed racism and made threats. That's it in a nutshell.

Sorry, I have no sympathy for anyone who puts on a uniform and takes up a gun in the name of capitalism. The world is headed into an era of untold environmental devastation and human suffering and it is these mind numbed nazi stormtroopers that are doing the dirty work for the rich. They are no less responsible than the masters they serve. Eugene, you moan about soldiers and their pensions, medical care and getting exposed to environmental toxins. I say they get what they deserve.

I want to thank you both for posting this on Indymedia. I was not going to be so gauche as to start up the discussion myself, I just pointed the way to anyone who might be interested. Personally, I welcome the court of public opinion, that's one of the reasons I posted this. That's hardly chickenshit Rhonda. I want people to see what was said on Eugene's blog. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Are you two trying to distract people from Eugene's irrational behavior on his blog? Go ahead. But anyone can go to Pudgy Indian and see for themselves.

no sympathy? 20.Mar.2007 12:51

oldanarchist

"I have no sympathy for anyone who puts on a uniform and takes up a gun in the name of capitalism."

Seraphim: Very few, if any, take up a gun in the name of capitalism. We all were children once and we all thought the way we were taught. As a draft-dodger/protestor of the Indo-Chinese Wars, I was attacked, spit on, and eventually jailed upon crossing the border from Canada, but I never thought that the troops were responsible for the wars. In fact, my primary allies in the fight against our monstrous policy of slaughter and torture in "Indian territory" (yes, that's still what they call areas of resistance) are vets who courageously have admitted their mistakes and have gone on to make recompense.

None of us have done enough to stop our bipartisan-annointed attack on the indigenous people of Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and, yes, still the U.S. (among others). We are all complicit, because none of us has done enough.

What Arrogance! 20.Mar.2007 15:37

Eugene Johnson

"I say they get what they deserve."

You, Serephim, who names herself after an angel, seems to have lost part of your humanity. The same style, but not the same intensity, as the folks you claim to speak out against. What makes you different than "the troops" other than the fact you aint killing them?

Let's take this back to my issue of you being "institutionally racist," as that is how our little interaction began.

Because I feel empathy and humanity for the folks who pull the trigger for many different reasons than the simple ONE you imperially claim in your superiority upon your fellow human beings, Zek suddenly became my "personal dictator" and told me I no longer had the right to complain about what the "Amerikans" did to my people. You jumped in with complete support of Zek's imperial powers over me to dictate what I can and cannot do as an Indian. That makes you institutionally racist. What "watery tart lobbed a sword" in your general direction and made you and Zek my fucking kings?! You and Zek are nothing but a couple of imperialist dictators who have somehow been given the right to take away my rights in whole or IN PART! That makes you institutionally FUCKING RACIST! You have not brought up any more of you imperialist dictates that don't involve my race!

Since you claim that this is not racist, I assume you will be out there counter protesting the grannies of the Surge Protection Brigade and attempting to force your imperialist dictates upon them as well as they believe and use the same or similar methods that I do. Otherwise, it will just add to the evidence that you and Zek, are indeed, racist little dictator wannabees.

You came to my blog with you SUPERIOR ideals. I say superior because you believe you have the RIGHT to lord it over me in a dictatorial manner. That would indicate you feel a superiority over me otherwise I do not believe you would act like you have the RIGHT to tell me how to live my life as an Indian in whole or IN PART!

Let's talk the racist fucking shit, asshole! You have not brought up any other imperialist dictates that you wish to lord over me other than my race! You seem to know why EVERY person in the military pulls the trigger. You seem to have lost some of your humanity for your fellow human beings. And again, you seem to have given yourself the right (or some "watery tart lobbed a sword" in your general direction) to be my own personal fucking dictator and tell me what I can and cannot do as an Indian IN WHOLE OR IN PART! I am here to tell you, asshole! You have no fucking right to do so, and I will fight that self imposed right you have until you either back down or give up!

And! My offer still stands! I will buy you Inga Muscio's book, "Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil." It's all about institutional racism. You claim not to be white, but you are DEFINITELY "white-identified."

I look forward to the contiued battles with your arrogant racist self, Serephim!

And Furthermore 20.Mar.2007 16:16

Eugene Johnson

I admire what you folks in the Black Bloc do. You put your bodies on the line. You display a form of bravery that is very admirable.

I think of how you folks burn effigies of "the troops" and carry the signs saying "Fuck The Troops." I think, "How would I feel if I were in the military and saw this?" I know folks in the military are taught to band together. They are taught to protect their brothers and sisters IN THE MILITARY. They are taught (but not always successfully) to disregard their humanity. In this empathetic mind frame, I would just hunker down and consider you a domestic threat to me and my buddies. However, I AM NOT AND NEVER HAVE BEEN IN THE MILITARY. I would also never attempt to tell you you couldn't burn effigies or carry such signs. I'm not your leader. I am the leader of no one but myself.

Personally, I use different methods. I talk with these fellows. I give them copies of "War is a Racket." Different means looking for the same ends, I assume. I would never tell you what you can or cannot do. I aint your leader, I aint your dictator, even though I do come from a blood line that has held historical leadership amongst my peoples.

However, Serephim and Zek have given themselves dictatorial powers over me allowing them the superiority and domination to dictate what I can and cannot do as an indigenous person ON MY OWN FUCKING LAND! It is a war without guns. I will NOT stand down.

The "chickenshit" comment by Rhonda comes mostly at the fact that I put my identity out there. I want the world folks to know who and what I am and what I stand for. I want no more war. I want health care and human rights for ALL. But, most importantly...I WANT EVERYTHING BACK! ALL OF IT! EVERY LAST BIT OF IT! And I will stand against ANY fucking dictator, great or small, that tries to tell me what I can and cannot do ON MY OWN FUCKING LAND that is currently occupied by an imperialist colonialist government NOT OF MY CHOOSING!

I have two other names besides Eugene Douglas Johnson. I was also given the name by an auntie of "He Who Laughs a Lot." I was given a name by my adoptive Blackfoot parents of "Itsu Tapi Kuwan," which means "Lives by the Shore." Or, as my Blackfoot brother calls me..."Coastal." I am not afraid to put forth my identity and let you know that most weekday early afternoons, you can find me at KBOO, 20 SE 8th. I occasionally put my body on the line, but am not too interested in gettin myself arrested for personal reasons, another reason why I admire the Black Bloc (whom I refer to as Peaceful Non-Violent Protestors Who are Willing to Put Their Bodies on the Line). I also produce a Native American program called "Mitakuye Oyasin" on KBOO where I speak out constantly about war in its many forms. I also co-host "Native Nations" on Metro East Television. It is easy to find my face. It is easy to find out what I believe. I will use my own name. This, in the 12 or so years I've been behaving in such a manner, has only gotten me followed once (as you can read on my blog from a post sometime in December). As well as one other time when two such vehicles appeared and circled several times at the vigil I participate in every Tuesday in front of the recruiting center on Broadway where I am at from 5-6pm.

I am not, however, willing to put up with any dictator, large or small, to tell me or any of my fellow indigenous type folks what I/we can and cannot do on our own FUCKING LAND! And I will allot you the same respect, to do what you will to end war on my land, but that does NOT mean you get to be my dictator.

I do NOT speak for Indians as a whole, but I will DEFEND them from any and all dictators to the best of my ability...and I do!

Hey Black Bloc'ers 20.Mar.2007 16:27

Eugene Johnson

I plan on playing "Bubbles" by System of a Down on Thursday's "Mitakuye Oyasin" in honor of your efforts. "Left with no arms, in the power struggle."

I pointed out to the folks on the corner as we were leaving the riots downtown on Sunday who claimed to be the "real" peace folks and "not know[ing]" who you and your supporters and the other folks were in the park that you all were "unarmed non-violent PEACEFUL protestors" and that the cops were "heavily armed, exteremly dangerous and VERY violent police type folks."