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'Stop saying "Support the troops"'

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Thought-provoking piece in (on? at?) Salon.com, inspired by the subtle disapproval the writer felt when he elected not to donate to "the troops" at a local convenience store:


    Such troop worship is trite and tiresome, but that’s not its primary danger. A nation that continuously publicizes appeals to “support our troops” is explicitly asking its citizens not to think. It is the ideal slogan for suppressing the practice of democracy, presented to us in the guise of democratic preservation.

    He also hits on something that we have discussed on here before, which is the NFL's co-opting of the armed forces, particularly at the Super Bowl:

    No televised sporting event escapes celebration of the troops. Networks treat viewers to stars and stripes covering entire football fields, complementing the small-but-always-visible flags the studio hosts sport on their lapels. The national anthem is often accompanied by fighter jets and cannon blasts. Displays of hypermasculine prowess frame the reciprocal virtues of courage and devotion embedded in American war mythology.

    I would recommend to everyone here last year's novel "Billy Lynne's' Long Halftime Walk," which depicts brilliantly what a group of soldiers deal with after being lionized by the public.
  2. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    As long as we get to keep the phantom jet flyovers.
  3. nmmetsfan

    nmmetsfan Active Member

    To say that asking someone to support the troops is asking them not to think is false equivalency.

    If you blindly throw money (or attention, or whatever) at something just because "Support the troops" is invoked, then that is on you.

    This story jumps to a lot of conclusions that aren't necessarily accurate. For instance:

    To support the troops is to accept a particular idea of the American role in the world. It also forces us to pretend that it is a country legitimately interested in equality for all its citizens.

    That's simply not true.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    At this point I think we should support and thank the workers who make the drones.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's exactly what it was asking when the slogan made its debut during the first Iraq War. The whole "spitting on soldiers" myth was strong at that point, and a voice questioning whether and why we should invade Iraq was lumped in with the anti-Vietnam feelings of 15 years earlier. Over time, and especially with the second Iraq war, it became a standard and popular way to discourage dissent.

    It's also a Komen-esque way to raise funds for groups with undefined purposes. If you don't give to Komen, you don't care about cancer; if you don't give to "Support The Troops" groups, you don't care about soldiers.
  6. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    This is absolute nonsense. It would be a suppression of the practice of democracy, if the person who asked him for money was a government agent. Presumably it wasn't; it was a private charitable organization of some sort with a mission that has to do with troops.

    When you are hitting up people walking by for money, what else would you say, except "support the troops"? Is the person who says, "Support breast cancer research" using an ideal slogan for suppressing the practice of democracy?

    My bigger problem with people with cans in the street is that there are more scam artists out there than legitimate causes. I never give cash to random people in the street. If you have anything that allows me to learn more about your charity, your programs and most importantly, the percentage of fundraising expenses and overhead (including salaries) to the money that actually goes to funding your programs, I will take a look at what you are doing and if I like the cause, I'll write a (tax deductible -- I don't think it should be a deduction, but as long as it is, I am going to take it) check.
  7. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    This is an old story. Several alumni friends of mine wrote a letter to Virginia Tech's vice president demanding the author be fired for this take, but they're the sort of hardcore conservatives who would be pissed off by such rhetoric.
  8. Big Circus

    Big Circus Well-Known Member

    I didn't realize this was the VT piece - I saw it on his website a few weeks ago. Some of the reaction (not speaking of your friends here) probably has to do with Salaita's ethnicity.
  9. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Great book. Skewers everything, even the troops.
  10. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I have a problem with anyone retailer asking me to support a
    cause while at cash register.

    Petco does that and it drives me nuts. "Sir do you want to
    support cats with no feet today?"

    CVS does it also if you pay using atm card. Not only do you
    have to enter your code but then a prompt comes up asking if you
    would like to donate to whatever the cause of the month is.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    As long as we can sing 20-minute versions of 'God Bless America' at every New York Yankees game to help The Official Team Of 9/11 defeat terrorism, and stuff.
  12. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Suppose to thank the troops for "defending our way of life" . Whenever I hear it it always makes me feel a bit sheepish as I sit in a ridiculously priced seat eating ridiculously priced food and then sit in hours of traffic getting home. Maybe "our way of life" is not
    always what it is cracked up to be.
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