‘Do You Support Our Policy?'

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Editor:

Thoughtful Americans who take seriously their Constitutional obligations should strenuously disregard the puerile declamations of simpletons claiming that, for the sake of our troops, we are obliged to shut our mouths once the bombing begins.

The "support the troops" question is not a sincere question at all, but a rhetorical barbed wire fence thrown up by the desperate to stifle criticism, not of our soldiers, but of a carcinogenic U.S. foreign policy.

As Noam Chomsky writes in "American Power and the New Mandarins," abuse of the troops by those opposed to war is "indefensible. Soldiers are unwitting instruments of terror; one does not blame or attack the club that is used to bludgeon someone to death."

As he writes in "Media Control," "The point of public relations slogans like ‘Support our troops' is that they don't mean anything ... The issue (is), Do you support our policy? But you don't want people to think about that issue. That's the whole point of good propaganda."

Our troops, according to the Pentagon, will be responsible for an onslaught of 3,000 Tomahawk missiles on Baghdad in a period of 48 hours to remove one egocentric tyrant who, according to our own C.I.A., poses no credible threat to United States security, and had no involvement in 9/11. Individuals who are morally repulsed by this spectacle, and intellectually honest with themselves, neither want harm to come to our troops, nor for them to participate in this hideous massacre of defenseless Iraqi civilians. What can "support" possibly mean in such an Orwellian context? Again, Chomsky, in "Media Control": "You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy?" It's no less shameful to exploit our troops to silence debate than it is to castigate them for doing their duty.

No decent American wishes harm to our troops; rather, it is our responsibility as patriotic citizens to guarantee that our military is deployed honorably. If is used dishonorably, in a war many legal experts believe is a violation of international law and grotesquely disproportionate to its proposed objective, then support of our troops means that we bring them home immediately and spare two nations incalculable trauma.

Michael Crowley, Payson

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