Support our troops

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Cries to "support our troops" or "support the troops" are a common mantra on the USian political right wing; the phrase is seen frequently on bumper-stickers and occasionally is displayed by small businesses in right-leaning areas.


In most contexts, the phrase appears to be used an emotional appeal against anti-war advocacy, despite the fact that one could support the troops while opposing the war. Indeed, people who display "support the troops" tend heavily to vote for politicians who start wars, thus leading to more troops in need of support.

This logically suggests that "support the troops", to its advocates, does not mean "support the people who have volunteered to put their lives on the line in the name of protecting USian interests", but rather "support the idea of having troops – the more, the better" – a theory which is further supported by the fact that these same politicians also tend to cut benefits for war veterans.


There are in fact quite a number of reasons not to "support the troops", either in the individual sense or as an idea:

  • There's no reason to support someone just for joining the military; individual troopers can be good or bad people, good or bad soldiers, etc.
    • The military often attracts people who enjoy harming others, and certainly does not discourage this tendency.
  • Military culture is often toxic in a lot of ways.
    • Sexual assault is rampant and usually covered up.
  • In today's society, troops are rarely if ever used in defense of the US itself; they are generally used aggressively and pre-emptively against other nations and organizations we decide to label as "terrorists". There has not been an actual military attack against the US since the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
  • The US military is something like three times as large per capita as that of any other country; this is clearly excessive. We need less military, not more.
  • The idea of an organization where people are trained to obey without question, and where dissent is often actively punished, goes directly against the ideals of a free society.