Many say they do, some of whom support the GWOT and others of whom do not. The leaders of their party certainly say they do, and quite often. There are many Republicans and Independents, and even some Democrat hawks, who question whether they really do but some of this can undoubtedly be chalked up to partisanship. So do Democrats really support the troops or is this a mere political slogan to curry favor with voters? For myself, while various actions of the DNC lead me to question whether their party does in fact “support the troops”, I recognize that there are individual Democrats who indeed do so — including decorated military veterans. They can certainly raise legitimate criticism of Republican mistakes and failures with regards to the military. It is a difficult question to answer and one probably colored so much by one’s own personal biases and ideological preferences that it becomes very difficult to address objectively. Perhaps like beauty it is in the eye of the beholder.
One problem with answering this question in the affirmative, for the party leadership at least, is their catering to and outright courting of extreme Left nutjobs like the Kossacks. We see mainstream Democrat leaders like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, along with arguably non-mainstream leaders such as DNC Chairman Howard Dean, California Senator Barbara Boxer, and retired NATO Commander Wesley Clark, all dutifully make the pilgrimage to the Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas this weekend. These figures are hardly lightweights but instead represent some of the most influential and powerful leaders of their party. Richardson and Warner are rumored to have presidential ambitions in 2008, while Dean and Clark are former candidates from 2004. Since they have thrown their support in with the Kossacks, one might reasonably ask them whether they also support the extremist lunacy which is a staple of this crowd. Just yesterday the internet was treated to such an example, which by no means is an isolated one (scroll down for Moulitsas’ infamous 2004 “Screw them” comment) at this site:
Those who oppose the war in Iraq but who nonetheless feel compelled to express “support” for “our troops” might reflect that, without those troops, there would be no war. Simply put, if today’s troops would behave only as George II did during his own military service–that is, go AWOL–there would be no one available to prosecute the war.
Press-ganged troops, like any prisoners, deserve support. But none of these troops have been press-ganged. This is not Vietnam. There is no draft. Anyone now in the American armed forces is there because s/he volunteered. True, many of these volunteers have been in some way coerced. But, because they are volunteers, they should be afforded the opportunity to at any time volunteer to opt out.
Those volunteers who remain are advancing what the French journal Liberation has correctly identified as George II’s “theocracy and pathocracy”: “a worldview that is intrinsically paranoid, imbued with visions of the most regressive Crusades, drenched in a frightening symbolism that sees any external opposition as evidence of crime and in which every decision and every action bear the seal of a vengeful divinity.” The metaphysician G. I. Gurdjieff, asked during WWI what soldiers might do if they were to become truly “awake,” replied: “They would drop their rifles and go home to their families.”
These–those leaving, those refusing to go–are those who truly deserve our “support,” who are truly “our troops.”
Perhaps someone should ask at least the honorable Richardson and Warner before they throw their hats into the ring in 2008, if they agree that when Democrats say “we support the troops” there is a quietly whispered caveat which the Kossacks do not seem to be afraid to voice aloud.