Columnwhoring: On Ribbons


Supporting our troops has to mean more than mouthing the words. It has to mean more than waving a flag, and it has to mean more than feeling good about the military. Feelings are nice, but for too long all Americans have been called upon to do in this war is to feel.

Americans should be called upon to act, to remedy shortcomings in veterans’ health care and raise military pay, to make sure that those who fight for us abroad won’t be helpless at home, won’t be jobless and even homeless, their sacrifices shoved aside.

The troops who come home from war should be greeted with parades, yes, but they should also be greeted with doctors and nurses, with promises of support that are backed up by more than just yellow ribbon decals.

The congressional investigations and administrative panel inquiries into how such scandalously substandard conditions came to be are a good start, but those examinations must be followed up with action.

If our armed forces are to continue to fight in Iraq and elsewhere — and this president seems determined to make it so — then we must ensure that that fight is underpinned by assurances for those actually doing the fighting.

Assurances that they will come home not just to gratitude but to assistance, not just to adulation but to a country’s care. If we cannot feed and house and nurse and truly support all our veterans, then we have work to do here at home before we send them anywhere else.

Any further permission for troops to engage in combat should be considered in light of the amount of resources to be devoted to actually handling the consequences of that combat. Anything less is unfair to the troops we’ve been slapping all those stickers on our cars to support.

So, seriously, which casual Republican sacred cow should I aim at next week?

(Nothing stirs up the crazy like saying buying a magnet isn’t enough of a sacrifice.)


7 thoughts on “Columnwhoring: On Ribbons

  1. While I object to the whole meme about how vitally important it is to “support the troops”, if you’re going to take that seriously, you should also make sure that they are properly paid and their families back home are properly cared for. It would require making sure that they have jobs waiting for them, or that they get assistance in finding new jobs in the event their employers couldn’t hold their jobs indefinitely. It would require protection for families who are being crippled by debt as the primary breadwinner (or even just one of the breadwinners) is fighting abroad on reduced pay, and if that means revising or destroying the Bankruptcy Act, so be it (I personally believe the Bankruptcy Act is an abomination that should be destroyed right after the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, but that’s just me). I’m sure we could come up with more concrete ways to support the troops, since we seem to be stuck with that meme and it’s all but heresy to suggest that there are higher values in American politics than “supporting the troops.”

  2. This dovetails closely to the point of Glenn Greenwald: these people don’t ask shit for sacrifice. They say it’s the greatest struggle of all time and tell people to go shopping.
    The sickening sonzabitches can’t even ask people to pay for their god damn war. They just run up a trillion in debt fot nothing, why, how can that be a problem?
    Start by telling people to pay for the war. A $500 surcharge for every family until it’s over. Then see what these snot-brained butt-monkey magnet-sticking slimeballs do then. Yeah, we know what they’d do.

  3. This is not going to win me friends and adulation, but organized religion is in large part to blame for the American idea that sticking a yellow sticker on the back of their car amounts to supporting the troops. Organized religion doesn’t ask people to do anything, except pray. They are told that they are powerless, so they have to get down on their knees, preferably in a group, and pray, preferably out loud, referring to the God they worship with the right terminology, and that’s the best they can do. So, of course these people want to use the same technique to “support the troops”. Only the “prayer” is a yellow sticker, attached by magnet, so they don’t even have to sacrifice the paint job on the car. Then, they have done all they can do, except for showing their contempt for those of us who think one has to actually do something in order to do something.
    Ok, the line forms to the right…take one swing only, until everyone has their turn.

  4. I’m sure the troops are sooo grateful knowing there are all those yellow ribbons back home. Sure beats the hell out of quality equipment and armor, yesireebob.

  5. There are frigging yellow ribbons all over my hometown (Whitebreadville, Soviet Canuckistan), onaccounta our army guys being in Afghanistan. It makes me want to walk around with a tiny pair of sewing scissors, seriously. I actually find these ribbons offensive. I support the troops — I support their right to be taken the hell out of the combat zone, come home, and take a nice civilian job like civilised folks. I will support the hell out of any government programme that allows them to do just that, even if it’s Stephen Effing Harper’s government programme (yeah, right).

  6. You know, if you were to add up all the actual effort expended to “support the troops” by 100 drivers of SUVs bearing the appropriate magnets, odds are, it wouldn’t add up to even one percent of the effort expended by Cher in “supporting the troops”.
    Funny isn’t it, how one left-liberal Hollywood entertainer has done more than the average GOP elected official.

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