No, thanks: Stop saying 'support the troops'

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No, thanks: Stop saying 'support the troops'

In addition to donating change to the troops, we are repeatedly impelled to “support our troops” or to “thank our troops.” God constantly blesses them. Politicians exalt them. We are warned, “If you can’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.” One wonders if our troops are the ass-kicking force of P.R. lore or an agglomeration of oversensitive duds and beggars.

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.


Read it [url=]her....

Issues Pages: 

Good piece.

I think, as with anything, it comes down to context, and doing things with a bit of thinking, as opposed to just as a reflex.

Was that money going to help wtih actual services for veterans, or just to buy more of those bumper stickers?

Fact is, both in the states and here there are enough soldiers and their families who wind up having their lives wrecked by their experience of war. And the sometimes evil job they do notwithstanding, it is a deadly job, and one which a  lot of people with few opportunities turn to by default.

So yeah, I do count those people among the many who deserve our support.

As the article points out though, I don't think that's what the person asking for the donation really meant. If our government truly supported the troops they wouldn't be cutting badly-needed services, and threatening and attacking those who call them on it.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

When did supporting the troops become synonymous with liking hockey?

There was a time when the idea of military pomp at a Canadian sporting event would have seemed absurdly out of place -- that was an American thing. Oh, how the times have changed.

These days, when you settle in to watch the Jets beat the Leafs on Saturday night, you do so understanding that there will almost inevitably be some kind of military spectacle on display. Maybe soldiers will rappel from the rafters to thunderous applause. Maybe there will be a moment of silence for our fallen heroes. Maybe Don Cherry will take us on an unscheduled trip to Kandahar in a jocular salute to the boys who are maintaining their team loyalties even while they keep us safe over there.

But wait -- over where? Keeping us safe from whom? Doesn't it matter?

Not according to the NHL, the CBC, or the countless franchises, broadcasters, sponsors and pundits who have made themselves a crucial component of the new Canadian militarism. Ours is not to talk about actual details of Canada's military engagements, it is simply to "support the troops." Those who question this mantra are told that while one may or may not agree with the particular deployments of the Canadian Armed Forces, we all have a responsibility to support the men and women who put their bodies on the line for us.



we just got a new battle gun or missle launcher (not sure what it is other a big green cannon type of gun) placed at our local small RCL cenotaph to commemorate  "no war" so they said. only ever saw them at  armories before not legions. i think our legions have been taken over by war mongers.


I thought they stopped doing shit like that years ago. I mean, there's a bit hunk of artillery at one of the armouries here, but it is 80 years old.



guess they didn't stop 'cause we just got it a month back or so. think it is a WWII relic. and the RCL here is very involved with the Rangers and Jr Rangers. to me they seem to be grooming the Jrs for a career in the military.


Recruiting not going so well I guess for them.


Marketing depts new plan


I can't stand the bumperstickers that read "If you don't stand behind our troops feel free to stand infront of them"Undecided



Most of the legion membership now is actually made up people who have never been in the military.  Legion members can even buy medals from a website and wear them.


Isn't that illegal? (I know it is in the States)


No it's not illegal. They are not buying "war medals". The medals they are allowed to buy are for any number of things including the same medal that justin beiber got.

The medals just look like war medals and people like you (possibly) or I (for sure) couldn't tell the difference between a medal for Korea and a medal for supporting a fund raiser.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

One commentator remarked that "support the troops" is an expression that means nothing. Or, rather, it can be used to mean anything.

Do we "support the troops" when they go to the bathroom? Do we "support the troops" when they miss the urinal and pee on the floor?

Do we "support the troops" when some of them come home and, suffering from PTSD, do harm to themselves or their loved ones?

Do we "support the troops" when their pants fall down? What about buying properly fitting bras for female soldiers?

Do we support the troops after they come home and give them the assistance they need to move on to new careers and activities?

Do we "support the troops" when they are involved in a war we don't support? What about when they hand over prisoners to other authorities who are known to use torture?

What does "support the troops" actually mean?

It means nothing. It is used to mean whatever the speaker wishes it to mean.