CAN YOU SUPPORT THE TROOPS WITHOUT SUPPORTING THEIR MISSION?
Until listening to Michael Medved's show on the radio yesterday, The Sage and I firmly believed we supported our troops though opposing the Iraq War since before the invasion. After all, we've had three nephews and a daughter's boyfriend over there, and another daughter who volunteered but was kept out because of medical reasons. As I've often stated on this blog, I come from a long, proud military family.
The theme of the day was Michael's contention that one CAN'T be said to "support the troops" if one doesn't support their "mission." You can LIKE them, he said, you can feel varying degrees of appreciation for their sacrifice, but you can't SUPPORT them. Michael repeatedly conflated support for the troops with agreement with George Bush's policies re Iraq.
Hm, we said. Sure THOUGHT, like Cindy Sheehan, that we supported our loved ones and all the other men and women who, we know, have put their lives on the line not for Dubya, but to protect and defend the United States of America. We don't blame them for being lied to, like the rest of us, about phantom threats against our nation; we honor their intentions.
Maybe we just don't understand the meaning of "support." So I took a look at good old dictionary.com for some enlightenment. First observation: none of these terms refers in any way to agreeing with the mission of that which is being supported. A pillar may support a roof, but it doesn't have to agree that the roof needs to be there. The pillar could argue that that's the architect's decision; its job is just to keep the roof from falling down. Now that may sound like a ridiculous thing to say, but then it's no more ludicrous than what Michael was saying.
Here's how dictionary.com defines the word:
To bear the weight of, especially from below. (OK, let's skip that one. No score for either side.)
To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping. (Let's give one point one to Bush for his immovable "stay the course" policy. He's adamant about keeping the troops in position. But let's take away a point since keeping them in position is causing them to fall, sink, slip. Net zero.)
To be capable of bearing; withstand: “His flaw'd heart... too weak the conflict to support” (Shakespeare). (Let's skip this one also. It just doesn't seem analagous.)
To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen: The letter supported him in his grief. (I'd give both sides equal points for conveying our respect for the troops themselves, no matter our ideology. We're all Americans here.)
To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities. (I'd give 0 points for our side because of our Democratic Congressmen's inability to move legislation through -- though possibly no fault of their own -- to provide proper armor, equipment and ammunition to our troops, or to put sufficient pressure on the administration to do so. I'd give the Bush side a negative point, since they could, but haven't.)
To furnish corroborating evidence for: New facts supported her story. (Skip for same reason as previously noted.)
To aid the cause, policy, or interests of: supported her in her election campaign. (One point for us for our efforts to oppose or end this fiasco and bring our troops back home safely. Negative point for BushCo for cutting veterans benefits and other anti-soldier policies.)
To argue in favor of; advocate: supported lower taxes. (It's a wash -- everyone spouts pro-military rhetoric. It's only actions that count.)
To endure; tolerate: “At supper there was such a conflux of company that I could scarcely support the tumult” (Samuel Johnson). (Same; we'd durn sure better tolerate the guys making the sacrifices.)
To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer). (One point for our side; we're trying to save their very lives. Negative point for BushCo -- they subordinate themselves to no one.)
Final score: three points for our side; negative two for Bush.
Yeah. Screw you, Michael. We support the troops.