Don"t "Support the Troops"
Don’t “Support the Troops”
Two essential points to note before accepting the debate:
I am a vet and generally support US military policy
Bracketed comments below non-essential you can skip to Second
[I wanted to state that before I got some gung-ho Rambo type character whose only use of an assault weapon is to kill bambee and animals that any real hunter would use a bow on. I did not want a “well if you don’t support the troops you support terrorists argument.” Let me say I have supported a couple dozen, a couple dozen of dead ones we used as shrapnel shields on occasion. Hell, their good listeners too. I should apologize for the morbid sense of humor, don’t let it influence the argument that follows]
Why is “Support the Troops” in quotations?
To be clear, I am against support bumper-sticker patriotism. It will help if you read my first round argument given below to get an idea of what I mean specifically. This is important to read I would think before accepting the other side.
So I want to make clear from the outset, I am not anti-US military. Quite the opposite, I served. However, I cannot stand the people that come up to me and other veterans I know and say “thank you for your service” or when I see in rural towns “support the troops” or something like that because all I can think is could someone surpass the absolute meaninglessness of that statement. Most people I do understand just say this kind of thing reflexively and they are trying to be nice but the pro-military chest thumping, flag waving, and dick waving only last with any real meaning at the beginning, not when the war winds down. Personally, I had insurance through my wife’s business when I returned home from Iraq so I was in dire need of VA care. But I know a lot of guys missing eyes, large portions of their face, legs, genitals and some have been treated well under the VA but the real issue is VA funding. A couple of months ago, Congress debated whether to it was sound from an economic perspective. This made me even more cynical, especially from my own party, the Republican Party. I would like to see Mitch McConnell and his staff thrown into combat, lose some limbs and then find out their congressional healthcare was inadequately funded and would include long wait times like I’ve witness occur with some of my buddies. In my opinion, people should buy bumper stickers that say F’ the Troops with a member of Al Qaeda urinating on American flag. If enough people bought those stickers, veterans might actually see support for veterans and not just for a war.
Rules BOP is 50/50
I know some people don’t like only two rounds but I prefer it plus I allowed the maximum characters permitted.
Okay, I can't keep typing like that, and for those confused, that was a bit of a joke. I can fully appreciate the position that our Instigator has taken up, but I am confident that in the course of our short exchange, I will be able to demonstrate why 'bumbpersticker' patriotism is in fact a good thing.
We as Americans don't to 'moderation' very well. Pretty much all of preferences and choices get put into black and white (red vs blue/dem vs Rep/lib vs con) dichotomy. We can't even just buy and support sensibly a gaming console! We have it ingrained, culturally that you can't just like something to like something, your choice represents your very fiber of person, and judgement would come from being a Bud or Miller drinker. The one thing that we do agree on, though, would be our fighting men and women. They embody what our country was founded on. Those whom would volunteer, fight and die to ensure our way of life (no matter how screwed up it is, some times) is protected. That is a purity that rings true even in the most contrived of simple statements, and it doesn't take much personal investment to understand why, considering our manic tastes in decisions.
In the opening statements presented by our Instigator, he demonstrates exactly why some one SHOULD support the troops: "A couple of months ago, Congress debated whether to it was sound from an economic perspective. This made me even more cynical, especially from my own party, the Republican Party". It now falls to us as informed and patriotic Americans that those whom would consider debating this are put to pasture for not following even the most simple of statements that it fits on a bumper sticker: support the troops. That kind of simplicity sticks around. That is the kind of 'sound bite', and in the good way, that every American can rally behind, and vote on without a guilty conscience, or worry that some how their moral fiber is judged differently than their personal views on Coke or Pepsi.
That kind of simple patriotism, I think, is the kind we need; the kind that doesn't take a re-actionary knee jerk event to get in gear.
Thank you for a challenging subject.
If 90% of the population possessed the qualities that reveals in his writing, we would not be having this argument. You might ask, how so? So from what I can glean from my opponents writing, he is intelligence, sensible, and practical in assessing what are basic policy decision.
Now, given that I just expressed a sincere belief about my opponent great personal and intellectual capabilities I also believe these great qualities are problematic when it comes the realities the public and how Washington addresses policy issues, especially those that involve life and death, war and peace. When I can I try not to get too cynical, and I do think there is an explanation behind the SUPPORT for WAR but LACK of support for VETERANS.
Some of those reasons, as evinced by recent statistical analysis by Pew Research provides come from a couple of important factors like it is less and less the case that members of Congress have served, less of the public too, and general participation has declined. [I will insert the pictures at the end, even though the appropriate place is after the last sentence; sorry my understanding of how basic computer commands is abysmal and I apologize to voters to the lack for my inability to insert photos seamlessly into the text].
Argument 2: history of veterans and congress, repetitive patterns
People reading will likely see the Pew stats as trivial or secondary but contrary to what at first glance seems true, they reveal an interesting insight in a long history of veterans coming to find very little support from Congress. Let me quit evading the point: if you look at American military history, the political class and returning veterans have in from the beginning a contentious, acrimonious relationship. We don’t have to look hard to find examples. However, what you do see with participation and involvement by broad sections of the country, rather than the 1% of the population that serves today, you see consensus that support for means support after but it is non-existent the more the military and the public live in two distinct bubbles that never overlap.
Argument three: Examples from Revolutionary War and Civil War that illustrate SIMPLE PATRIOTISM = empty gesture or the WWE version of patriotism [read: fake]
Let’s look at the two most important wars (important in establish internal conflicts) the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. In both cases, you have congress (continental in first instance) unwilling, initially, to fulfill obligations made when outcomes were uncertain. As a result, the US may have quickly descended into a military dictatorship had Washington not step in and told them of the necessity and established civilian control before the Newburgh Conspiracy turned into anything ugly. The Civil War is provides an even more disgusting (because Revolutionary War funding relied on Articles of Confederation to allocate and rise money) case of not just neglect but distain for veterans. My personal interests of military history have led me to read thousands of newspapers before and after the end of the Civil War. It is incredibly enlightening, particularly the year 1865 and the months after the war. I will quote from some PDF files from digitalized news account of the time.
“The only national debt we can never pay is the debt we owe the victorious Union soldiers.” 71 The New York Herald made the praise global: “From one end of the world to the other, the people thank our soldiers for having conquered in the people’s cause.… Their remaining years may be passed in quiet usefulness at their homes.” By the end of 1865 , one million Union veterans had returned to civilian society, tens of thousands of whom could find no employment, especially those who had been seriously wounded. Within a few months of the war’s end, newspapers ran ads by veterans seeking any kind of employment, and editorials reminding the unemployed and homeless veterans that their poverty was their own fault. At a reception honoring returning veterans in Chicago, Illinois governor and former major general Richard J. Oglesby warned that they could not expect charity—” You must not expect to be taken and wrapped up in a gay cloak and put upon beds of down, and soup given to you in a silver spoon”— but needed to go get work. Many Chicago businessmen thought the claims of veterans grossly exaggerated, as they had spent most of the war “loafing” around their camps.
Conclusion: Why the VA episode mentioned in earlier round help explain why Bumper Sticker Patriotism is a hollow shell with a facade and an empty interior
Here is what I am saying: the simple patriotism mentioned in Con’s last round very little if in use value in effecting policy, and I would only reassert by contention in Round 1 about the VA Bill but let me put it in a different context. Far from being hidden or lodged on the last page of newspapers or in a 30 second segment on the nightly news, the VA Bill as well as problems that go back several decades, the issue was the central issue on every network, every print and online media, and for roughly three weeks stood out as the most significant news item in the United States. But what was interesting is that with all this attention about a specific issue like that one, it was really only tangiential concerned with veterans. The reality is that it was and end as a three with fight over whether you thought General Shinseki should be fired or not.
Secondary, non-argument related remarks:
I want to thank my opponent for the debate first off. And I want to apologize for taking my time limit down the last hour or so. I’m typically prompt but since Wednesday my construction company was making two new bids on a project, one of my site managers is running into problems with drywall subcontractors, and some heavy equipment at another site is late and stuck somewhere in rural Arkansas and they claim it is a third party who is responsible and liable for the cost. Anyway, felt I owed an explanation. Voters I apologize for basically going from a personal frustration argument that allowed me to vent before bed and then taking a different course entirely in the second wrong.
 New York Herald, May 24, 1865.
 Theodore J. Karamanski, Rally ’Round the Flag : Chicago and the Civil War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 240– 41.
Pro has brought a lot of good information to the table.
There are indeed serious policy questions that need to be brought to light, and the way our elected officials, and to be more germane, how our troops are used as political leverage, as well as personal means of enrichment.
Now, for the purposes of being the contender here, I am going to proffer up some points in opposition to Pro's statements, but I feel the scope of this particular debate, given how short its schedule is, altered a little in the second phase and leaves a lot more exploration to be done with regards to Pro's premise. In light of how Pro has explained the position, I will do my best to adjust my initial contention to continue a dialogue.
The veterans share as representative of population continues to decrease, so of course that number will also decrease in positions of elected power, and when Pro asserts that support for our fighting men and women has decreased, when looking at history, Con can't get behind that. Post Vietnam, being in the armed forces had a stigma, and we as a country came together and realized its the chuckle-heads in power that issue the marching orders of our fighting forces, which might me why those in power now are loathe to commit boots on the ground forces to conflicts abroad. We know the consequences of fighting the wrong war, the good war, and the just war. Perhaps those that -haven't- been in such a situation would be better served in deciding whether or not to commit others to that variety of an ordeal.
When con brings up the Civil and Revolutionary war, Pro has no choice to but to call into question the 'closeness' of that engagement to modern day wars. Both those wars brought forth by Con were fought in our ancestor's back yards. The war literally started and ended in one man's property near Appomattox Courthouse. Support for the troops meant giving your brother another pair of boots, or father an extra powder horn. That type of intimacy, over time and population, simply cannot be felt anymore.
Right now, the US is in a sociological divide. With other countries developing and exploiting their resources, America is no longer the only 500 lb gorilla in the room, and to be honest, we don't know how to handle that. We have long taken the lead in stamping out what we call 'evil' across the world, with no real opposition. Even worse, in our elected politicians have developed a taste for that division to ensure they stay seated. Con's premise is that even 'bumper sticker patriotism' can lead to something better. Maybe its that kind of patriotism that can influence some one to making more respectable decisions with the budget to ensure those that went off to fight for our interests and values come home to both welcoming arms, and the help they need or want.
Pro states that the simple values stated originally by Con do little if anything with regards to policy. It does little if anything... right now. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but the first mantle of a hero. Patriotism is not something forced on a populace, but a respect earned through action. Con would like to opine that if anything, its the simple truth of 'Support the troops' that might give our divided society a common cause to rally on for the better. We have seen the pendulum swing, the tragedies that befell our servicemen of days gone by, to the sentiment that 'nothing is too good for our veterans' then swing back again to calling our armed forces 'baby killers' and murderers. Maybe now, with the mass media available, and the dedication that our fighting forces demonstrate, we can fully appreciate what that sound bite means, and the consequences that occur if we don't.
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