“In war, truth is the first casualty.” -Aeschylus
Someone asked me if I “Support the Troops.” I replied:
I think the best way to respect soldiers is to study history. The ancient human institution of being subjected to and/or committing military horror is not something that should be oversimplified. Trained reactions and complacent views towards the actions of the military are disasterous. So, respect people who serve but be weary of blind patriotism and emotionally manipulative narratives. A society that embraces the true realities of war and its effects can still defend itself, but will also probably be more inclined to embrace diplomacy, not set off nukes or scorch the earth, care for the psychological needs of its soldiers, care for refugees, protect infrastructure, and so on. A military with a free pass from an ignorant, angry, and blindly patriotic population might not feel the need to do any of that. We let soldiers down when we let them become part of a war crimes mob. That’s not respect. We have to, as a citizenry, protect them from that, like they protect us. We must protect soldiers from a military industrial complex that will needlessly send them to be slaughtered and to slaughter, only to abandon them when they return home. Warriors are not disposable assets to be thrown around by goons.
Therefore, an informed and compassionate approach to the military in one of scrutiny, high standards, consequences, transparency, oversight, and access to information. All things the military has traditionally hated. I don’t give a fuck. I love soldiers so much I want them to serve in enlightened, peace keeping armies of the future, even if it means toppling their whole regime.