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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Supporting the troops

Were here to talk to soldiers
We know that you won't be still
You're tired of US policy
Of kill, pay me, kill, kill, kill

- Opening stanza to Holly Near's GI Movement
Whenever someone talks about "supporting the troops," it's important never to lose sight of what that means. It doesn't mean making sure they have enough body armor, or that they have good medical care after they're injured, because if they weren't off fighting wars, they wouldn't need that body armor or that medical care (well, no more than the rest of us). It means supporting what they are doing. And whether you're naive enough to think that what they're doing in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Vietnam, or whereever else, is "defending our country," or whether you recognize they're part of the imperialist war machine, one thing is certain - at the heart of what they're doing isn't passing out candy, or "rebuilding schools," or any other noble activity. It's killing people, as this story from today's news illustrates:
A Marine lance corporal who said he had an aversion to killing and participating in war will be released by the military, after a federal judge declared him a conscientious objector.

Zabala, a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said he was troubled during boot camp in 2003 when a fellow recruit committed suicide and a superior used profanities to belittle the recruit. Zabala said he was "abhorred by the blood lust (the superior) seemed to possess," according to a 2006 court petition for conscientious-objector status.

In another incident at boot camp, an instructor showed recruits a "motivational clip" showing Iraqi corpses, explosions, gun fights and rockets set to a heavy metal song that included the lyrics, "Let the bodies hit the floor," he recalled in the petition. Zabala said he cried, while other recruits nodded their heads in time with the beat and smiled.
Support the troops? Count me out.

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