Support the Troops

If one notices a bumper sticker on a car that says “Support the Troops,” the unspoken assumption is that the owner of the car not only supports the troops but the policies of the Bush Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is unfortunate. The two positions are not logically connected. One could certainly think well of the troops and recognize their sacrifice on our behalf and strongly disagree with Bush’s policy. However, the Liberals and the Left have left the field open for Conservatives to associate themselves with the natural American inclination to support their sons and daughters in the military.

This began in Vietnam when the Left was so angry with the war that to discredit the war they habitually lapsed into discrediting the troops by exaggerating transgressions. Even Senator John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, who might have had strong reason to be sympathetic to troops, most of them drafted, painted a disquieting and largely inaccurate picture of American troops who,

“…personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

The habit was renewed in the present Iraq conflict. The story of the very real abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib early after the conclusion of initial hostilities in Iraq were played and replayed on the front pages of the NY Times and other media outlets to the point that these media outlets succeeded in making that an early symbol of the war and unfortunately the war fighters.

This attack on soldiers has now become so habitual that sometimes it is impossible for certain elements of the media to support the troops in even modest ways. The FreedomWatch organization strongly supports Bush’s policies. It has tried to run some thank-the-troops television ads during the holiday season. CNN and Fox news have run the ads without a problem, but MSNBC and CNBC have refused to run the ads.

The ads are very benign and certainly not controversial. They are certainly less controversial than ads for Sicko, Michael Moore polemic masquerading as a documentary run by these and other networks including FoxNews. Click here to see the ads and make your own judgment about how controversial the ads really are. The refusal of MSNBC and CNBC to run these ads provide additional evidence that some in the media have unfortunately convinced themselves that anything positive about and for the troops should be suppressed lest they might accidentally lend support to Bush’s policies.

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