Stick Your Yellow Ribbon
A friend recently asked why I hadn't posted anything recently. I think the answer is because writing and maintaining a blog like this is just too much like preaching to the choir. If anybody reads it who doesn't agree with me, they never leave a message or bother to state an opposing point of view. So I decided that maybe it is time that I abandoned any attempt at reasonable discourse and just tried to piss people off and see if I could rattle someone's cage.
So this is to all you a**holes who drive around in your gas-guzzling SUVs with a cheap yellow magnet stuck on the back that says "I support our troops." I've got a question for you. Just how in hell does sticking a yellow fake ribbon on your vehicle support our troops?
Here is how we in America support our troops. To start with, there are 300 million of us. Of that 300 million, there are maybe 500,000 that are actually in Afghanistan or Iraq (yes, there is still fighting in Afghanistan.) or at risk of being deployed to these war zones at some time in the future. That is less than two-tenths of a per cent (<0.2%). It is reasonable to assume that each soldier's deployment affects a wider family of 20 people either financially, emotionally or both. That means that the war will actually touch the lives of about 10 million Americans. That's just slightly more than 3% of the population.
But even though the war doesn't actually touch our lives in any intimate way, we pay taxes to support our troops, right? Wrong!
The money for the president's "war on terror" doesn't come from the US taxpayers (at least not yet but that's another story.) The money for the war is not even considered part of the national budget. It is a special appropriation considered separate from the budget. When that appropriation is passed, there is no real money to pay for it so the government borrows the money from foreign lenders - mainly China and Japan.
So that means that 97% of us are skating free without a care in the world. "War? What war? Oh that car bomb that went off in Iraq yesterday that killed five soldiers. Man, that's a damn shame. They should get those guys some armor or something. Hey, did you hear about the special they got on yellow "Support the Troop" magnetic ribbons at Wal-Mart? I'm a-gonna go down there and get me one for the other side of the car. We gotta support our troops. It's the least we can do." You got that right - the very least.
National resolve? Damn right we've got national resolve coming out our ying-yangs. As long as there is no war-tax and as long as only 0.2% of us are in any danger at all (and not one the son or daughter of a national decision maker) we can have all the good old fashion American resolve any war-mongering president, congress and senate could ever wish for. Editorialists (who's sons and daughters are in college where they are supposed to be - not in some crazy-assed war getting their butts shot off) all agree that a steadfast American public are resolved to stay the course. Of course, the editorialists overlook the fact that most of the American public get their news from E! TV and couldn't find Iraq or Afghanistan on a map unless it had a picture of Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson pinned on it. For some of the American public, it would have to be a picture of Big Bird or Barney.
So what is my point? My point is that we paste magnetic stickers on our cars saying "I Support Our Troops" yet at the same time, we allow the families of our troops serving in battle zones to suffer from financial distress to the point where some communities have actually held pancake dinners to raise money so they could stock a food pantry for the families of hard-pressed reservists and National Guardsmen. A community in New Jersey managed to raise $12,000 (bless them) but the real question is, why the hell are the families of our troops having to get food from charity food pantries? And $12,000 is what? Four thousand f*cking yellow car magnets.
Speaking again of yellow car magnets, the State of Illinois gave tax-payers a chance in 2004 to put their tax-returns where their magnets said their hearts were by creating a program whereby their citizens could donate their tax-return for 2004 to needy families of National Guard members serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. In all of 2004, the program raised $400,000. This is a commendable effort but in the state of Illinois, $400,000 amounts to a donation of three cents per person. You know the good citizens of Illinois spent at least ten times that on yellow car magnets.
Then, there is the ultimate insult - the scene of Congress engaged in a name-calling ego battle over a billion dollar shortfall in the yearly budget for our VA hospitals. People, we have poured over 200 billion dollars down that rat hole called Halliburton, excuse me, I mean Iraq. This country has an annual income of 15 trillion dollars. When viewed from that perspective, that is a drop in the bucket. When viewed from the perspective of the soldiers returning without arms, legs, eyes, and in need of long-term care and physical therapy because they actually believed those "I Support Our Troops" slogans we should all be hanging our heads in shame.
Better yet, go out to your car. Rip that damn magnet off. Fold it up. Stuff it in an envelope. Write a letter to your Senator demanding that the U.S. government put its money where its mouth is when they say "Support Our Troops." Stuff that in on top of the magnet and mail it to your Senator.
In closing, I would like to say: It is time we all got madder than hell. Its time we stand up and really support our troops. Its time to get them out of that quagmire the egotistical power-hungry madmen who run the government have created in Iraq. Its time we brought our troops home. Not next year but now! And it is time we got rid of the bastards who put them there in the first place.