Is it possible to support the troops if you don’t approve of what they’re doing?
I would submit that this is a deceptive question in that under its surface, it can go quite deep.
The easy answer is yes, it is possible to support the troops even if you don’t approve of what they’re doing. But that then asks the question of “how?”
You can’t really explain it away and pooh-pooh the idea by saying that the troops are merely following orders. After all, we loathe and hate the Nazis, the majority of whom were “just following orders.” And we’re in a lesser position to support them because unlike most of the Nazis, American soldiers volunteer for service. They are not conscripted.
So it can’t be a facially “they’re doing their job” issue, can it? I mean, given the climate today, where nearly everyone who is in has either enlisted or reenlisted (or renewed their commission) during the GWOT or the war in
But perhaps this war isn’t their job. After all, the military is part of the Department of Defense. Usually, a Defensive posture doesn’t involve invading another country. Maybe, just maybe, the current war is tangential to the primary job of the military, which is to provide for our nation’s defense. Perhaps those who reenlisted in the military did so out of a sense of obligation, a sense of not abandoning his or her comrades in arms? Maybe it’s the knowledge that these people stay in, or join initially, to support a military service that is spread thin fighting two wars in foreign nations where security has a much different meaning than here. Perhaps they stay on because they know that there is little help coming. Perhaps they feel as stuck in their situation as many office workers feel locked-in to their jobs. The troops in the field have almost no control over what they do or where they go – indeed, they must “just follow orders,” or spend time in jail and face a lifetime of inability to find more than minimum wage employ…
Perhaps it’s possible to save the ire one feels not for the dog who runs around the track, but to spend it on the kennel owner who sends it out to run, to earn the owner’s keep. The dog could run away, but at what cost to itself?
I think that it’s possible to support the troops even if you don’t agree with their mission, just as I think it’s possible to send them off to war even if you dislike them. I don’t see it as any different than still loving your child who dropped out of college. You might not like that he did it, but he’s still your son, and you want the best for him out of his situation.
What do you think?