Home > Military > What Actual Support Looks Like

What Actual Support Looks Like

January 25th, 2011

During the Bush years, Republicans made their usual big deal about supporting the troops. When it comes to actual support though, the right wing really only supports the military contractors, who are, after all, among those paying the bills. Despite their talk about cutting spending, they won’t touch Defense, despite there being a lot to cut; Lockheed Martin alone receives an average of something like $260 from each taxpaying American family.

When it comes to the soldiery, the support from the right is not quite so strong. Oh, yes, the words come out. Support the troops and all that. But actions speak louder than words, and during the Bush years, much of the action was abusive. Lengthening tours of duty, employing stop-loss, scaling down pay increases, cutting benefits, failing to outfit them properly–basically chintzing the soldiers on nickels and dimes while pouring billions into the pockets of firms like Halliburton. When a veteran’s organization ranked senators on how they voted on veteran’s issues, the disparity was striking: Democrats occupied the top of the list, while Republicans uniformly failed to support the troops themselves where it counted.

There is one aspect in which Bush and the Republicans liked the troops: as a prop to help them politically. How many times did you see Bush–the AWOL draft-dodger–give speeches before uniformed audiences, helpfully arranged behind him for effect; how many times did we see him reviewing the troops, a purely PR-related activity?

Whenever Bush’s decisions were questioned, the reply very often was to use the troops as a human shield. Anyone who criticized Bush was accused of attacking the troops–an act of hatefully vile cowardice which I personally despise.

When a selflessly patriotic man gave up a lucrative personal career and volunteered to serve, and then was killed in “friendly fire,” the details of his death were covered up while the Bush administration shamelessly used him as a poster boy for their PR campaign after their disgrace at Abu Ghraib.

But people believe that liberals are the ones who abuse the troops. After all, wasn’t it liberals who spat on soldiers on the airport tarmac as they returned from service in Vietnam? Well, no. It’s an urban legend, another lie generated to discredit liberals. In fact, during the Vietnam War, liberals supported the soldiery just like they do today; it was the administration they despised. Again we see the tactic of using soldiers as a human shield, to very great effect–so many people even today believe the image of liberal hippie protesters spitting on deplaning soldiers, despite the fact that it would have been physically impossible for that to even happen.

Whenever a bill to support the actual soldiers came through, it was almost always a Democratic effort, and was usually opposed by Republicans, who, after throwing billions at contractors, could not see themselves clear to tossing a few million to actually support the troops. Take this GI Bill for example. The only time Republicans assented to spending more on the troops was in order to bring more people in the door–enticements for signing on or staying on. When it came to helping the troops without an ulterior motive, simply because it’s the right thing to do, Republicans suddenly had other things to do, leaving the Democrats to pick up that particular ball.

That continues today. From the White House:

President Barack Obama on Monday announced a governmentwide series of 50 programs and proposals to increase support for U.S. military families.

The 50 initiatives — including more counseling to prevent suicides, increased education grants and expanded child-care assistance — resulted from efforts by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to address concerns of military families.

Seriously, do you ever recall Bush doing anything even remotely like this during his eight years in office?

Me neither.

None of the reports indicate that this will have to pass through Congress. Let’s hope not, because you know who would most likely decide that it’s not worth doing, or should be pared down somewhat.

Categories: Military Tags: by
  1. matthew
    January 27th, 2011 at 15:48 | #1

    The Ultram spam is back on google.

  2. Troy
    January 28th, 2011 at 12:02 | #2

    Looks like whatever is PHPing your title tag and “footer START” div is compromised.

    But when I visited:


    with my UA as GoogleBot 2.1, I didn’t get a compromised page.


Comments are closed.