Supporting the troops means standing behind their decision, their choice, to serve their country, to go into harm's way when so ordered, and to fight, and win.
Support comes in many forms, from boxes of cookies, to socks and spices, to camelbak coolers, to voice-activated laptops. But support must be total, 100%, fully committed--just like the commitment we expect from our soldiers.
Soldiers don't enlist saying "I'll only fight if I believe in the cause" or "If there is sufficient proof to suit me." Soldiers serve, regardless of who is in office and who makes policy. They may not like their boss, but they'll do what he says.
Most Soldiers feel that peace protests, and the yahoos that tend to fill those ranks, are potesting what they are doing. Protesting what the soldier does causes mental stress on the soldier--it makes him question if what he is doing is right, if he himself is in the wrong for doing it, and if everytime he does his job or performs his mission, he is being duped into supporting the wrong side--and if he pulls a trigger, murdering.
Even if they don't dwell on it, it is the soldier who generally doesn't separate protesting the war from protesting the soldier. The older guys remember learning about--and some even witnessed--what commie hippie faggots did to the men returning home from Vietnam. For all their protest marches, it took well over a decade to have a "welcome home" march for the veterans of that war. The spitting, the baby killer comments, the hate--it transfers directly from the marcher to the media and then to the soldier. Maybe something is lost in translation, but the stigma is still there--these people hate what I am doing, and therefore hate me, because I believe in it. Maybe the soldier doesn't believe in the war, the reasons for going, or the reasons for staying. Maybe he's lost faith in our leaders. But he still does his job, still fights alongside his brothers in arms. He sees people who aren't doing what he is doing, who only share his belief that what he is doing isn't what we should be doing, and he sees them attack memorials and draw graffiti on the buildings which represent the very government he serves. Those memorials don't represent govenrment folly, they aren't there to make a political statement, to show support or mute protest. Those memorials represent many things, to the people who work within eyesight of those memorials, who should perhaps use them for more than a campaign backdrop, and maybe spend some time with their mouths shut in silent solitude, reflecting. Those memorials mean sacrifice. Sacrifice at the tip of the spear, at the point of contact--sacrifice, not sacrifice for lofty political ideals, nor for God and country, but sacrifice for the sake of saving one's brother. Whether consciously jumping on a grenade, or just going out on patrol. If they didn't show up, someone else has to pull their weight, carry their load, and good soldiers won't let that happen.
Desecrating what is arguably the most sacred ground in our Nation outside of Arlington Cemetary, shows that they have no respect for the men, their service, or their sacrifices, past and present.
What we do understand is that the protesters view us--the ones in uniform--as all the same. We are all brainwashed, all true belivers, all mindless automatons, or serving only to work our way out of the economic prison created by the man. One soldier torturing an insurgent means all soldiers do it, one soldier shooting a civilian means we are all bloodthirsy hunters of the innocent.
It works both ways. We see tie-dyes and hemp, we think hippies, dog poo, spit, and hate. We see Jane Fonda, we still (and will always) see her sitting in AAA positions used by the NVA to kill Americans, or visiting with POWs and then telling on them for trying to sneak out messages. We see cindy shithead and we see an estranged mother, who for some reason refuses to put a headstone on the grave of the lost son she so laments. I see protest signs (I guarantee there'll be at least one encouraging soldiers to kill their officers--that's me. Who are they to demand someone deprive my daughter of a father? Who the fuck are they? Why don't they pick up a weapon and come after me head on? Is it the yellow on their backs or the shit in their brains that stops them?)--sorry, went off on a tanget there.
Bushitler. Sound familiar? Hitler killed millions by convincing a nation that other people were less that human--untermensch--and enacted atrocitiy as a matter of policy; something not seen on this planet since the dark ages. You can't walk through KZ Dachau and smell the stench that will forever taint the air, and still compare true evil to our president.
If you hate the president, great. Don't re-elect him. If you hate war, just because it is war, and generally nasty, fine. Go read J.S. Mill. If you hate that large corporations are making money off of the war, protest at McDonnel Douglas, Boeing, Hughes, Colt, and every other weapons system builder in the country. They make halliburton's profit margin look like it's the defense dollar store.
The troops see a protest against the war as a protest against them. Maybe some separate it in their minds, but not most. "Bring them home NOW!" Only shows the soldier that every sacrifice they've made up to that point was for naught. "We've sacrificed to much already!" Whatdaya mean "we" white man? Less than 1% of our citizens serve in uniform, of those that do, less than .001% have been casualties--KIA or WIA--in Iraq or Afghanistan. No one knows sacrifice like the soldier. My own wife has sacrificed so much in her life, for marrying me... but she'd be the first to tell you that it doesn't amount to anything compared to the lifetime of pain, meds, therapy, and memories I have to shoulder until the Big Guy in the sky sends a chariot for me. (Not that she'd admit that to me, of course.)
If you don't believe in what I am doing, in the cause I fight for, in the cause that I will fight to the death for, then you don't believe in me. Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for sending boxes, for telling the stories of the wives left behind and keeping the homefires burning. I am glad your husband understands what you think and why. I don't pretend to understand it; I think he's got a lot more room in his heart than I do. Personally, I'd have left your stuff in a pile on the lawn. But that's probably why we aren't married.
I don't think that you can support the troops and not the war. Better still, that you can suport the warrior and not the war. I don't see the logic in it. I see a peace rally and I see hippies, commies, traitors and faggots. All you have to do is look at the posters and banners! Tie-dyes, peace signs (the symbol of Peter on his cross, crucified upside down) and hemp for Peace, Che Guevara t-shirts and signs on the commies, , those who support violent overthrow or action NOW! without due or constitutional process (aka traitors), and the Hotpants wearing Don't ask Don't tell is wrong! crowd--the pole-smokers and pillow-biters. Maybe you don't support those causes, but you are known by the company you keep.
I support and defend the constitution. Period. It says that the Predisent is my commander in chief. If the commander says "Go, Kill, and Keep Killing, because thy are the enemy of freedom, then I go and kill. If the commander later says that his intel was flawed, and they aren't necessarily all that bad, well, anyone in uniform understands that the intel guys are mostly boobs anyway, who play LOTS of dungeons and dragons when thy aren't giving the boss their "best guess." I suppose that once the President found out his intel was wrong, he should have immediately ceased all offensive operations and deployed everyone back home. I'm sure there wouldn't have been mass anarchy in the middle east then, millions wouldn't have suffered, and they'd have established their own free democracy with womens sufferage and everything. I'm sure all of the other a-rab mations would have opened their arms to their mooslim brothers and as sure as ali babba had 40 thieves, they would've sent massive amounts of aid and other forms of help to keep Iraq secure. They would've taken in all the refugees, adopted them into their societies, and kept the peace in the middle east themselves. Just like they did with palestine.