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 (DV) Sanders: Supporting the Troops







Supporting the Troops
by Ken Sanders
March 21, 2005

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In a frame on my desk I have a statement that I came across on March 23, 2003. The invasion of Iraq had just begun and my brother, a sergeant in the Army, was over there, somewhere. My brother's reasons for joining the Army were his own, but he was my brother and I was sickened by the prospect of him killing and dying, particularly for a lie. That is why the following statement rang so true for me and why it still sits framed on my desk two years later.

"There are few areas of service to America more honorable than that of military service. Our sons and daughters step to the line and take their oath because they believe their nation to be the best on earth. Implicit in that oath, however, is a leap of faith on the part of these troops. They trust that they will not be used, that their lives will not be spent, in actions and wars that do not warrant the shedding of their blood. They trust their leaders when they put on that uniform. In this matter of war on Iraq, that trust has been betrayed, and these children of ours have paid the highest price for that betrayal." (, 3/23/03)

Two years later the betrayal continues and is likely to continue for years to come. To date, 1,511 U.S. troops have died and 11,285 have been wounded (often severely and permanently) paying for our government's betrayal. At the same time, as many as 19,432 Iraqi civilians have died, with untold numbers wounded, traumatized, and displaced, all because Bush & Co. needed a proving ground for their doctrine of preemption. They cooked the books, doctored evidence, and hid inconvenient truths to justify their war, to justify the death and disfigurement of tens of thousands of people.

All of the justifications floated by Bush & Co. were proven to be lies. No weapons of mass destruction. No connection to Al Qaeda. No hand in 9/11. Nothing. The post hoc justification of liberating the Iraqi people from a tyrannical dictator was so transparent it would have been laughable if so many weren't dying and suffering for the joke.

Perhaps that is why it is so infuriating to see all the cars on the roads and in parking lots with those magnetic ribbons declaring "I Support Our Troops." Most are yellow. Some are a patriotic red, white, and blue. For those who fear looking overly gay with a dainty yellow ribbon on their Hummer, there are now macho camouflage ribbons available. My favorites are the ones with a cross inserted in the ribbon's loop. Because war is so Christian.

How exactly do these ribbon-toting folks support "their" troops? Do they demand that "their" troops be brought home immediately? Do they hold responsible the elected and appointed officials who fraudulently sent "their" troops into harm's way? Are they the least bit interested in really knowing why "their" troops are dying and suffering hand-over-fist while corporate coffers overflow? Do they support those troops who listened to their consciences and refused to kill or die for an unjust cause?

Somehow I doubt it.

More likely, the ribbon-people merely slap magnets on their SUVs, wish "their" troops well, and murmur something about war being a dirty business. Meanwhile, they pay more attention to speculations about Robert Blake's future in Hollywood than to reports that yet another one of "their" troops is dead because of our government's betrayal.

I propose a new slogan for all the ribbon-people who think a trendy magnet is enough: I Support the Killing of Our Troops. It would be a far more accurate reflection of the support they truly offer.

Ken Sanders is an attorney based in Tucson, Arizona. Visit his weblog at:  He can be reached at:

Other Articles by Ken Sanders

* Scoffing the Rule of Law
* Putting the "Mock" in Democracy
* Torture’s Our Business ... and Business is Good
* Remember Afghanistan?
* The United States’ Hypocritical Nuclear Policy
The “Other” Iraqi Conflict
* Cause for Alarm: Regime Change Redux
* Still Playing Cute With the Law
* The Boogeyman and Social Security