Jump to content

Helping to lose


Walsingham

Recommended Posts

"We would just like more support from home," one Marine said, and when pushed as to what exactly he just repeated, "...just more support."

 

A quote from a Royal Marine posted in Afghanistan, reported by the BBC. It sharpened a thought I had recently which is that while our troops can lose the war in Afghanistan by fighting badly, or losing people's trust through abuse and mistakes, or our politicians can lose it by failing to give them the kit to perform, we can also lose by not giving our support. Indeed, because we are democracies we are arguably the quickest and simplest point of failure in the whole tangle.

 

I'm not advocating unstinting support for everything our Armed Forces do abroad. But it does occur to me that - particularly in Afghanistan, where many welcome the work we are doing - it would absolutely monstrous if our armed and aid forces were capable of delivering the country into peace and security ...and we simply pulled the rug out from under them. Monstrous for them in terms of their sacrifices, and monstrous for the people of Afghanistan.

 

I'd like to take this discussion a couple of ways. Firstly to talk about what support we owe to the Armed Forces. Secondly if you do not support them, what you would need to see change before you would. While I feel very strongly on this point I will endeavour to remain calm and listen to conflicting views.* I would ask everyone to do likewise.

 

* I may, of course, fail. :D

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm. Support.

 

 

In the first world wars, troops had so much support that the people of their country of origin were starving in a major depression because all the ressources were diverted for the military to support the war and the troops.

 

No matter how we look at it, the war on terrorism is a world war. There are terrorists everywhere, in every country. It is my feeling and belief that in order to wage an effective war against terrorism, the fight needs to be taken everywhere at the same time, not just in Irak or Iran or Saudi Arabia.

If Afghanistan is "cleansed", the Evils will simply either move to a neighboring country(which they already do) or others will take their place or both.

Unless this war is happening everywhere at the same time, it is pointless, like trying to catch every rain drop of a storm with one single bucket.

 

Soldiers have my full moral support. I wish I could do more so this conflict would stop and they be brought home. But unless we do like our grandparents and give them EVERYTHING, which we, as a "Civilised" Western World are unwilling to do, I have a feeling this is completely futile.

 

:(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My heart aches for our soldiers. They are doing a job they believe a worthy one. When it comes to Afghanistan, they've already had the rug pulled out from under them. It was a rug called "Iraq", and they have now seen their governments fail them twice... first when not enough boots were on the ground to complete their primary mission thereby allowing bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda to escape, and then when a huge number of those "boots" were reassigned to invade another country. Now they see all that their blood and sweat accomplished years back evaporating. The Taliban is regaining control; bin Laden continues to direct his terror operations; and Iraq has become a bloody graveyard of chaos and never-ending conflict.

 

My heart truly aches for our soldiers, for their lost youth, their sacrifice, their pain. I support them. I support the brave Brits, the brave Americans, the brave coalition troops who give everything they have for a cause they hope is just, even if much of the world.... including myself when it comes to Iraq... disagrees.

 

Then again, I'm old enough to remember VietNam, where youths went to war and old men returned, spit upon and reviled by those they had thought they were fighting for. I would die in their place if it would bring them all home safe. But this is a world where life is not sacred any more. Maybe it never was, but I miss the comforting cocoon of my long-lost naivete.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have some 350ish troops down there, not that many, but not a whole lot less than what, say England got there, populations taken into account.

They've been in some heavy combat down there in the Helman province, they relieved some english infantry and was in turn relieved again after 5 weeks of combat, no fatalaties even though three of our guys got shot in the head by a sniper. :bat:

 

Mind you, Danes are not used to warfare, last time we had an engagement on this scale was in friggin' 1864 for ****s sake. :p

Edited by Lucius

DENMARK!

 

It appears that I have not yet found a sig to replace the one about me not being banned... interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lack of support comes from lack of caring.

 

The war in Afghanistan is fraught with indifference. When you go around asking people these days about what they think about the war in Afghanistan, their first response is usually "what? We're still fighting in Afghanistan? I thought the war moved to Iraq." Very few people know - or care - about what the soldiers are doing in Afghanistan. Their eyes are focused on Iraq where US support wanes by the day, where sectarian violence and bloodshed has led the country to the brinks of civil war.

 

When you say, "support the troops, not the war," what I hear is a contradiction. It's not possible to support the troops and not support the war. You can pay mouthpiece all day long, but at the end of the day if what the soldiers are hearing is "we hate this war, and we hate the administration that carried us into it," they won't feel support. If what they hear is, "we support you - please come back home safe" they won't feel compelled to keep on fighting. And of course, most people don't even attempt to mince words.

 

Who here, I wonder, would argue against supporting the soldiers? Who here would ever stare into the face of a soldier and tell him that he's wrong to fight in the war, that he's a bastard for going there? I doubt that this is the problem; ask on any major public forum and what you'll get is a gushing, feel-good litany of "we support the soldiers, but not the war." But that's the problem - you can't truly support the soldiers unless you support what they're doing. You can't tell the soldiers that they're doing a good job, and then turn around and condemn the bombing of civilian buildings and the death of thousands of Iraqis. The two facts are inseparable - it might be in your mind, safe as you are at home and free to argue over the morality of war, but in the minds of those who are doing the killing, who are doing the bombing, they are inseparable.

 

What any fighting man truly wants to hear is that he's doing the right thing, that he's out there - fighting and dying - for a good reason, a just cause. If you can't tell him that - because you do not support the war, for example, or because you do not think that the Bush administration is doing the right thing - then you can't really support him. You can tell him that he's doing a good job, that he's fighting for the country, etc. etc. but at the end of the day when the polls drop and the war condemned the soldiers feel a sense of abandonment. And why wouldn't they? They sacrificed years of their lives fighting the war. Years that could've been spent bettering themselves and in the company of friends and family. They sacrificed comrades, close friends, and in many cases limbs and the very ability to thrive in civilian life. And all for what? To be remembered as the fighters of an injust war, the defenders of a corrupt administration?

 

This is not a conscript army we're talking about. A conscript army, especially one conscripted against the people's will, can be satisfied with putting an end to the fighting - because they never supported it in the first place. But what we have today is a volunteer army. They made the choice to fight in this war, and it's this choice that they want to see validated. If you can't support that choice, then you can't really support the troops.

 

That's my take, at least. And let me end this by saying that I don't believe that there can be a satisfactory position - and that the lack of this moral safety zone is a good thing. Wars cannot be reduced to struggles between good and evil, and one of the most problematic aspects of the modern mentality is the fantasy that they can be - that the goods and the bads of a war can be compartmentalized and treated as separate entities. That you can support the troops all the while decrying the "evils" of war.

 

This is blindness. This is naivete. And I'll argue that it's exactly this sort of attitude that's caused entire populations of normal, relatively good-intentioned civilian populations to be deceived - willingly - by the atrocities around them.

 

War is not something that can be minced and packaged into acceptable little chunks. I've never made it a secret that I disagree with the war, so I'm not going to cower now and say that "but I support the troops!" I might feel sympathy for the troops, I might consider them tragic characters who should not be blamed, and I might respect them and their choices as individuals, but I won't - and do not - condone what they're doing (that is, fighting a injust war). And therefore, I cannot support them.

 

To do otherwise would, in my mind, be hypocrisy.

Edited by Azarkon

There are doors

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well pardon me but I think that's bull, a lot of guys sign up for many other reasons than wanting to try and fight in a war, perhaps just for being part of the nations defence for instance.

 

Also, the invasion of afghanistan got my 100% support, the Taliban had it coming and it is a NATO operation. However it is outrageously stupid that the focus wasn't fixed on crushing the terrorists there completely, instead they just half assed their way through and started to look for a new target, they even managed to let Binny, the tallest arab ever, flee on a handicapped camel.

DENMARK!

 

It appears that I have not yet found a sig to replace the one about me not being banned... interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well pardon me but I think that's bull, a lot of guys sign up for many other reasons than wanting to try and fight in a war, perhaps just for being part of the nations defence for instance.

 

Then they are tragic characters, deceived by the nation that they were trying to serve. That does not garner my support for what they're doing; it merely makes them all the more tragic.

 

I think you're confusing two concepts - support of the troops in the sense of wanting to help them as individuals, and support the troops in the sense of supporting what they're doing. This ambiguity is intentional - it's the basis for an entire military stratagem built upon appealing to the public's sense of duty to the troops. But I draw a line between what I support and what I sympathize with. I can sympathize with the troops' plight. I can exonerate them as individuals. But I cannot support the war they're fighting - and therefore I cannot support them. Not for a moment.

 

Feel free to disagree. I don't expect to speak for the "correct moral attitude," as I don't believe that such a position is possible in this context. To me, supporting the troops while not supporting the war is an impossible position - a contradiction at best, hypocrisy at worst. If you take this position, then we are in fundamental disagreement, and I do not think that this is a disagreement that can be resolved on this board.

Edited by Azarkon

There are doors

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and to answer Walsingham's original question as to what would make me support the troops, I think it's pretty obvious where my perspective leads -

 

If they're fighting a war that I support, then I can fully support them. But then, if such a war existed, I'd probably be fighting in it, one way or another.

There are doors

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok lets just have a fist fight then :bat:

 

Nah I understand what you mean, I just don't think that it's as black and white as you're trying to make it.

 

Now I can tell you that my countrymen both in Iraq and Afghanistan believe in what they're doing, they're not there for WMD's themselves, but to help the people of wartorn nations. (mind you, in Iraq we only entered after the invasion was over, as part of the occupying force)

However I might not think that the invasion of Iraq is properly justified, as it was based on false information, but I admire my countrymens courage and determination, which I think is enough for gaining my support.

DENMARK!

 

It appears that I have not yet found a sig to replace the one about me not being banned... interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If "support" means "woo, you're doing a great job; keep on killing, lads!" well then they're not going to get any from me.

 

I sympathise with them because they're in a difficult position being shot at and everything, but you don't sign up for the Army without expecting to be deployed to a warzone at some point. Not if you're British, not if you're realistic. Nobody forces you into the armed forces and nobody pretends that there isn't a chance of you being shot at.

 

I don't support the war, I don't support the reasons, I don't support who we're fighting it for and that necessarily means that I don't support the war effort.

 

It is unfortunate for him, but he is not fighting in my name.

Dirty deeds done cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lucius: While I don't disagree with your position per se, I hardly think that it's me who's simplifying this down to a black and white matter. For example, from what you're saying supporting the troops is like supporting Red Cross workers. Yeah - and who doesn't want to do that?

 

Yet that's not what you're supporting. What you're supporting is an occupation that's become the source of sectarian violence, that props up a Shi'ite government that uses death squads and extortion to achieve what they want, and which has all the signs of becoming a puppet of the clergy seeking to purge all who disagree with them. What you're supporting is a war that's turned a relatively stable nation into a country of refugees, destroyed the possibility of Iraqi sovereignty, and by all measures made life worse than it was under Saddam.

 

Though, I admit - it's probably one thing to say that you support the occupation now because there is no choice - because if we leave, all hell will break lose - and another altogether to say that you supported the war in the first place. However, it's not clear to me that you can divide one from the other, since the invasion was justified on the basis of what we'd achieve afterwards - and what we've achieved is a direct product of the invasion in the first place. Furthermore, it's not correct to say that the current war is fought solely to make up for the damages we've caused - some do indeed consider it as such, yet if we were to win the Iraqi war tomorrow the administration would undoubtedly take the credit and justify the original invasion on its basis. That, in my mind, can never be sanctioned.

Edited by Azarkon

There are doors

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You got it right in the second part of your post, this is exactly what I've been (trying) to say, although I might not have all your fancy college speak to it, I'm just a simple Dane :bat:

 

And again, we're just talking about Iraq here, yes? Because as I wrote earlier, Afghanistan was another situation entirely.

DENMARK!

 

It appears that I have not yet found a sig to replace the one about me not being banned... interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, I'm talking in general. Iraq was a good example because it makes a clear opposition point to the principle of supporting the troops without supporting the war. Afghanistan is a good example of indifference - ie how controlled the US is by the media, which can easily manipulate public sensibility to focus on Iraq while ignoring the situation in Afghanistan.

 

But that's getting a tad off topic. My position is that I cannot support the troops without supporting the war. This is true both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. What I was saying in that second part is that I can see why someone would support the current occupation, and thereby the troops who participate in it, without having supported the original invasion. In either case, for me supporting the troops means supporting the war, and vice versa.

There are doors

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually agree with Azarkon on his main point, as he so eloquently expressed it. I really don't think one can support the troops in either the moral or practical sense unless you are supportive of their mission. The key, as he says, is that they are volunteers, and particularly in the case of new volunteers have quite categorically signed up to go to the war. They don't want to hear bs about supporting them in spirit but not in fact. They want people to understand and support what they are doing and why they're doing it.*

 

I think that in part this is one of the reasons why many troops give such a frosty reception to journalists, because they feel they are being let down.

 

However, I think we do need to draw a distinction between what the troops see as their mission and what we civilians over our breakfast cereal see as their mission. Talking to men and women coming back from Afghanistan reveals that they see it as a mission of aid, stability, and reconstruction. They are utterly incomprehending of our moral qualms about that mission. They couldn't give a monkeys about George Bush or Tony Blair. They believe what they have set out to do is precisely the kind of thing they saw in the recruitment adverts. Helping people and protecting them.

 

So perhaps the disjunction arises because from our standpoint many people see their work as power projection, not aid and protection. The question arising for me is why we cannot understand that the two things can occur in parallel. And that rather than support 'our boys' we could support certain aspects of their work and not others.

 

~~

 

Good debating so far, tho, guys. :thumbsup:

 

 

 

 

*I think they'd be grateful for the cakes, letters, etc in any case, but that's not enough.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So perhaps the disjunction arises because from our standpoint many people see their work as power projection, not aid and protection. The question arising for me is why we cannot understand that the two things can occur in parallel.

 

 

 

Isn't the mission power projection through aid and protection?

It feels like a telethon, where 90% of the funds raised go to pay the performers, the location, the equipment, etc. This seems wrong to me.

 

It's like :"Look, we're aiding you!" While commandos, under cover of night, fake an attack on enemy soil so that a retaliation ensues and the war continues, filling the coffers of arms dealers and manufacturers.

 

It's just the impression I get from this whole thing. :thumbsup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't claim commandos have never been used to provoke attacks before. But arguing they were in this case isn't going to get you very far with me. Or are you saying that this is your general impression?

 

In any event, saying there is power projection as well is - in my opinion - rather potato/potaato. Aid agencies make their livings helping people. If Africa ever becomes stable there are going to be less jobs going. Does that mean they aren't helping?

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...It's like :"Look, we're aiding you!" While commandos, under cover of night, fake an attack on enemy soil so that a retaliation ensues and the war continues, filling the coffers of arms dealers and manufacturers...

 

 

Could you please explain what you are talking about here? I certainly don't know anything about "fake" attacks to deliberately create retaliation. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't claim commandos have never been used to provoke attacks before. But arguing they were in this case isn't going to get you very far with me. Or are you saying that this is your general impression?

 

In any event, saying there is power projection as well is - in my opinion - rather potato/potaato.  Aid agencies make their livings helping people. If Africa ever becomes stable there are going to be less jobs going. Does that mean they aren't helping?

 

It's a general impression.

 

First of all, if I had proof of commandos doing these things I'd have disapeared already... :'(

Second, I admit it's not fair for me to imply these things because I have no proof.

Third, I play too many games and I watched too many X-Files and I often see the possibility of conspiracies where they are possibilities of no conspiracies.

 

Sorry, I'm messing up the thread now. :thumbsup:

 

To explain my impression, It feels like they(not the soldiers but whoever is pulling the strings) are using "Aid" as a reason to be there to do other things like, say, attacking Iraq.

Soldiers have my support because I think the reason they think they're over there is not the real reason, I think if they truly knew or realized why they're there they would all leave of their own free will. I think if we knew the real reasons, guillotines would make a comeback.

 

I will now leave this thread because I'm in over my head and I've already been flamed enough today(somewhere else).

 

Thank you. :">

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I'm being mendacious if i draw a distinction between the troops and the natsec boys. Cool posters, though.

 

Anyway, Astr0, I'm not getting riled. I just wanted clarification. If that's the general impression you have it's important to explore it, because I've met many people who feel that way and aren't smart enough to see it as a general impression. :lol: They'll stand stock still and claim "it's obviously true". :lol:

 

I wonder if there isn't some sort of flip 1950s thing going on where we have an unjustified lack of faith in the state, and by inference its servants. Why is this, and is it a phase?

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

right now I think the general consensus is that we went into iraq half ****ed and found ourselves undermanned and in over our heads because Rummy wanted to have a fast attack team as our entire armed force and used iraq to prove it. It promptly failed miserably in the fact that if your going to take control of a country, you can't just be in and out, you have to be in with overwhelmign force and sit there for a while.

 

Due to mismanagement by the leadership, we are now supposed to revere (or at least we were) all the people who died in 9/11 and in the Iraq war as saints who were the most patriotic of patriots. and in the early days of the "intervention" in iraq if you said that you didn't think that america or the other countries should be there, you were immediatly ostrasized.

 

When things went bad immediatly the patriots went one of two ways. Either they flat out pulled a 180 and said we should back out immediatly, or they became even more patriotic and tried to get little timmy the third grader to have career aspirations as a gunny sargent in the marines. If Bush is going to order another attack (he probably won't but then again what does he have to loose? he can't run for another office and will be forgotten in 10 years) he'd have to reinstate the draft to come up with the manpower to keep three theatres of operation under control (if you can call Iraq "under control")

Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was against the Iraq invasion when it started. I was against the Iraq invasion when we "won." I am still against the Iraq invasion. We need to pull our people out and if the Iraqis want to kill each other I say let them. Once they get sick of killing and the dust settles, then we help them to rebuild.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the first world wars, troops had so much support that the people of their country of origin were starving in a major depression because all the ressources were diverted for the military to support the war and the troops.

 

The Great Depression was, sadly, ended because of World War 2. People were starving in a major depression before the conflict began, for a full decade.

 

 

 

Then they are tragic characters, deceived by the nation that they were trying to serve

 

You say that you're not the one making things black and white, and then state unequivocally, that people enlist in the military so that they can fight in wars, or are otherwise deceived and tragic characters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the first world wars, troops had so much support that the people of their country of origin were starving in a major depression because all the ressources were diverted for the military to support the war and the troops.

 

The Great Depression was, sadly, ended because of World War 2. People were starving in a major depression before the conflict began, for a full decade.

 

 

Indeed.

 

Although I meant rationing, not depression(my bad).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...