Chomsky on “Support Our Troops”

I post this not as any personal offense to anyone that would take it offensive, but merely as a catalyst for dialogue. What do people think of this slogan I see so often and clearly visible on today’s holiday. What do you think of Chomsky’s spiel? My thoughts are if you do not outright state that by supporting the troops that you mean bringing them home immediately (not next year, not next month, now) and that the military they are systematically coerced into is an evil killing machine, then you are defending said machine. The slogan itself is hollow, but I do not deny the genuine and loving motivations by the everyday people that shout it, not the faux PR people that manufacture it. That’s what I think. What about you?

10 thoughts on “Chomsky on “Support Our Troops””

  1. This must be very old as Chomsky sounds more youthful than usual.

    “Support the troops” is not unlike that question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” It’s a question designed to produce a certain result. In one case, to shame people into expressing support for a policy, in the second case, to make someone into a villain.

    Big Lies abound everywhere. One of the most important one is the one that says effectively deifies the super-wealthy and people are taught that they owe everything to them but they can become angry if offended and the job of government is to see that this doesn’t happen. The claim that corporate taxes are all passed down to the customer is part of this “we are helpless against the powerful rich” idea which of course puts they above any law. In truth, not only are corporate taxes not passed down, but personal income taxes are also effectively absorbed by the corporations. Serious economists describe personal income tax as a negative factor in a jurisdiction’s competitiveness on the grounds that it increases the price of labour. So the campaigns by the Right against income taxes in fact go against the interest of the people involved – when income taxes are cut, the boss says “Well, you got your rise with the increase in the cost of living, no need for ME to give you one” and pockets the tax cut himself. Another big lie is the one that says that economic growth will suffer if there’s less inequality in society. The actual evidence proves that more equality is better for the economy but this is gospel when it comes to so-called serious people. There are many more.

  2. Of course, thanks for the response. And yes, I believe this is early 90s (not entirely sure though) perhaps around the Persian Gulf War when the “support our troops” slogan began to appear, best to my knowledge.

  3. Yellow ribbons were popular then but I think that slogan predates that too… there was lots of opposition in Congress because there was real fear it would not work. When the war was a supposed success, those who staked positions against it were essentially shamed and supporting the war became a prerequisite for gaining the Democratic nomination in 1992 and beyond, This is why they all lined up behind the 2003 invasion, they thought it would be easy too. Fools. It couldn’t have worked.

    One truly disgusting thing is this idea that we see so much that puts people in the ranks of Good and Evil not because of what they do but by which team they’re on. So if you’re helping orphans in Lebanon for the Shi’ite community you’re an enemy of God and belong in the brig forever, whilst you are a mass killer for Blackwater you’re good by definition. This nonsense just doesn’t apply there but that existed during the Wars of Yugoslav Succession also. Some idiots were arguing that the Tar Sands oil is morally superior to other oil because it’s pumped in Conservative Alberta with Conservative arch-Zionist Stephen Harper running Canada whilst the cleaner Venezuelan oil is tainted by the evil of Hugo Chavez. The Tar sands are an environmental disaster – again there was news of a duck massacre caused by it. The amount of water wasted is astounding. People were actually saying never mind that, the regime that pumps it is good so that purifies it like some religious ceremony.

  4. There’s a really big lie about Iraq people should know. The Right was pushing the line that the whole WMD inspection business was something Iraq agreed to in return for not being conquered. That it was part of the so-called ceasefire and the UN authorised therefore the conquest of Iraq if it did not co-operate on the WMD business. That is totally false. There was a Security Council resolution authorising sanctions on Iraq and another one providing the ultimatum for using force. It stated clearly that after Iraqis were out of Kuwait the resolution would no longer apply. There was a ceasefire but it only dealt with things like prisoners and technical matters. The problem at the time for the US was that it wanted to maintain sanctions and as Iraq was no longer in Kuwait sanctions had to end. So a new Resolution was passed on the WMD question in April 1991, one month after the war’s end, dealing with the WMD business. As it was the Council that passed it Iraq had no input whatsoever, it was not forced to sign anything, it didn’t agree to anything, it was imposed by the Security Council. It stated that as long as Iraq didn’t get rid of the WMDs the sanctions would remain. In 1995, there was conclusive proof that the WMDs were gone, but the US said that the sanctions would stay on as long as Saddam was in power. So they pretended there were still WMDs when they knew full well that there were none.

    Anyway, the Right claimed that as the Iraqis did not comply on the WMDs that therefore the US had the right under UN Security Council Resolutions to conquer Iraq. Such did not exist. They claimed that Iraq agreed to such conditions for the ceasefire. Another total utter lie!

    1. What lies?! George Bush’s worst moment of his Presidency was when Kanye West called him a racist.

      1. George W. Bush once claimed that Saddam had these pilot-less drones ready to cross the ocean and spray American cities with WMDs. I don’t even think that the U.S. can do this, their death robots have to be launched from American vessels and bases near the targets. And who can forget those immortal words “The smoking gun… coming in the form of a mushroom cloud”.

        Barbara Bush kept a pickled foetus on her mantelpiece so we know that this family is not exactly wholesome.

  5. Everything is a lie Glen lol. But the biggest and most obvious was about WMDs being in Iraq and therefore our reason to invade and fully occupy the country. This isn’t some radical statement, pretty mainstream.

  6. There was actually talk of attacking Iraq over the WMD question before the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. This was because Saddam Hussein made this speech to the party congress describing what would happen if Israel was to repeat what it did in 1981 when it bombed the nuclear power plant. This caused a frenzy to come out of the usual circles and calls for war on Iraq were part of that.

      1. I think there were reports of some rusted mustard gas shells – mustard gas that can be defeated with simple urine and was a World War I problem. The inspectors didn’t think enough of them to dispose of them.

        There is confusion anyway about mass destruction. Some gases are far deadlier than others. The same with biological weapons. I remember when anthrax attacks happened former CIA director Woolsey blamed Saddam even though his government never produced powder anthrax, only liquid anthrax which is not effective. The powder is the way it can qualify as “mass destruction” – only the US and USSR succeeded in this and at one point there was an accident in Sverdlovsk and many died when some powder anthrax got loose in the city in the 1970s.

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