Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Opposing the War from Within the Military

Just to expand on this little nugget from Steve Benen:

Way back in September, USA Today reported that Barack Obama and Ron Paul, who don’t have too much in common, were the top two presidential candidates when it came to financial support from U.S. troops.



Conservatives opposed to redeployment in Iraq have consistently claimed that U.S. troops are on their side…. Yet U.S. troops disagree. Yesterday, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that members of the military donated the most not to McCain, but to two anti-war candidates:

“Individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services among the top contributors in the 4th Quarter, ranking No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, respectively. In 2007, Republican Ron Paul, who opposes U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the top recipient of money from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Barack Obama, another war opponent, was second with about $94,000.”

These donations reflect the military’s disapproval with the Iraq war and President Bush’s handling of it. A recent Military Times poll found that just 46 percent of U.S. troops now believe that the country should have invaded Iraq, and only 30 percent approve of Bush’s handling of the war.

John McCain likes to say that, as far as he’s concerned, the message from the troops to the country is, “Let us win.”

First of all, I don't think I ever met anyone while in the military who boasted about giving money to a politician. I think that's the thing officers, maybe senior enlisted would engage in, but privately. And I do mean, privately, when they do it the right way, and publicly and in front of everyone when they do it the wrong way. There are a lot of people who buy what Ron Paul is selling, and the fact that they're found in the military is unsurprising. You have to be geeked out on obscure financial theories or confused about what is and what is not American history to "get" Ron Paul, apparently.

Second of all, since the majority of military members probably wouldn't give money to a politician under any circumstances, McCain can still claim they support him.

Third of all, McCain should probably stop thinking he has anything to brag about when it comes to the "support" of the military. Time and time again, politicians confuse their VIP visits with troops as being "real" They're not. They are carefully scripted sit-downs and encounters with hand-picked troops, in most cases. They're staged and they're quick. No one is going to start bitching to a VIP about something in front of a bunch of Public Affairs officers and handlers. To extend that logic--no one is going to pick the company whiner to sit down with some VIPs. It's "rah rah" and "yes, sir, no, sir" and "we're winning!" type stuff. As soon as the VIPs are gone, everything goes back to normal. And that means that the piles of broken and useless shit that were hidden away have to be restacked and put back where they were.

Donations from the troops mean nothing. And they're never going to tell someone like McCain what they really think.


Read this over at Altercation:

The question I have been asking for years has been what if American society broke down due to a natural, economic, or political upheaval and the army was called out or decided on its own to put down the populace? Would the officers of today's army side with the population and uphold the Constitution, or would a cabal of officers similar to the ones Mr. Osborne describes move to stage a coup? Would the rank-and-file soldiers who have gone through a continuous barrage of right-wing philosophy be more likely to shoot their fellow Americans during such a crisis and support a military coup? I think officers like LTC Bateman would stand up for the America he swore to protect. But are there enough Batemans in the army to stand up to a rogue officer class? I don't know. But don't tell me that it can't happen here.

Let me answer that as easily as possible. Do you know what happens when a government in Africa collapses, and everyone starts killing each other without any rhyme or reason? That's what would happen here.

FEAR would take over. The military has great people in it, but every societal situation comes down to what happens when fear takes over. Perfectly reasonable and well educated people will eat their neighbor's dog, put on shoulderpads and helmets, mark their face with colored paint and shoot at helicopters for no reason if enough fear takes over.

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