Call it flame-bait, but I am going to say something that might piss off some people especially my friends in the military. I am completely fed up with all of the "Support our Troops" bullshit. I refuse to pay special attention or heap any special praise on someone simply because they are in the military. They are doing a job just like everyone else. Many are putting their lives in harms way, but it was their choice just like people choose to be police officers and fire fighters or even those that keep electricity flowing to our houses by working on high-voltage lines or those that keep gasoline in our tanks by working in refineries.
I most certainly don't agree with humiliating or denigrating soldiers as it was done during Vietnam. I had a good friend tell me a story of being pissed on by hippies at an airport when he returned home. There's no excuse for that. No, I am just sick of the fact that I should somehow feel grateful that you're "fighting for us" in Iraq. No, you're not fighting for us, you are fighting for corporations and oil. Perhaps you are fighting so that Iraq can be the whipping boy for terrorists. Why try to bomb the US when you can easily go to Iraq and fight a real jihad instead?
Watch a movie about Viet Nam and see how the similarities are growing all the time. I was thinking about a quote from "Full Metal Jacket" the other day when someone made a comment about bringing freedom to the Iraquis. "They took our freedom away and gave it to the gooks. The only problem is that they don't want it, poor dumb bastards." The biggest difference between now and then is that everyone fighting right now is a volunteer. So don't give me sob stories about how tough things are. You signed up for it. You might say that there is an economic draft. When you have no future, the military is a way out. I find it kind of funny. Instead of a drug dealer pulling up in a fancy Cadillac telling you that you can make $1000/week selling drugs you have a recruiter pulling up in a fancy new Hummer telling you how you can get a free college education and all sorts of nifty training just by signing up for a few years. In either case you might get killed.
There is the thing about "serving your country." That I can understand. Believe it or not, that was one of the deciding factors for me pursuing a government job. I didn't want to be a corporate whore. I wanted a job where I could protect and manage natural resources in a sane and logical way that would bridge the gap between the enviros on one side and the exploiters on the other. So I can understand the desire to join the military to protect the borders of the US from attack. It's just sad that politicians will risk your life for their own political gains. And it is utterly repulsive to think that your life would be risked for financial gain.
I am grateful that we have a military just like I am grateful that there are all sorts of public servants out there. I don't like, however, the militarization of the country. I hope that the armed forces find it increasing difficult to recruit new soldiers. Maybe it will wise up the politicians that war should never be entered into lightly and that the reasons must be only for the direct security of this country.