I Support The Occupation Of Iraq, But I Don't Support Our TroopsCommentary • Politics • Opinion • war • iraq • military • ISSUE 43•12 ISSUE 41•08 • Feb 23, 2005 By James W. Henley James W. Henley The U.S. went to war in Iraq to remove an evil and dangerous political adversary from power. Now that we have done that, the American troops must remain in Iraq until the country is a fully functioning democracy, able to spark change throughout the entire Middle East. While I find this obvious, there are still a lot of people in our country who fail to grasp it. I support Bush-administration foreign-policy goals, but I stand firmly against the individual men and women on the ground in the Persian Gulf. Yes, occupying Iraq does require troops, but they are there for one reason and one reason only: to carry out the orders of the U.S. Defense Department. As far as their overall importance goes, they are no more worthy of our consideration than a box of nails. Ribbons and banners in ostensible "support" of the troops miss the whole point of the invasion, which is to gain a strategic hold over that volatile and lucrative geopolitical region. Need I remind the reader that it is our flag, not the troops, that we salute? It is our nation-state, not a bunch of 20-year-olds in parachute pants, that deserves our allegiance. As a patriot and true American, my heart sings at the thought of the Pentagon, and the zealous, calculating measures undertaken by the proud military bureaucracy of this great superpower. I feel a surge of pride when I think about our high-tech GBU laser-guided bombs, capable of carrying a 2,000-pound warhead. I tied a ribbon around my tree for the safe return of our nation's F-16s, because our military aircraft are instrumental to finishing our work in Iraq. And on the back of my car, I have a sticker stating my support for the CIA's ongoing efforts in Iraq. I support the occupation, and the occupation alone, because when we start to support the troops, we pave the way for irrelevant concerns about their families back at home. Before you know it, questions about who is and isn't going to be home in time for Christmas will be interfering with the crucial decision-making process of our commander-in-chief. I'd like to ask those currently trumpeting their support for the troops a question: Have you ever actually met any of these soldiers in person? Well, I have, and believe me, they are no more impressive than any other low-level functionary of a large institution. In all honesty, my soul swells with pride at the thought of the military-strategy papers and cost-analysis reports in which the troops are represented as numerical figures. But, as for the men and womenwell, in almost every respect, they are average. Although they are no less intelligent than any other American, it is certainly fair to say they lack the ability to devise the complex strategies and tactics to manage their own divisions, much less grasp the nuanced reasons for their deployment. It is ridiculous that my "heart" is somehow morally or ethically obliged to "go out" to the troops. In fact, had the troops not been put to productive labor by the sheer might and institutional authority of the U.S. military, a good number of them would be sitting around bars, drinking and gambling. In short, we shouldn't view the troops as objects of sympathy, because their very contribution to our society is their ability to carry out simple commands on a battlefield. Allow me to pursue this from a more personal angle. I have a son in the military. If I may say so, we've never gotten along particularly well. Frankly, he's been a bit of a disappointment to his mother and me. Nevertheless, he is our flesh and blood and always will be, and we wish him no harm. So I speak from a position of personal experience when I say that, while I do not wish death for any of the troops, death tolls should not be our greatest concern. All that matters is the pursuit of the foreign-policy goals of this great land, the land I love. America.