I have compiled a brief list of resources that I think may help dispel the myth that support for veterans ought to be equated with supporting the imperialist ventures manifest in U.S. foreign policy. I hope these will be using in countering the dominant hegemony around ultra-jingiostic days like today, and help us see that it is not foreign citizens or critics of imperial policy that are the enemies of U.S. troops, but the leaders who will push them into war with callous regard for their safety, their lives, or their families.
First, here is succinct Noam Chomsky clip discussing the purpose of empty slogans like "Support Our Troops." I think he makes a compelling argument that, in reality, they simply do not mean anything:
Second, here is some audio and some written excerpts of Michael Parenti's "Superpatriotism," which provides a percussive blow to the Superpatriots who proclaim that all glory goes to the nation-state and should take the shape of uncritical support of that particular state's foreign policy aims:
"Superpatriots are those people who place national pride and American supremacy above every other public consideration, those who follow leaders uncritically, especially in their war policies abroad. Superpatriotism is the nationalistic hype propagated by officialdom, the media, and various flag-waving groups.
Michael Parenti demonstrates how superpatriotism attaches itself to religion, sports, the military, the schools, and big business. He questions whether its top politico-economic propagators are themselves really patriotic, given how they evade taxes, export our jobs, pollute our land, and plunder the public treasury.
With incisive probing, fine style, and humorous touch, Parenti treats such urgent questions as: What does it mean to love one’s country? Why is it so important to be Number One? What determines America’s “greatness?” And are we really God's gift to humanity? He examines how US leaders and the corporate media fan the flames of fear to win support for huge arms budgets, global aggrandizement, and the suppression of political dissent at home and abroad.
Finally, Parenti poses an alternative to superpatriotism, arguing that the real patriots are those who care enough to educate themselves about our country’s history and its present plight. He reminds us that it is not “anti-American” to criticize unjust social conditions at home or oppose global policies pursued by our rulers. Rather it is our democratic right and patriotic duty to do so."
Third, here is a fantastic, powerful documentary called "Sir, No Sir!" that shows Vietnam veterans speaking out against U.S. empire and dismantling the myth of "superpatriot" soldiers who mindlessly go into battle pursuing U.S. hegemony:
Lastly, here is the page to Iraq Veterans Against the War. Here is a very brief outline of their program.
Immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq
Reparations for the human and structural damages suffered in Iraq so that the peoples there might regain their right to self-determination.
Full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.
Iraq Veterans Against the War has also passed resolutions opposing the war in Afghanistan, in support of non-violence, and opposing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
Also, please go here to view a far more in-depth, articulate account of their opposition to U.S. wars.
The best way we can honor our soldiers is by bringing them home to their families and loved ones, supplying them with the adequate healthcare to combat the horrors of war and the resulting PTSD and increased depression, and by providing reparations to the countries that these young men and women were forced to go over and wreak havoc upon. Let's remember the veterans who have been pushed into fighting and dieing, but let us remember alongside them the innocent civilians, the mothers and daughters, the fathers and sons, who have been witnessed the cold hand of death take away their loved ones and family members.