Message to the Troops: Resist!
Dear Soldier of the U.S. Military:
Considering the common practice of talking about "supporting the troops" in times of hostilities, I should let you know how I feel.
With all due respect, I want you to know that if you participate in this conflict, you are not serving me, and I don't support you. Speaking for myself, I feel those who participate will be damaging my reputation as an American, and further endangering me and my children by creating hatred that will someday be returned to us -- perhaps someday soon. Your actions will not lead to a safer world, but a more dangerous world of pre-emption and unilateral decisions to commit mayhem. I don't support that.
This talk of 'supporting the troops' is just another method our government uses to manipulate and control us. I don't support the troops, but I certainly fear for the lives of the troops. I would support the troops staying home. I regret that our so-called leaders have involved the troops in such a foolish, misguided undertaking. I would support the troops disobeying orders. I feel sorry for the troops' families. I would support the troops if they realized that the best way to defend their families would be to stay alive and healthy and resist this war.
The only people the troops are possibly serving are those who agree with this act of military aggression. Perhaps you are not even serving them if they end up suffering retribution for your actions.
Oh yes, and you are serving the President, of course -- the man who avoided combat duty and deserted his National Guard unit. You are serving the man who enriched himself through crony capitalism, shady accounting practices and insider trading while running multiple corporations into bankruptcy. You will be serving the man who lost the popular vote for president, but was handed the presidency by a Supreme Court influenced by his father and through voting irregularities in a state governed by his brother. You will be serving the man who, as President, turned the budget surplus into a deficit and presided over the largest stock market decline since the great depression. You will be serving the man who unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, ignored the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and rejected the International Criminal Court and Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming.
If you are involved in an invasion of Iraq, you will be faced with some difficult ethical decisions. Are the Iraqi foot soldiers really the guilty party here? Is it reasonable to expect them to refuse orders to defend themselves against an invading force (you)? Is this conflict really necessary at all? If not, why kill these people? If it is, are there other means our Commander-in-Chief and others are not exploring that might prevent you from having to kill these people and possibly civilians too, and possibly die yourself or contribute to your friend's death? I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions.
I feel for you and the difficult decisions you must make. I hope this note frees you of any sense of obligation to serve me you must feel, and helps you make a conscientious decision that you will be proud to accept complete responsibility for making. Please pass the sentiments I expressed in this letter on to your fellow soldiers.
David Wiggins attended West Point and York Medical College. During Operation Desert Storm he left the Army as a conscientious objector. He is currently an emergency room physician. Email him at email@example.com.