Liberals, Democrats and others on the Left frequently state that they "support the troops." For most of them, whether they realize it or not, this is not true. They feel they must say this because the majority of Americans would find any other position unacceptable. Indeed, for most liberals, the thought that they really do not support the troops is unacceptable even to them.
Lest this argument be dismissed as an attack on leftist Americans' patriotism, let it be clear that leftists' patriotism is not the issue here. Their honesty is.
In order to understand this, we need to first have a working definition of the term "support the troops." Presumably it means that one supports what the troops are doing and rooting for them to succeed. What else could "support the troops" mean? If you say, for example, that you support the Yankees or the Dodgers, we assume it means you want them to win.
But most of the Left does not want the troops to win in Iraq. The Left's message is this: "You troops may think you are winning; you may think you are doing good and moral things in Iraq; you may believe you are fighting the worst human beings of our age and protecting us against the scourge of Islamic terror. But we on the Left believe none of that. We believe this war is being fought for oil and for Halliburton and other corporations; we believe you are waging a war that is both illegal and immoral; we believe you have invaded a country for no good reason and have killed a hundred thousand Iraqis [the Left's generally mentioned number] for no good reason; but, hey, we sure do support you."
Honest people on the Left need to understand that the two positions are not reconcilable. A German citizen during World War II could not have argued: "The Nazi regime's army is engaged in an evil war of aggression and is slaughtering millions of innocent people, and I therefore completely oppose this war, but I sure do support the Nazi troops."
One example is the claim made by Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and almost all other Democrats and liberals that the war in Iraq is "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." How does one support troops that are fighting a wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time? A few leftist writers have been honest enough to say, "Nothing personal, guys, but I sure don't support you." But the vast majority of the Left and all Democratic politicians have not been honest on this matter.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”
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