Poverty...What is it good for?There's this idea that Americans fight when things need fighting. Taxation without representation? Fight. The preservation of the Union? Fight. The march of the Third Reich? Fight. A solid majority of Americans got behind these fights. And so we fought. And the "good guys," a.k.a. us, won.
But this idea that Americans fight when things need fighting has some pretty gaping holes (ignoring, for the moment if you will, the pacifist argument). Grenada, Vietnam, Mexico -- for reasons such as "protecting American students," "Soviet containment," and (let's not forget) "failing to salute the American flag."
Dusty, I don't think it's safe to assume that "given there is no draft, that most people involved in the war are supporting it." People sign up for the military to fight the WWIIs, not the Vietnams. They trust that their government won't lead them to war based on questionable/discredited intelligence or for failing to salute American flags.
But even that statement, that people sign up to fight the WWIIs, might be a false assumption. Can we assume that everyone in the military, draft or no, is there because they want to fight? No, no and no. People join for lots of reasons -- to help pay for college, travel around the world, gain technical experience, please their parents, have some pictures in uniform for their congressional run, and get out of inner-city gangs, small town life or bone-crushing poverty.
Sure, there were plenty of people who joined post-9/11 to fight terrorism, but not enough to meet the current needs of the American military. Why else do you think Army recruiters roam Black and Hispanic neighborhoods all over the U.S. looking for would-be soldiers? Because minorities hate terror more than white people?
Like always, America fights its wars on the backs of the poor and oppressed. Can't get white college grads like Jonny Rice to join the Marines? Then check out the inner city.
So my solution for supporting the troops? Speak out for the poor and oppressed. The day we get rid of hopeless poverty and make it possible for everyone to get the technical/academic education they desire (without joining the army), the military establishment will "wither on the vine," as it were. If you stop the primary source of recruitment for the military, you'll make it impossible for our country to go to war without a true-blue "all volunteer" army.
That doesn't stop the government from lying to our faces the next time they want to go to war. But it does make it difficult for them to maintain the military manpower necessary for a war that 60% of Americans now believe was a mistake.
And because it makes it difficult for the military to maintain sustained combat-actions based on crap intelligence and post-terror-attack-furor, I think we'd see the chances for combat-actions (anywhere, anytime) drop dramatically.
So then ideally (at least, in my mind), all that we're left with are the wars most Americans feel were really worth it -- the wars against actual terrorists, or colonial oppression, or genocidal, fascist dictators.
That is, if you believe those wars are worth fighting in the first place. But that's another conversation entirely.