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Moore writes: "I don't support the troops, America, and neither do you. I am tired of the ruse we are playing on these brave citizens in our armed forces. And guess what - a lot of these soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines see right through the bullshit of those words, 'I support the troops!'"

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images)

Those Who Say "I Support the Troops" Should Just Stop

By Michael Moore, Open Mike

04 January 13


don't support the troops, America, and neither do you. I am tired of the ruse we are playing on these brave citizens in our armed forces. And guess what - a lot of these soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines see right through the bull**** of those words, "I support the troops!," spoken by Americans with such false sincerity - false because our actions don't match our words. These young men and women sign up to risk their very lives to protect us - and this is what they get in return:

1. They get sent off to wars that have NOTHING to do with defending America or saving our lives. They are used as pawns so that the military-industrial complex can make billions of dollars and the rich here can expand their empire. By "supporting the troops," that means I'm supposed to shut up, don't ask questions, do nothing to stop the madness, and sit by and watch thousands of them die? Well, I've done an awful lot to try and end this. But the only way you can honestly say you support the troops is to work night and day to get them out of these hell holes they've been sent to. And what have I done this week to bring the troops home? Nothing. So if I say "I support the troops," don't believe me - I clearly don't support the troops because I've got more important things to do today, like return an iPhone that doesn't work and take my car in for a tune up.

2. While the troops we claim to "support" are serving their country, bankers who say they too "support the troops," foreclose on the actual homes of these soldiers and evict their families while they are overseas! Have I gone and stood in front of the sheriff's deputy as he is throwing a military family out of their home? No. And there's your proof that I don't "support the troops," because if I did, I would organize mass sit-ins to block the doors of these homes. Instead, I'm having Chilean sea bass tonight.

3. How many of you who say you "support the troops" have visited a VA hospital to bring aid and comfort to the sick and wounded? I haven't. How many of you have any clue what it's like to deal with the VA? I don't. Therefore, you would be safe to say that I don't "support the troops," and neither do you.

4. Who amongst you big enthusiastic "supporters of the troops" can tell me the approximate number of service women who have been raped while in the military? Answer: 19,000 (mostly) female troops are raped or sexually assaulted every year by fellow American troops. What have you or I done to bring these criminals to justice? What's that you say - out of sight, out of mind? These women have suffered, and I've done nothing. So don't ever let me get away with telling you I "support the troops" because, sadly, I don't. And neither do you.

5. Help a homeless vet today? How 'bout yesterday? Last week? Last year? Ever? But I thought you "support the troops!"? The number of homeless veterans is staggering - on any given night, at least 60,000 veterans are sleeping on the streets of the country that proudly "supports the troops." This is disgraceful and shameful, isn't it? And it exposes all those "troop supporters" who always vote against social programs that would help these veterans. Tonight there are at least 12,700 Iraq/Afghanistan veterans homeless and sleeping on the street. I've never lent a helping hand to one of the many vets I've seen sleeping on the street. I can't bear to look, and I walk past them very quickly. That's called not "supporting the troops," which, I guess, I don't - and neither do you.

6. And you know, the beautiful thing about all this "support" you and I have been giving the troops - they feel this love and support so much, a record number of them are killing themselves every single week. In fact, there are now more soldiers killing themselves than soldiers being killed in combat (323 suicides in 2012 through November vs. about 210 combat deaths). Yes, you are more likely to die by your own hand in the United States military than by al Qaeda or the Taliban. And an estimated eighteen veterans kill themselves each day, or one in five of all U.S. suicides - though no one really knows because we don't bother to keep track. Now, that's what I call support! These troops are really feeling the love, people! Lemme hear you say it again: "I support the troops!" Louder! "I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!!" There, that's better. I'm sure they heard us. Don't forget to fly our flag, wear your flag lapel pin, and never, ever let a service member pass you by without saying, "Thank you for your service!" I'm sure that's all they need to keep from putting a bullet in their heads. Do your best to keep your "support" up for the troops because, God knows, I certainly can't any longer.

I don't "support the troops" or any of those other hollow and hypocritical platitudes uttered by Republicans and frightened Democrats. Here's what I do support: I support them coming home. I support them being treated well. I support peace, and I beg any young person reading this who's thinking of joining the armed forces to please reconsider. Our war department has done little to show you they won't recklessly put your young life in harm's way for a cause that has nothing to do with what you signed up for. They will not help you once they've used you and spit you back into society. If you're a woman, they will not protect you from rapists in their ranks. And because you have a conscience and you know right from wrong, you do not want yourself being used to kill civilians in other countries who never did anything to hurt us. We are currently involved in at least a half-dozen military actions around the world. Don't become the next statistic so that General Electric can post another record profit - while paying no taxes - taxes that otherwise would be paying for the artificial leg that they've kept you waiting for months to receive.

I support you, and will try to do more to be there for you. And the best way you can support me - and the ideals our country says it believes in - is to get out of the military as soon as you can and never look back.

And please, next time some "supporter of the troops" says to you with that concerned look on their face, "I thank you for your service," you have my permission to punch their lights out (figuratively speaking, of course).

(There is something I've done to support the troops - other than help lead the effort to stop these senseless wars. At the movie theater I run in Michigan, I became the first person in town to institute an affirmative action plan for hiring returning Iraq/Afghanistan vets. I am working to get more businesses in town to join with me in this effort to find jobs for these returning soldiers. I also let all service members in to the movies for free, everyday.) your social media marketing partner


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+150 # ThinkRodan 2013-01-04 10:16
The so-called VOLUNTEER ARMY is unequally staffed by poor & minority personnel. It was created to save the RICH KIDS from doing their share of the sacrifice in "service to our country"! They profit while others lose life and limb and are POORLY TREATED when they return home with broken bodies,minds and desperate financial affairs! Where is the SHARED SACRIFICE in this arrangement?
-102 # edge 2013-01-04 11:01
Quoting ThinkRodan:
The so-called VOLUNTEER ARMY is unequally staffed by poor & minority personnel. It was created to save the RICH KIDS from doing their share of the sacrifice in "service to our country"! They profit while others lose life and limb and are POORLY TREATED when they return home with broken bodies,minds and desperate financial affairs! Where is the SHARED SACRIFICE in this arrangement?


Personally I have two WHITE nephews currently serving. One in Afghanistan right now!

The all volunteer is because it takes too long and too much money to train a soldier these days. With all of the technology involved you would always have new recruits that don't know how everything works and training new people is much more expensive than keeping trained people around.
+66 # RLF 2013-01-04 13:13
Thank god some one finally said it. I'm soo tired of the empty bullshit on oall of the politician's lips. We've got to get our military down to a size we can drown it in a bathtub!
-34 # JackB 2013-01-04 21:41
Quoting RLF:
We've got to get our military down to a size we can drown it in a bathtub!

Really?? Tell us - are you the tiger who would do the drowning? I think you'd soil your slacks at just the thought of going head-on with someone in the military.

I also think that if something happened you'd be first in line crying about the lack troops to save your sorry ass.
+38 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-04 23:06
I'd appreciate it if the troops would come home to the U.S., where our freedoms are actually in danger ----because from overseas, they can't save our sorry asses.
+5 # NanFan 2013-01-07 12:13
Totally agree, Lolana!

0 # devonola 2013-01-05 12:59
You've so missed the point.
+70 # NormRichardson 2013-01-04 13:24
The "All volunteer Army" was created by Richard Nixon To keep the offspring's of the wealthy safe at home and he nearly doubled the military pay to get enough volunteer's. Does that sound like something a republican would do If they were not desperate? Your nephew's don't make you an expert, they are both brain washed as are all the other enlisted personnel.
+97 # womyn 2013-01-04 13:27
Uncle, mark my words:
Tragically, your two nephews, gullible victims of propaganda created by the WAR MACHINE who voluntarily joined the military, will return home, if they do, as broken men, perhaps limb-less, certainly with PTSD and depression for the rest of their lives. Or they may join the shamefully high statistics of Vets who commit suicide, commits murder, or ends up homeless on the streets.
This is how the US takes care of its veterans. Don't forget
Agent Orange and how the US government lied, deceived and turned their backs away from countless thousands of Viet Nam Vets who greatly suffered the effects.
+43 # The Ice Maiden 2013-01-04 15:55
Amen, Womyn. Amen.
And shame on us that we have allowed this to happen.
+14 # mdhome 2013-01-04 17:42
Because we cannot say this often enough:

Tragically, your two nephews, gullible victims of propaganda created by the WAR MACHINE who voluntarily joined the military, will return home, if they do, as broken men, perhaps limb-less, certainly with PTSD and depression for the rest of their lives. Or they may join the shamefully high statistics of Vets who commit suicide, commits murder, or ends up homeless on the streets.
This is how the US takes care of its veterans. Don't forget
Agent Orange and how the US government lied, deceived and turned their backs away from countless thousands of Viet Nam Vets who greatly suffered the effects.
+47 # Billsy 2013-01-04 13:40
What do you have to say about the number of returning vets suffering from PTSD? The human mind is much to fragile to tolerate extended (years) tours of duty. I hope you don't have to bury your nephews after their suicides. It's sadly all to common today. btw, I'm one of the last americans drafted into service (1972) and serve as a volunteer at the san francisco VA. The all volunteer army came about in 1974 in response to public denunciation of the vietnam war. The quality of volunteers was noticeably low in terms of intelligence and socialization. It wasn't until the stagflation of the late 1970s and the dismal economy under Reagan, that young men and women desperate for work looked toward the armed forces for employment. So, aside from sharing some anecdotal information about your 'white nephews" what are you doing to support the troops?
-94 # Roxanne 2013-01-04 14:10
When some people have little to say or substance they try to make the conversation into a "racial" issue, especially if they are like Mr. Moore, who is always one-sided and feels his views are accurate an intelligent, when they are not! Far too "left" Mr. Moore
+33 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-04 23:16
Are you saying vets aren't committing suicide in those numbers? Do you deny the thousands and thousands of vets are homeless on the street?
Go for it, look up his numbers and you'll see they're right. It's not "left" or "right" it's "right" and "wrong" and you're wrong.
+4 # devonola 2013-01-05 13:15
Racism is one-side. That's what racism is.MM, and other fighters against social/economic al/political injustice are giving a voice to the voiceless, the oppressed. The oppressor doesn't get a voice in this conversation since it gets it's say in everyday life. Are you interested in the Nazi version? I'm sure they have one. Do they get to justify why they oppressed? How about slave owners? That's the problem and one you've clearly missed. One can make an assumption as to which side of this moral issue your on.

Please, support your "opinion" with facts that white children of privilege dominate the armed services.
+30 # womyn 2013-01-04 15:01
Misguided Uncle, read this:

Suicides Outnumber Battle Deaths in the Armed Services
S.E. Smith, Care2: Approxim ately every 80 minutes, a US military veteran commits suicide in the United States; for Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers of veterans lost to suicide now outstrips casualty lists of those killed in action.
Read the Article
+51 # The Ice Maiden 2013-01-04 15:53
Edge - I will pray for your "two WHITE nephews". And I will pray for you. If you think the current miliary environment is honorable, you have been conned. We treat our miliary soldiers like garbags when they come home. I notice that everyone wants to show up and leave flags along the roads of funerals, and mark their cars with cheap bumper stickers proclaiming "I support our troops", but precious few people want to pay what it will take in order to take proper care of our wounded and permanently damaged returning soldiers. We care only as long as it doesn't cost us anything. Do you think the high rate of suicide means nothing?
+2 # David Starr 2013-01-05 15:22
Quoting edge: "Personally I have two WHITE nephews currently serving. One in Afghanistan right now!" Imperially-spea king, poor bastards.

Volunteering in the U.S. military began, I beleive, in the mid-1970s. Quite few years ago. Earlier technology, of course. And I've never read or heard from then on that the military became voluntary based on your assertions. New technology? Sure. Basic/fundament al training methods? Still exist (how could they not?).

Soldiers good at one thing and bad at another? Yeah. Using the appropriate traing methods? Why not? (Soldiers specialized for a particular field, e.g.)

As for the already trained, they had to start somewhere. So, beginning or later, expenses occur (and can increase, like any other "commodity" does; everyone and everthing seems to be a commodity under the current political/econo mic system).

Thus, it would appear that expenses go up regardless of a draft or volunteering, e.g., federal policies changing (or not changing) in regards to funding being more or less.

But no bringing back the draft, where one, e.g., with particular circumstances would find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Just as important, "forced participation" benefitting an imperial foreign policy.
+5 # Texas Aggie 2013-01-05 23:58
So there are two white men serving in the military, and that's supposed to mean something? What kind of jobs did your nephews have that they gave up to take military pay? Or was military the only offer they had?

You are the one who is dead wrong. The vast majority of military people are there because they have no other option of getting out of a dead end life. It's their only way of financing education. It's the only job that they could find given their qualifications. Why else do the majority of soldiers come from areas where there just is no employment that can support a person let alone a family? Why else does the military emphasize recruitment of undocumented aliens as a way of getting a green card?
+81 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-04 11:42
George Bernard Shaw has passed away. But his words still ring true. "The longer I'm here the more I think this planet is used by other planets as an asylum for the insane."
+1 # RMDC 2013-01-08 05:25
And the US is the place where they place the worst of the worst. Generally the White House is reserved for the lunatic in chief. Congress, too.
-39 # Robt Eagle 2013-01-04 11:44
ThinkRodan: Absolutely mis-information . see page 8 of the following report for the reality of troop breakdown by race:
+25 # Billsy 2013-01-04 13:41
Stick to subject please. What are YOU doing to support the troops?
+34 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-01-04 15:40
Robt Eagle: A small lesson in statistical analysis.
If you have an army of 10 soldiers, and 5 are white and 5 are minority, it does seem, to the uninformed, that a 1-1 ratio of white to minority is significant and fair.
But here is where the math comes in.
If the pool of potential white soldiers is 100, then 5 solders accounts for 5% of the pool. If the minority pool is only 10, then 5 soldiers accounts for 50% of that pool! There is where the unfairness of the 'all volunteer army' raises its ugly head.

Numbers and facts, in the wrong hands, usually results in biased conclusions, or conclusions that support a certain agenda.

In the computer world there is this acronym-GIGO, which stands for Garbage In, Garbage Out. This applies, in this case.
+6 # bmiluski 2013-01-04 12:45
Yeah.....the very same thing was said during the VN draft.
Hmmm, I didn't know that Joe Biden's son was a poor minority.
+22 # moonrivermastiff 2013-01-04 18:13
the inconvenient truth is we have a standing army as opposed to a "citizen militia" as mentioned in our constitution because we don't want to be bothered.
Getting back to the problem at hand: thanks again to Michael Moore for speaking the truth.
+6 # Rick Levy 2013-01-04 20:14
"It was created to save the RICH KIDS from doing their share of the sacrifice in "service to our country"

If there's a reason the all-voluntary military was created, that isn't it. During the height of the Vietnam war, rich kids easily either evaded the then-draft, or got light duty. Think Dubya and the Creedaence Clearwater sont "Forturnate Son".
-14 # JackB 2013-01-04 21:32
Are you going to share your military experiences with us or are you one of the RICH KIDS?

Back in the 60s & 70s the so-called anti-war movement was populated in large part by the rather well-off student children of well-off parents. The liberals of those days. Many ran off to Canada & other places to save their asses from the draft. Nixon's solution to the problem was the volunteer Army. I don't like the idea but it's what we have.

There always have been & always will be people who profit from war. An unpleasant fact of life.

I am a Nam vet. The poor treatment I received when I returned home was from the liberal community &, if you haven't seen them in action, you have no idea what filthy garbage-mouth trash liberals can be. Not all, but those that attacked (verbally) the troops were the lowest of the low.

The "Support the Troops" is a reaction to the liberals of the Vietnam era blaming the soldiers for the war. This was an attempt to show that it was understood politicians, not soldiers, were responsible.

Volunteer Armies are always mostly populated by the poorer segments of society. I am a firm believer in the draft. Everyone has an obligation to their country & should be at risk of serving.
+109 # KrazyFromPolitics 2013-01-04 10:17
I'm glad someone finally said this in a public forum, and especially, the reminder about the form of support rendered by bankers.
+74 # DLT888 2013-01-04 10:50
Me, too. Thank you for saying this out loud, Michael Moore! I remember the first fight I got into when we attacked Iraq. I was driving through a street that was anti-war on one side and pro-side on another. The pro-side (OLD WHITE MEN!!!) yelled into my car to Support the Troops. I yelled back that I DID support the troops because I believed they should NOT killed just to gain oil rights! I told him if he thought they should, then HE didn't support the troops! He actually shut up completely for several minutes.
+11 # mdhome 2013-01-04 17:55
GOOD! Good for you.
+5 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-04 23:19
Why do old white men want to send young men to fight each other and die?
Because the ones who profit from it control who goes on the air, and the people who go on the air are believed.
They are believed because people believe broadcasting is a meritocracy.
+2 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 14:51
And I don't mean people here believe that. This is not that audience. But that audience is vast.
+6 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 10:17
Wow, let's cut through the crap- how many of our troops would go and fight if they weren't paid?
Lets say they just got uniforms, guns and food.
Certainly not enough to even begin to occupy Afghanistan or any of the other 130 bases around the world the empire governs for corporations .
So lets call the troops what they are- mercenaries for global capital
+94 # jon 2013-01-04 10:49
Quoting Grout4cake:
Wow, let's cut through the crap- how many of our troops would go and fight if they weren't paid?
Lets say they just got uniforms, guns and food.
Certainly not enough to even begin to occupy Afghanistan or any of the other 130 bases around the world the empire governs for corporations .
So lets call the troops what they are- mercenaries for global capital

If you define mercenaries as those who can't find a job because they have all been sent overseas, and the military is the only alternative to absolutely nothing, then yes, they are mercenaries.

BUT, I don't define them as mercenaries. I define them as disenfranchised poor people who have been propagandized out of their presence of mind by too many "Rah-Rah" war movies.

Support Our Troops by bringing them HOME.

Michael has never been more correct than he is with this essay.
+31 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 12:14
"If you define mercenaries as those who can't find a job because they have all been sent overseas, and the military is the only alternative to absolutely nothing, then yes, they are mercenaries."

It is time we need to recognize the mercenary nature of the military and quit all the hypocrisy about freedom, democracy etc.Those words are a cover that legitimizes the violence and destruction that the U.S. metes out daily in order to advance so called capitalism( in reality taxpayer subsidy of the top 1%)Violence and destruction delivered through the "job"of being a soldier.
I am not against self defense,in fact soldiers who would protect our country under attack would do so because they love our country and its people, not in order to gain a monthly salary, benefits,career advancement or college degrees.However Our country has not been under military attack from an outside force for more than 60 years, instead we have wantonly destroyed , maimed and murdered millions globally.Perhap s if instead of taking the "job" of killing. (why are soldiers different than working for the Mafia , thats a paid killer too) people who become soldiers would apply themselves to uniting in order to create a future of safety and hope for all people,our country would not rest so uneasily.
+5 # guomashi 2013-01-04 12:46
Quoting jon:
[quote name="Grout4cake"]

If you define mercenaries as those who can't find a job because they have all been sent overseas, and the military is the only alternative to absolutely nothing, then yes, they are mercenaries.

They are mercenaries because they are fighting for money.
They are not fighting for freedom, or for democracy or to defend america or to keep americans safe.

They are fighting for money - hence the 50,000$ enlistment bonuses Bush set up.
+3 # Timaloha 2013-01-04 18:47
"They are mercenaries because they are fighting for money.
They are not fighting for freedom, or for democracy or to defend america or to keep americans safe."

Every US soldier who fought in every US war or conflict was paid (or at least was supposed to be paid) for their service. Does that mean no US soldier ever fought for freedom, democracy, defense or to keep America safe? There's more to the term "mercenary" than money.
+1 # jon 2013-01-04 10:51
"you have my permission to punch their lights out (figuratively speaking, of course)."

What is it about "figuratively speaking" that you don't understand?
+12 # Robert B 2013-01-04 11:08
What you say is true of Blackwater, but not the Marines. The U.S. military isn't in it for the money, certainly not the troops.
-10 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 13:42
Then why do they accept money?

Pretty sure freedom fighters in other countries aren't on salary, much less bonues.
I have seen 25k bonuses offered for signing on
+14 # Robert B 2013-01-04 15:04
What I got as a Pfc in the Marines was about $90/month, which included $17/month combat pay. I was offered $10,000 to re-enlist, but one time around was plenty for me. For less than a hundred bucks a month, people like me were "mercenaries"? For being shot at for a month, I got seventeen bucks? Boy, I was a regular "Soldier of Fortune," eh?
-9 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 19:57
You think because one Mafioso makes a hit for $50 and another for
$ 2000 , one is less a mercenary than the other?
+60 # Erdajean 2013-01-04 11:20
Is this what you would say, if one of them were YOURS? Here's the picture of ours -- who was picked too green to know a "mercenary" if he saw one!
During his senior year at a remote Appalachian high school, he was fair game to the recruiters who prowled the halls and ball ground every day, with glamorous stories of heroes who put on a pretty uniform, wowed the girls, went abroad and Made Their Country Safe For Mama and Sweetheart -- by doing what they did best, already -- shooting. There were NO decent jobs for many miles around -- thanks to the same crew of despicable criminals who gave us these wars -- but if you joined and shot some swarthy Bad Guys you didn't know anyway (plus -- left unsaid -- maybe a little kid and a granny or so), you WOULD earn a free ride to college and the good life. AND -- you WOULD get paid! So all the pleading in the world would not stop this poorly-educated , thoroughly indoctrinated boy from "the right thing." Yes, he knows better now. Innocence is lost -- shooting people is NOT shooting squirrels -- and dreams are darkened forever. This, friend, is your "mercenary." So easy for you to say ---
+23 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-04 11:46
There are countries that have standing arrest warrants for Bush and Cheney, war crimes. And some eastern U.S. states which do also. Bush and Cheney have to be careful about where they want to vacation.
And Obama said, "let let by-gones be just that." Right!
+14 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 13:59
When will people realize there is a correlation between lack of jobs and a mercenary army? The only industry the U.S.has not totally outsourced is cause they can count on words like hero,freedom, democracy to motivate the innocent and ignorant .
And then they add the fine print that enslaves you after you've seen the reality.

We are all mercenaries,, it takes money to live in this society , but very few of us will sign up to kill others for money,skills,co llege degrees or a career.

If you want to support the troops I hope you are fighting recruiters in schools and I hope your no longer innocent is loudly and clearly spreading his hard won wisdom
Every word of discouragement is another life saved.
+9 # mdhome 2013-01-04 18:06
Has he returned safely? I wish to say I hope so. Even if with lost innocence
+11 # Erdajean 2013-01-05 18:10
Thank you for asking, mdhome. No, he is in the very thick of the fighting, where and against whom we know not, nor, I bet, does HE. By now though he has started to wonder WHY -- and for whom.

I cannot emphasize enough the extent of the brainwashing and pressure that recruiters use on these kids -- particularly the kids with no immediately clear and grand futures. With ours, the relentless emphasis was on "protecting your mother and your girlfriend." Keeping America SAFE from "camel-jockeys" who just can't wait to invade America and do bad things to women. His family did everything we could, to distract him, other than tie him up in the cellar till the war passed over.

He was outraged, horrified that we were SO "unpatriotic," in the face of such terrorism. After all, he was 18 and knew exactly what he was doing. Yeah.

You are so right -- we just want him home, nightmares and all. But I will have a hard time EVER forgiving the low-life "leadership" of this oountry, for what they have done to a generation of our children. And they did it for their OWN financial gain -- and ego.
+18 # propsguy 2013-01-04 12:13
it's true that we have mercenaries working for contracted armies profiting security companies but most of the volunteer army works for a very low salary but probably a better one than what they would otherwise get a their local walmart because all other jobs have been shipped, tax-free, overseas.

these people aren't going to afghanistan to make a fortune.

i agree that they should stop. better to rake leaves for subsistence than fight a corrupt empire's battles and do the bidding of rich old white men who would sell you down the river for an extra penny on their balance sheet

by all means call Congress mercenary, call the Supreme Court mercenary, call the bankers, Halliburtin, Blackwater, Walmart mercenary

but you can't call the troops mercenary
-1 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:00
Mercenary is not defined by the amount paid , but the willingness to be willing to take lives for money or other tangible benefit, other than self defense.
+3 # Robert B 2013-01-05 11:52
You are just as much a doctrinaire extremist as the Republicans who refuse to raise taxes on billionaires. You've cooked up a crackpot argument and carried it to the limits of absurdity. You are not "giving peace a chance." You are clinging to a philosophical argument that is simply not true and gets more ridiculous the harder you flog it.
+19 # womyn 2013-01-04 15:05
Mercenaries are paid enormous sums, three or four and five times that of the gullible enlisted military. Fact, not fiction!

Keep in mind that most of the voluntary enlisted military live where there are NO jobs! They are manipulated into signing with bonuses, and promises of education and training for jobs. All BS.
+15 # TCinLA 2013-01-04 15:21
The all-volunteer military was created by Nixon when the regular Amry was so anti-war that troops were killing their NCOs and officers. They realized an all-volunteer force created from people with no alternative - or who were willing to believe the lies and propaganda - was the only way they could continue to fight their imperial wars, since democratic armies only fight for their countries.
+2 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:03
They are willing to take the job of killing other people they don't even know, including women and children because they can't find another source of good pay and don't want to apply for a Pell Grant?

Thats whats scary about America.
+4 # mdhome 2013-01-04 18:00
Mercenaries would fit the contracted workers the military hires to build barracks with faulty wiring so the showers kill, provide protection to big wheels, all those workers carry guns and use them sometimes on innocent civilians.
-1 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:07
And so do soldiers, for much , much less.

So who values life less?
The one who kills for penny or the one who kills for the big bucks?

How many times have you heard it said of an armed robber " and all he got was $25" with disbelief that someone would kill someone for such a small amount.
Thats basically what you are saying.
-75 # Robert B 2013-01-04 10:22
This is a little too far, Michael. While not very many people support the war in Afghanistan, a lot of us care a lot about our troops. Making a big show of how little you care ("Chilean sea bass"?) is a bit sick. I used to be one of those troops (Vietnam), engaged in an unpopular war. Back then, nobody (and I mean NOBODY) ever said "I thank you for your service." So now I'm supposed to punch their lights out, Michael? Really? This is one of the worst things I've ever known you to do.
+28 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 10:41
Please list the daily actions you take to show your " care", ok then , the weekly the monthly and the yearly.Buying them a beer at the VFW doesn't count.

And I read nothing about punching out anyone's lights out or evidence that NOBODY ever thanked a Vietnam Vet.We did better than thank them - we stopped a war in which they were being sacrificed & poisoned by Agent Orange for no reason whatsoever .
-19 # Robert B 2013-01-04 11:27
The punching out of lights is in Michael's second paragraph from the bottom. As for being thanked for our service, nobody said anything of the kind until at least 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War. You think you stopped the war, huh? How did you do that? By electing George McGovern? By sending a petition to Nixon? By yelling "Hey Hey LBJ" for years on end? Don't congratulate yourself too much, pal. The war ended of its own moral bankruptcy after going on for much too long. I'm so glad you did something so much more important than show a tiny bit of appreciation for the troops. I guess I should be grateful.
+15 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 13:37
Who do you think brought that moral bankruptcy to light?
Whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg, activists like the Berrigans and countless mothers, fathers and friends of too often ,dead and maimed, soldiers.And young people everywhere, at risk of being sent to give their lives for corporate profits.

Do you really think Iraq and Afghanistan are any less morally bankrupt?

The difference is in a private mercenary army vs a draft army, its quite obvious- you are going voluntarily and so who can really complain about the outcome.You volunteered in order to get paid and you're willing to kill on the bet that you'll win.When you don't, ,oh well, no one pays attention, except when the Defense budget needs to drum up more profits and then all at once remember "the heroes".That is exactly what Michael is writing about.
-13 # Robert B 2013-01-04 14:13
Like like Ellsberg, McGovern, even Jane Fonda. I think Michael could have made his point in a less insulting way. After doing something incredibly hard and extremely dangerous, a little bit of respect is kinda nice, even if the mission itself was morally bankrupt. Beating up on the troops for a bad mission is really bullshit.
+5 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:11
How can serving a morally bankrupt mission be done well?

Did you admire the 9/11 hijackers for their expertise in completing a morally bankrupt mission?
+6 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 14:57
You're right. It is.

So many of these guys are kids, and they believe what they're told. They have not had an opportunity to see the other side of things, or the larger picture. They get to find it out for themselves, in the most horrible, brutal, damaging way possible.

When I meet vets I say thanks first and try to just get their thoughts about any of it they're willing to talk about. Since it's my tax dollars supporting the wars, I feel like it's OK to ask. Some don't want to talk, many do.

I do think MM's suggestions are good, if one can overcome the anger in his piece. I feel shamed by it, actually. When was the last time I visited a VA hospital? Never.

But I will do it and soon. We need to care for these guys and share the truth with them, not demean or insult them. I see them as being swept along in a larger current in the river, just like we all are, to an extent. With different parents, different backgrounds, different learning experiences, they might not have gone to fight. But they did, and they have a wealth of information and even wisdom to share.
+11 # dkonstruction 2013-01-04 15:49
Quoting Robert B:
The punching out of lights is in Michael's second paragraph from the bottom. As for being thanked for our service, nobody said anything of the kind until at least 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War. You think you stopped the war, huh? How did you do that? By electing George McGovern? By sending a petition to Nixon? By yelling "Hey Hey LBJ" for years on end? Don't congratulate yourself too much, pal. The war ended of its own moral bankruptcy after going on for much too long. I'm so glad you did something so much more important than show a tiny bit of appreciation for the troops. I guess I should be grateful.

I think you are partially right in saying that the anti-war protesters alone did not bring the Vietnam War to an end but clearly they did play a role; no? In particular though i think the Vietnam Vets Against the War was a real turning point in at least getting some who had either supported the war or didn't think much about it either way to have to question things somewhat; after all these were vets many of whom had volunteered only to find that the war was not what they had been told. i also think an untold part of the story are the sectors of capital i.e., business that for their own reasons turned against the war. So, yes there was the moral bankruptcy and the length of the war as you point out but i don't think that is the whole picture either.
+8 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 14:59
When vets start speaking against the wars it's the turning point.
We need to support Iraq Vets For Peace and Courage To Resist, and pay close attention to the trial of Bradley Manning.
+9 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-04 17:32
Also by incredibly large marches (e.g., in NY of millions of people flooding the streets --reported as only tens of thousands by the supposedly accurate NYT!) with apolitical people like my stepmother who had never before marched in her life!
-20 # Jonathan Levy 2013-01-04 11:31
You didn't stop anything more effectively than today, mr hero 1960's person. the Vietnam war went on for a very long time into the mid seventies and most of you fashionable hippies are the corporate dicks of today
+3 # dkonstruction 2013-01-04 15:50
Quoting Jonathan Levy:
You didn't stop anything more effectively than today, mr hero 1960's person. the Vietnam war went on for a very long time into the mid seventies and most of you fashionable hippies are the corporate dicks of today

Not all "hippies" went the route of Jerry Rubin (Abbey never did for one) so i wouldn't overgeneralize although there are certainly enough that would fit the bill.
+10 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:14
Actually a lot of the corporate dicks of today are just like the chickenhawks filling the Bush administration.
They got student deferments or had parents rich enough to pay their way out of the draft.

But they are not adverse from profiting off other people's kids sent to war
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 15:01
Looks like the truth hurts some people. From hippies to drivers of SUV' a child of the 80's the self righteousness of former flower children can be overwhelming.
+58 # mike/ 2013-01-04 11:06
what he is saying is what the Adrian Dominican sisters taught us over and over in grammar school: "It's not what you sing. It's not what you pray. It's not what you say. It's what you DO that matters." and Mr. Moore is calling everyone out on this - including himself!
+33 # Skeptical1247 2013-01-04 11:48
Did you actually read the whole article? It would appear that you missed the whole point of it by focusing on his rhetorical flourishes, the whole point of which was to underscore with his own mea culpa that Americans in general are oblivious about "our troops" AND the crap they do supposedly in OUR name, but truly do for the benefit of multi-national corporations. This applies not only to the supposedly "justified" and "legal" mass murder, but also the fraud and waste amounting to 10% of the DoD budget. Where exactly is "honor" to be found in those activities? This theft could not possibly occur without the complicity of high-ranking people in uniform, and some utterly disgusting people in Congress, who are owned by military contractors. And the entire FUBAR beat goes on...
+2 # mdhome 2013-01-04 18:25
FUBAR, indeed!
+7 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-04 11:56
Welcome to the statement and thoughts by George Bernard Shaw:"the longer I'm here, the more I realize this planet is used by other planets as an asylum for the insane."
+13 # Doubter 2013-01-04 15:00
I felt this the day I started basic training during WWII!

"I beg any young person reading this who's thinking of joining the armed forces to please reconsider."
+1 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-04 17:34
A fanatic is apparently defined as someone who constantly repeats his one-note idea ad nauseum, and cannot hear anyone else through the noise.
+18 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-01-04 12:04
"Thank you." Yet, did you really know why you were sent to Vietnam? Remember the sarge who was televised drinking a glass of "Agent Orange/" "See, it's a harmless chemical." What was really in that glass?
Soldiers who were exposed to this deadly chemical found that after leaving service, many of them were "rotting from the inside out." I made friends with an army recruit, he served in vietnam. He said, "my doctors told me I have five or six years to live." He did not live those five or six years. Two years after he made that statement, he was "gone."
+3 # mdhome 2013-01-04 18:27
+14 # TCinLA 2013-01-04 15:20
As a fellow Vietnam vet who was active in the GI antiwar movement then and a supporter of IVAW (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Against the War) now, you don't really "get it" Robert. In fact the "thank you for your service" comments almost invariably come from the "Let's you and him (but not me)fight" crowd. It's how they salve what passes for their conscience.
+1 # Robert B 2013-01-05 14:49
I think I get it. I was a member of VVAW myself. A lot of people nowadays truly respect military service, many of whom are young. They're not "salving their conscience." They really mean it. What you say is true of some people, but I don't think it's "almost invariably." A lot of it is sincere. Other veterans certainly are.
+4 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 15:04
Still, the contempt or dismissal, the shunning, hurts. Hurts on top of the suffering already imposed on mostly-obliviou s young men duped into serving. I think he's talking about that. But I agree with what you said.
How human beings act to each other's faces does count.
+3 # dkonstruction 2013-01-04 15:46
Quoting Robert B:
This is a little too far, Michael. While not very many people support the war in Afghanistan, a lot of us care a lot about our troops. Making a big show of how little you care ("Chilean sea bass"?) is a bit sick. I used to be one of those troops (Vietnam), engaged in an unpopular war. Back then, nobody (and I mean NOBODY) ever said "I thank you for your service." So now I'm supposed to punch their lights out, Michael? Really? This is one of the worst things I've ever known you to do.

Robert B, while i suspect we may disagree politically (though perhaps not) i too was taken aback (though not necessarily surprised) at what i thought was at best a flip and at worst a really over the top and uncalled for "sea bass" comment. What's perhaps more depressing is not just the number of thumbs down you recieve for making a comment just about this one line in Moore's piece but also the level of personal attack to which people have gone in disagreeing with you. A sad comment on the state of American politics and discourse.
+3 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 14:52
Robert, thank you for your service.
-1 # Robert B 2013-01-06 01:07
I can't tell if this is sincere, or if you're being snarky. I'm the same mercenary baby killer I was 45 years ago, and I have well over 100 thumbs down to prove it. Thanks, though. Michael Moore thinks I should punch your lights out.
+62 # jjj 2013-01-04 10:30
Yes. yesyesyes.
The only way to genuinely support the troops is to bring them home and care for them.
To stop being the bullies of the planet.
To become a peaceful nation.
To take the money we now spend making and preparing for war and use it for peaceful and constructive purposes.
+16 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-04 17:37
And to prosecute the liars and exploiters like Cheney/ Halliburton/ KBR and Blackwater.
+37 # behumphrey 2013-01-04 10:45
Thank you, Michael Moore, for so eloquently pointing out the hypocrisy of "supporting the troops." Not only do I want to punch the lights of every phony troop supporter out (literally), I also want to pull off and destroy all those car magnets. Thank you for doing your part But we need more. I have advocated for a draft since 2003 when the current madness began, because until "all American white boys and girls" are knee deep in desert (or left without knees), nothing will change.
+5 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 15:06
Simply carry "Support the troops/bring them home now" bumper stickers, and apply them over the top of the bumper stickers on those cars when possible.
+22 # alan17b0 2013-01-04 10:54
I've had a bumper sticker for
years: "Support Our Troops/
Bring Them Home Now"

Such bumper stickers are probably
still available

See also:

Alan McConnell, in Silver
Spring MD
+58 # moonrigger 2013-01-04 10:54
My husband did 3 tours in Nam, and got nothing in return for his service, except PTSD that's plagued him his whole life. It took over 20 years of suffering before the VA put in place a decent program to help him deal with this...many others were not so lucky. I taught Nam vets at a community college, where I learned that more had died from disease (and suicide) than from bullets. We all hoped back then that this tragedy would keep us from further misadventures. But soon, we were back at it--fighting the "vicious commies" in Granada, fighting for the "government" of Kuwait, ridding the world of Saddam, al Quaeda, etc. etc. ad nauseam. I have met very few veterans (or their partners) who've had a positive experience in the military--but it provides "jobs" -- or a pathway to college, so it keeps attracting recruits. And yes, many join for altruistic reasons, only to discover they're laying it on the line for Chevron, etc. Michael's right on. Americans don't care. We just like to think we do. It makes US feel good to say it, but they're hollow words at best. If we care, we should be putting our money where our mouth is.
+27 # NAVYVET 2013-01-04 11:41
Michael Moore comes through for Americans once again! Good for you, Michael. As a veteran (Vietnam), I especially value this article. Pass it along!
-38 # Robert B 2013-01-04 12:28
You're a woman, aren't you? What did you do in Vietnam?
+8 # wrknight 2013-01-04 13:45
Robert B what did you do, and what are you doing now to "support the troops"? I'll bet I can guess.
-17 # Robert B 2013-01-04 13:59
I was a Marine. It was lovely. And no, you don't have a clue.
-15 # Robert B 2013-01-04 13:46
Is there something wrong with my asking a question?
+9 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-04 17:38
A sexist one, yes!
-2 # Robert B 2013-01-04 17:56
Cassandra: I was not being sexist! I know she's a woman because she has said so in other forums. I just wanted to know what she did. It was a real question.
+2 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 15:07
Just like Ruth Seymour always said about where to put your money.
+29 # swissms 2013-01-04 11:01
Michael, you are telling it like it is. But what you write simply makes me feel ashamed. And that is not enough action to actually change the situation. Where are the public initiatives and legislative bills that we can support? Where are the volunteer opportunities we can join? Let's get specific.
+6 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 15:09
Go visit the VA hospital. Support the troops who speak out against the war. Support Bradley Manning.
+6 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-05 15:10
There are no public initiatives by representatives because representatives aren't representing.
It's not at that point yet. Not even close. But anyone can get involved with the vets who push for an end to the wars. Couaragetoresis, Bradleymanning. org, Iraq Vets For Peace, and so forth.
+30 # Activista 2013-01-04 11:04
Good article - facts - on US military oligarchy and its pawns/victims.
"323 suicides in 2012 through November" would guess that this is underestimated.
Insurance does not cover suicide - and it is not so difficult yo fake one in the war zone.
It is the same for the general population - would like to see the rate of unemployed "death" compared to the same age group of general population.
Life insurance is the best way to feed family - no other nation on earth is killing itself because of MONEY.
+28 # 12bbitchin 2013-01-04 11:23
War Is Terror. We are at War With so Many other Countries. We are TERRORISTS and we believe we are "Freedom Fighters". Some people don't like it when you speak the TRUTH. Thanks Michael for finally speaking up. Control Through Chaos. I feel sorry for Robert B.
+35 # A Different Drummer 2013-01-04 11:32
I get Michael's point. Sure it sounds a bit harsh, but it's brutally honest. The phrases "I support the troops" and "Thank you for your service" are empty platitudes meant to make the citizen uttering them feel as though empty sentiments will actually make a difference in the lives of the unfortunate souls that bought the lies and joined the armed forces.

I'm a Vietnam era veteran and more than 40 years have passed since I was honorably discharged. I still feel used and abandoned by the US government and the citizenry.

I'm a member and part of the cadre of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc. I have a VVAW bumper sticker on my car and occasionally will be thanked for my service. Frankly it always sounds hollow and simply irritates me, since the American war in Vietnam was an unmitigated disaster and has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions.
Not to forget that untold millions of people in both countries will still suffer to this day because of this illegal and immoral war.

There are no easy answers and petitioning the government is useless, since their masters are the To Big to Jail bankers and other denizens of Wall Street. However, I still go through the motions and politely ask the Senators and member of Congress that supposedly represent my interests to cut the defense (offense) budget drastically and get us out of the wars of naked aggression being perpetuated in my name.
+12 # James Marcus 2013-01-04 11:46
Our 'leaders' are ignorant, greedy and relentlessly violent.
Proof? They kill anyone, and everyone, including their own.
First they manifest a 'crisis', then they 'find blame' and attack without investigation.
A charade, Indeed.
Impeach. Now! (The President IS the Commander-in-Ch ief)
Bring our Children Home....NOW.
+27 # AMLLLLL 2013-01-04 11:46
Instant cure: elected representatives ' children go to war first.
+18 # Charlie Goff 2013-01-04 11:48
Bravo Michael! True to your nature you see right through things to the truth. I followed your advice and went to Occupy Wall Street in September 2011, I listened to you as you were interviewed in Liberty Plaza, waved as you drove away in that yellow car, cheered and applauded your talk at The Left Forum (re-listened to it several times too), followed you back to Liberty Plaza on the six-month anniversary, and waved to you again as you left in your yellow car. Keep up the good work. I'll print out several copies of this article and carry them with me to distribute as I travel. Thank you for being there and inspiring us.
+40 # Peace Anonymous 2013-01-04 11:56
One of the benefits of running the economy into the ground is that a large portion of the population have only one place left to go to get an education or a paycheck: the military. I have spent years in many of the hotspots around the world and if those in America knew the truth, if they were willing shut off American Idol and even look for the truth instead of listening to the schtick peddled by FOX, they would never stand for this. It is all about the money, and most of it is your money. WAKE UP!!
Elizabeth Warren said it best, "The game is rigged!" Sorry I wish it were not true, but the fact is that if we didn't create so many enemies we wouldn't have so many wars. If the USA wanted peace the world would have peace. If there was a $550 Billion peace budget we would have peace. Can you not see that those in a position of power will do everything they can to maintain defense spending? Weapons, oil, and drugs!! That is the goal of the military. Freedom and democracy haven't been on the list since 1947.
I could not see these things myself until I traveled alone and extensively throughout most of the world. People everywhere want peace. We are the terrorists. If you disagree with me pack your bag and prove me wrong. God I wish I were wrong.
+19 # Smokey 2013-01-04 15:23
[quote name="Peace Anonymous"] "We are the terrorists."

Sad to say, but you're right.

War is becoming, more and more, a game of terrorism. Some terrorists use firecrackers and some use drones and threaten to use nuclear weapons.
+19 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-04 11:59
My new name for our oh so brave and determined truth teller, Michael Moore: St. Michael, you Irish devil ( takes one for know one).

And, truth telling he is in this article, per usual. Please, please, please Michael, consider running for office. For example, you'd make a fabulous gov. of Michigan. As I've previously pointed out in a reply to this same article, the evil villainaire rulers are shakin' and cussin' at the thought of you, Michael Moore, in any office, since they could not pull your string and have you do all they desire. And, also, fully script you? No way, Jose.

Keep leading us, Michael. Across the globe and we here in the U.S. of (greed and power) A.(ddiction) sooooo need you.
+25 # davidmichael 2013-01-04 12:01
Michael...Thank s for a great article and viewpoint. I hate that
tax monies go to supporting a war that no one wants except the corporatized leaders in Congress. After working for four years in the Middle East, I realized they hate the US Government (without exception) because the US is one form or another. Imagine if Russia occupied our country or parts of the country with their military presence or with whatever means (money, politics, etc), we would hate it and most likely resist. The same goes on in the Middle East and elsewhere that the US sends our troops. We do a grave disservice to other countries and ourselves to get militarily involved. We can support our tropps by opposing the pseudo wars and sending them home.
+20 # NormRichardson 2013-01-04 12:25
In the military the Officers are the Republicans and they love war= rapid promotions also they love this kind of war: they only send out small combat patrols (no Officer, a sgt will do) They no longer venture into dangerous areas
+11 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-04 17:44
They also seem to be -many of them -
fundamentalists who seem 'hellbent' on
converting those of other faiths to their mind-numbing version of religion (and encourage their members in the military to make life difficult if not outright persecute those who do not go along.)
+17 # reiverpacific 2013-01-04 12:35
Again, I suggest that y'all attend a few Veterans for Peace" meetings -and keep quiet so they can tell you the truth from many aspects and let you know how you can help if you are willing.
+28 # JackA 2013-01-04 12:41
I met a woman in an Occupy march in Chicago last summer who is a high school teacher. She complained about the unrelenting de-funding of schools and the attendant class size increases, piled onto No Child Left Behind, which required teaching to that test, rather than teaching students skills they will need to succeed in life.

Military recruiters are not only allowed to visit Chicago public high schools, they are given offices to use for recruiting. The teacher reported that because the students are undereducated and there are no jobs for them, they quickly see that they are heading for a dead end future. The only possibility that they see for themselves is the military. She described her students as the next fodder for our perpetual wars. She is passionate about this impossible situation and the sign she carried read, "My Students Are Not Your Soldiers. End The Poverty Draft."
-42 # keepinitreal 2013-01-04 12:52

You really don't care, You protect your own political interests, sorry to say that, all who support him are blind and are what's called "usefull idiots. Our current president supports the same, if not a more aggressive foreign war policy then Bush did, where is the outcry of injustice? Why aren't you attacking him on these policies? I know why.

The additional taxes that the current pres. said would only affect the upper 1%, well it didn't. and the upper 1% was not effected. Michael aren't you part of that 1%? You! the Micheal Moore supporters, ie "usefull idiots" will be. Why aren't you attacking the current pres. on this? I know why.

Keep spending, keep killing, and to all the usefull idiots, when you get your new adjusted paycheck realize you are one of Michael Moore's "usefull Idiots" enjoy!

Support only Honest politicians, and support only those who don't secretively have their own aggenda. perhaps someone like Ron Paul?
+18 # Nel 2013-01-04 13:14
" Whenever a people... entrust the defence of their country to a regular, standing army, composed of mercenaries, the power of that country will remain under the direction of the most wealthy citizens." -- A Framer - Anonymous 'framer' of the US Constitution Source: Independent Gazetteer, January 29, 1791
+16 # DaveM 2013-01-04 13:16
The phrase is and always has been a euphemism. It translates roughly to "support everything the U.S. government does with its military--or you're disloyal". That is rubbish (I am being polite). And it has nothing to do with being supportive of the needs of our servicepeople, especially those who have returned home from combat and are dealing with traumas for which there appear to be few available services.

I "support the troops". I will advocate in any way I can for the safety and well-being of anyone who signed on the dotted line and volunteered to lay down their life, if necessary for the protection of this nation. I will not, however, blindly praise every action by those who decide where our military is sent and who it fights--they have had a very poor track record for some decades now.

And no, I will not put a magnetic ribbon on my car. They are made in China and "support" no one but Chinese manufacturers.
+4 # Doubter 2013-01-04 15:17
"support" no one but Chinese manufacturers"

And American ribbon distributors.
+16 # cafetomo 2013-01-04 13:34
Military service members are frighteningly regular visitors to oncology. They are mortgaging homes if they have them, to pay for treatment of tumors blossoming under agent orange burns, for instance. The VA hands out seven month waits for a consult, despite having a shiny new building in town. Every Vietnam or WWII vet knows trying to get health care from the VA is a serious joke. The VA staff does too. They'll advise that your widow can get a check, providing she reapplies after you're dead. The VA admin has pronounced this part of an "intended outcome" in their policies.

My grandfather was in the NAVY, on the first carrier into Japan as a radio operator, at the end of WWII. He worked all his life, raised four daughters, watched my grandmother die of Alzheimers and was able to afford a few months in an "extended care facility" by selling his home. My dad has been trying for years to get what they say he is entitled to from being in the ARMY, stationed in Saudi Arabia. He has a PhD, is a beaureaucrat par excellance, and gets nowhere with them. When I joined the AIR FORCE, I was an under 18 hick with a GED and no clue, which the recruiters happily took advantage of. Being the 3rd generation to have experienced the military, I figure no matter what you get, it will be in spite of military service, not because of it. Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. In military service, that comes in spades.
+9 # Doubter 2013-01-04 15:21
Sorry to say I did a better job than your father and grandfather.
NONE of my descendants have even considered joining the armed forces.
(WWII vet - draftee)
+25 # walt 2013-01-04 13:48
"Support our troops" and "thank you for all you are doing" are merely words of patronage to the military to whom we have relegated dirty business. Michael is right. Our troops are not defending America, they are defending big money.

If anyone wants to show true support for the military, demand that our government stop misusing and abusing them!
+6 # keepinitreal 2013-01-04 14:22
Yes you are correct, however it is the Pres. that has them over there, He could bring them home anytime he wants. Why doesn't he? Ask Michael Moore.
+10 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-04 17:47
Really? Why hasn't Congress reduced the phony defense budget??? (Could it be that they are mostly Republicans whose own constituents' jobs depend on the miliatry?)
+16 # PAJohn 2013-01-04 13:49
The only meaningful way to "Support the Troops" is, first, to bring them HOME!
The second is to make sure they get the best of care for the traumas they have experienced and endured AND the best of help to integrate them into what's left of the country they left behind.
Help them to understand that they have been used by a corrupt and venal political and economic system - a warfare state that thrives on violence, intimidation and manipulation to extend and maintain its hegemony. They deserve our deepest sympathy, compassion and remediation for what's been done to them in our names.
They deserve the truth and our help dealing with it.
+10 # Sweet Pea 2013-01-04 13:59
My cousin David Yettaw wasn't diagnosed with PTF, but he said not a night went by that he didn't awaken to see the Viet Cong coming over the hill towards him. He said it was either kill of be killed. He died at a very young age of a heart attact.
+15 # Wailuku1 2013-01-04 14:13
Before the invasion of Iraq by President George W. Bush, I attended a luncheon at which the speaker was the late U.S. Senator Dan Inouye. In can remember him saying that he had thoroughly questioned the administration about the planned invasion. His number one question was, "How many body bags have you ordered?" No one would answer him. Senator Inouye said we needed to be absolutely certain that any military action was justified because young men and women would die. The Senator didn't believe the administration was aware of just what the consequences of their actions might be. He said he was afraid that there would be many deaths, as well as many life shattering injuries, for which the administration and the military were not preparing themselves, the troops and the American people. He voted against the resolution.

In 2002, Senator Inouye showed his support of the American troops by voting to keep them out of what he believed to be (and what has proven to be) a needless and warrantless conflict.
+18 # T4D 2013-01-04 14:30
Just face facts folks, "We support the troops." is Cheney-speak, Orwell-speak for, "We support perpetual WAR!" Note that the cost of human life, and human dignity shall never be spoken.
+5 # nationalreset 2013-01-04 14:34
I think the Heritage Foundation research offered by #Robt Eagle on military recruits' demographics is suspect. The unit it uses for analysis is an area no smaller than 6,000 residents. The variety in my own neighborhood of 250 families is huge. . Perhaps you have other research to back up your claim?
+15 # Smokey 2013-01-04 15:16
I'm old enough to remember when the Americans first got involved, in a big way, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Back in those days, I was involved in some of the early computer chats.... I remember saying to conservatives, on several occasions, "You're in favor of these wars? I suggest that you enlist. If you can't enlist, pull out your wallets and pay extra to help military families, disabled veterans, and others, who will need your help."

Amazing! I never heard from even one person who said, "Yeah, I should do that." Instead, I heard lame excuses, complaints, suggestions that somebody else should pay the bills, etc.

That's how you spot the phonies. The phonies talk a lot about "supporting the troops" but they do surprisingly little.

Big Irony: Some of the phonies will attack the person who is against the war who has the courage and the honesty to say, "No." (Sometimes it's the anti-war protestor who gets accused of cowardice. Huh?)
+6 # T4D 2013-01-04 17:10
Remember the Bush-speak, "Go shopping" to support his wars! His Majesty, G. W. Bush was the "Phony-in-Chief ."
+10 # Jflyer 2013-01-04 15:35
For those of you younger than 50, let me give you the reason for the volunteer army. Think back to the late 60s/early 70s - millions of young people in the streets protesting the draft & the war in VietNam. Violence between young Americans whose lives were at risk and the government/Nati onal Guard. Political activism was at an all-time high. They stopped the draft and voila! no more demonstrations. Political activism all but disappeared. This was the beginning of student apathy. Now the USA gets into endless wars for the benefit of the war machine/weapons manufacturers and there is very little outcry. Nobody's life is on the line. The politicians have it made. They stopped the draft for political expediency.
-4 # Robert B 2013-01-04 16:47
I don't think I agree with this. Getting drafted used to be an ordinary thing, even in peacetime (e.g., Elvis Presley). The draft was ended because Vietnam ended. I don't think there was a nefarious plot going on. A Constitutional Amendment passed to allow 18-year-olds the right to vote. That was a good thing, for reasons of fairness.

You're right that it was the start of student apathy, but that would have happened, anyway. In four years, everybody graduates (or flunks out). Time moves on.

You left out Kent State, by the way – our own homegrown Tianenman Square. The '60s really sucked, in all honesty.
+2 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:18
The draft ran from 1948 - 1973
+10 # barryg 2013-01-04 21:53
No, Robert it was not the end of the war that ended the draft. It was because citizen soldiers rose up and stopped our ability to fight. I did three tours in Nam, two as a Navy diver and I definitely learned who we really are there. Michael is correct. Read General Smedley Butler's book "War is a Racket". He was the most decorated Marine ever.
+15 # Interested Observer 2013-01-04 15:59
I call this phenomenon "using the yellow ribbon as gag and blindfold". It is an example of the application of Goering's observation on how the people, regardless of political system, can always be brought to war using the assertion that they are under attack while denouncing dissenters as traitors and cowards. This has become exceptionally hollow in the USA since the change to a volunteer army, often being over-compensati on for having no compulsory involvement (guilt?, relief?) by expressing an excessive devotion to those who volunteered. The biggest lesson learned from Vietnam is that elective (and under GW Bush in Iraq, proactive, aggressive) wars under a draft generate domestic resistance and turmoil that interferes with policy. If someone volunteered, then there is no problem with how they are then used, is there? A deal's a deal, right? It is an arrangement calculated to enable the discretionary use of military force without declaration of war with the least difficulty. Another measure of this shallowness, is the way that no use of force is a problem for most citizens until too many body bags come back our way or it takes too long. Sound-bite morality in action. Anything goes so long as the other side does the dying and it doesn't take too long. The same standard as for criminals: getting away with it.
+5 # frederico 2013-01-04 16:17
Hey wailuku1, Wipe the Stryker dust from your eyes. Inouye voted against the Iraq invasion because it was an insane waste of our resources, not because he was against military occupations and colonialism and world conquest. He did more than any other human being in the last 50 years to create the terrorist military/indust rial monster known as the U.S.A. He was proudly boastful of being the biggest pig at the trough of our tax dollars, much of which was earmarked for the endless war machine. Now that the human race is on the brink of destroying everything sacred, you want to construct a monument to one of the chief architects of the Death Star? Brah, is he your cousin?
+14 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-01-04 16:34
Some thoughts came to mind as I read Michael's article, and the comments that have followed.
#1. Michael is right; he is brave to write what many of us have often thought, but were ashamed to admit...we are a flawed society, and the great experiment has gone awry.

#2. There is a direct connection between all the talk on gun control, the 2nd Amendment, a draft Army, and an all volunteer Army. The 2nd Amendment was in lieu of establishing a 'Standing Army' and the Militia Acts more or less mandated that you would be 'volunteered' in time of need, and bring your musket, powder and ball with you!
The current problem associated with a 'mercenary' type standing army can be solved by applying the rules of the Militia Acts to all Americans, that being that if you are male, white, between the ages of 18-45, and own a rifle, report for duty when your local commander calls you up. If you don't own a rifle, you are mandated to acquire one that meet certain requirements as specified in the Act.

#3. The Military, Industrial Complex is alive in well as shown by that fact that the best hammer costs $45 retail, but $700 when the military buys it through a lucky contractor. Also, Army trained soldiers making $1500/mo. are forced to 'train' private contractors to take over their jobs, and get $4500/mo. Go figure!

I can give countless more examples, but I hope you get the idea...we are a deeply flawed 'free' society.
+11 # Dick36 2013-01-04 17:22
The military is a larger employer. A large number of them individuals who have difficulty finding other work. We should reduce the military and use that money to hire people to do things which are needed in the US.

The military buys a lot of stuff. If we spent even half of that helping the poor around the world then almost everybody would love the US. Instead we use the military to protect our wealth and exploitation of others minerals and labor.

We need a drastic change in policy.

The military should protect us when another country attacks us.
-8 # Robert B 2013-01-05 15:47
You mean like after 9/11? Everybody in the world was on our side when we did Afghanistan. George Bush screwed it up, like he did everything else.

But now that Obama is taking out Al-Qaeda with drones, snuffing Osama bin Laden and just generally doing what you're supposed to do in a war, Obama is a war criminal? That's ridiculous. You could probably argue that every President is a war criminal. FDR? Truman? Not shooting back isn't the same thing as "peace."
+3 # Buddha 2013-01-04 17:44
While I respect MM, I totally disagree with him on this topic. I as a Progressive also believe we should pull back from our international deployments and constant war, and wish the Democratic Party felt similarly. But until we have a multy-party system, or the Progressive Caucus expands, we will be voices in the wilderness on this one. But while I completely disagree with how we "use" our military, I DO support the troops. I donate to causes such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the USO. I've paid the restaurant/bar tab for many a soldier that I've run across in restaurants or bars, thanking them for their service. One can support the troops, honor their sacrifice, and do things to put belief to action...AND still oppose our Military-Indust rial-Complex and Empire.
+6 # Grout4cake 2013-01-04 20:50
Imagine if we commended every young person who did not join the military and paid their restaurant bar tab?
-15 # skylinefirepest 2013-01-04 22:14
When has that bigbutt anti-American idiot EVER supported the troops?? Honest answer please. The guys and girls I know are so superior to MM that he's not qualified to even shake their hand...should he ever want to, which I doubt. He was too much of a coward to ever serve and reading the posts here on RSN it would seem that he's not by himself. Those of us who have answered the call know what supporting the troops is all about. MM is disgusting!
+4 # FederalReserve 2013-01-04 23:25
I think you'd be EXCELLENT at following illegal orders!!!

you are exactly what I am ashamed of.
+11 # olindaboat 2013-01-04 22:24
19,000 female soldiers raped by their "fellow" soldiers every year!
And not one single comment about that in this torrent of rage.
+5 # FederalReserve 2013-01-04 23:23
I think it is long past time we have our own Nuremburg Trials here in our stinking vile uSA full to the brim with genuine WAR CRIMINALS. It is so bad, decent americans like myself who fled ronny rayguns madness are being deported TO the uSA because NO ONE on EARTH buys the israeli false flag non sense you americlowns call "9/11",, NO ONE,, NOBODY believes 2 airplanes can "knock down" 3 , THREE Skyscraper buildings!!! what kind of MORON keeps saying "twin towers, when THREE FUCKING towers collapse after massive amounts of EXPLOSIVES level them.

So,, until I see a uSA gov't completely de-jewed, yes folks, ZERO dual national israelis or jews in the American gov't, I will settle for nothing less than a Civil War on the rich, disposessing them of their ill gotten gains, at the expense of the united states of america.

and a GENUINE real separation of church & state, no more talking snake fairy tale followers in office either, this country was actually founded by Men who wanted freedom FROM religion, not of it.
+6 # FederalReserve 2013-01-04 23:35
my daughter was raped in the USAF in Iraq. I will NEVER forgive the american people for this. Worse is she was Force injected, violating her INFORMED CONSENT, with Anthrax & Small Pox, leaving her to return to the uSA covered in small tumors. She was raped by black men paying me back for slavery I had nothing to do with. I Dealt with the fallout of Alex Haleys Roots in our Ft Lee Barracks 1977. Mr Rumsfeld was secretary of defense when we got our "Swine Flu Shots". We need a Nuremburg Trials in the uSA.
+5 # Surflar 2013-01-05 16:35
This is the first time I've ever agreed with you and your socialist points of view but I do feel sorry for the troops fighting for an imperialistic government controlled by banksters killing innocent people all over the world and creating a false terrorist conspiracy on the american people. Why don't you talk about a president that got the Nobel Peace Prize and started murdering women and children?
+6 # Lanesvillain 2013-01-05 17:10
It was Alfred Lord Tennyson--The Charge of the Light Brigade_-who wrote "Ours not..." Applies, tho' to what were subject to, as has been pointed out, under the rule of the Warmonger Military Industrial Corporatocracy. More power to Hegel, or anyone, who can turn this around. Eisenhower also said it all, albeit less "poetically" Go Bacevitch!
+8 # genessa 2013-01-05 19:44
i understand that certain entities are accidentally-on -purpose misreading your tome and declaring that you are (verbally) attacking the troops. once in the forums of a site that had nothing to do with the real world, in which many participants were from places in the real world other than the united states. someone posted just one time too many how proud he was to be an american. i responded by saying i was neither proud nor ashamed to be an american, as i did not choose where to be born, but that i could be proud or ashamed of things i allowed my country to do, or that i did myself. i was blasted as unamerican and unpatriotic, accused of hating my country and being, alternately, a communist, a nazi and subhuman, and advised that i deserved to be deported (from the country of my birth and citizenship?) i don't know whether the people who reacted that way actually misunderstood what i'd said or were just waiting to pounce, or a little or each. in your case... well, lots of people are waiting to pounce on you, and the more sense you make, the more nonsense they attribute to you.

for the past couple years i have been responding to facebook posts about supporting our troops by saying i don't support them by posting flag pictures; i support them by voting for people who will make sure they're protected while in harm's way, won't put them in harm's way for spurious reasons, and will bring them home. i get blasted for that too! you're not alone and you're not wrong.

+5 # jimsteeves 2013-01-05 19:58
War could be ended by taking the profit out of it. If a weapons manufacturer was unable to charge more than it cost to make a weapon, there be little point in making it. Think Congress - that wholly-owned and operated corporate crowd of corrupt folks in Washington would go for that? Sure, when pigs fly.
+5 # wrodwell 2013-01-05 20:57
I was wondering when someone was going to speak up against "bumper sticker patriotism". If the troops are so savvy as Moore suggests, maybe they'll do what the troops did during the last 2 years of the war in Vietnam: frag officer's hooches and refuse to fight. Go, troops!
+1 # Robert B 2013-01-06 00:42
Hooray for first-degree murder? I was very near a guy who got fragged. Somebody put a grenade under his pillow. About 2 a.m., BLOOOEY! Pieces of this guy were all over the area. Real nice. That's what you advocate? I'd love to rub your nose in what that actually looks like.
0 # LGNTexas 2013-01-06 10:00
I keep reading comments all over by gun-lovers who claim they are building up arsenals in their homes in order to "protect" their families from "attacks" by our government. In such a scenario, wouldn't they also be shooting at fellow Americans in uniform?
0 # Robert B 2013-01-06 10:15
They sure would. Take a look at 18 U.S.C. §2385.
+2 # FDRva 2013-01-06 15:05
I have agreed with Mr. Moore on almost everything over the years.

Before point-and-shoot video games were popularized--ki lling sprees by youth were unheard of.

Now we get 3-4 a year.

Hollywood's lawyers' argue that it is a coincidence.

Kind of like the coincidence between smoking and lung cancer.

Mr. Moore & I both know that the biggest purveyors, profiteers from, and promoters of, youth violence, make violent video games and movies--and they don't belong to the 'big bad NRA.'

And a lot of kids have died making them rich.

Say it ain't so Mike--say it ain't so!!
+1 # LstNailinDaKoffin 2013-01-06 18:02
I dont support the troops and I've been openly saying so for at least 5 years.
I dont support the troops because I don't support the wars.

If I did support the wars we are in I would support the troops but I dont support the troops anymore than I would "support the troops" if the troops in question are the red coats of the late 1770's.

I dont support the troops because instead of making us safe and "defending our freedom" their actions further our debt and making us less safe and more hated.

I dont support the troops. I look on them, at best, with pity as dumb fools that are throwing their lives away to serve the business interests of multi-national corporations that we, the taxpayers, will be billed for their 'service' while said corporations plunder the resources of other countries.

And, at worst, I view them as willing participants in global subjugation and oppression so they can feel like a bunch of macho tough guys as they serve as the loyal lapdogs to the military industrial complex.

I dont support the troops. Any of them. It's a volunteer army now. They know or at least should know what they were signing up to do.

I dont support the troops. I support the civilians in other countries that have to suffer them. I done with supporting the troops on all levels.

I dont support the troops. I ONLY support them coming home.
0 # FederalReserve 2013-01-07 03:53
I support Hanging GHW Bush, G W Bush, George W Obama II, ( barry soetero),
B. Clinton and the last 5 administrations in public at the 1st opportunity.

ALL AIPAC Members be declared TERRORISTS and bounties put on them, esp Dov & Zellikow.
+2 # Rockie 2013-01-07 15:07
Thank you Michael, thank you. I am in total agreement with you and have been for a very long time. I'm tired of seeing our young people slaughtered for the benefit of the greedy F**ktards of this world. They are forced to kill innocent people, are hated and beaten, returned home confused and never the same. Never get the medical treatment they deserve. The insanity needs to stop now.
+2 # 2013-01-08 16:01
I answered yes to most of these questions, and wish more people could, and would. The most frustrating thing is exactly what Michael Moore points out, empty words.
For me, this is a timely article because I was questioning how much I can continue to do. I am a single mother of two young boys, and in addition to maintaining a private practice, I started a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2009: Acupuncture for Veterans and their Families. AVF provides health care to veterans, those on active duty, and their immediate family members, at no cost to them. Since receiving 501(c)(3) status in July 2011, AVF has seen 165 people and provided 481 treatment testimonials @
The main cost of the program is to provide payment for health care services rendered. In 2012, AVF survived and provided quality health care mainly because clinic locations are donated by the health care providers, 95% of supplies are donated, approximately 75% of the treatment sessions are donated, and AVF spends $0 on administration. In December, I wrote an article, (submitted to local newspaper & emailed to "interested parties") thanking the volunteers, added pictures of families being served, and asked the readers for end of year fiscal support. Not one person called or wrote to say anything, good or bad. We are however, thankful to those who have donated time and services, because the veterans AND their family members need more support than most people understand.

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