“God Bless Our Troops”

I seem to have a problem with this phrase. Some will argue that it is because the troops are risking their lives. I can agree with that. I can admire their courage in doing so. But according to several articles I’ve looked at, fishermen, loggers, and pilots have the most dangerous job. Here, read it yourself. So, theoretically, we ought to have little stickers on our cars saying, “God Bless Our Fishermen,” and “God Bless Our Loggers.” Yeah, it doesn’t have the same sort of feeling as “God Bless Our Troops.” But from a purely economic perspective loggers, fishermen and pilots are more productive than the troops. I mean, think about it–from an economic standpoint, try to forget for a moment everything you’ve heard about our military and how good they are–fishermen engage in that dangerous job so we can eat. Loggers do their dangerous job work so that we can have homes and all the other countless things that come from wood. Pilots risk their lives so we can get places faster and spend our time in more productive ways than driving across the country. So from an economic perspective, I really can’t see what is so important about the military that we must all ask God to bless them.

I have to thank the person (who will remain anonymous for their sake) who keeps sending me emails every morning. This is the second day that I’ve opened one of those emails and decided to launch into a tirade about it. And the tirade invariably ends up here on my website.

Here’s what one email said this morning. It is from a supposedly legitimate source.

Iranian Air Defense Site: ‘Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.’

‘This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.’

Air Defense Site:
‘You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!’

‘This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter.  Send ’em up, I’ll wait!’

Air Defense Site:
( … total silence)

God bless our troops.
There is something about a Marine that makes other countries listen to reason

So what in the world is that supposed to mean? I have two responses to it:

1) Suppose that the Iranian is right and that the American is in Iranian airspace. How is it “reason” for that American to ignore that information and violate their property rights? Now, if I were to apply the reasoning of yesterday on national borders, that would change things quite a bit, so I’ll leave that discussion to those better-versed in property rights theory. So imagine with me that the American is trespassing on Iranian airspace. We’re supposed to be proud that he won’t respect the rules and boundaries around him?

2) Suppose that the American is right and that he’s in Iraqi airspace and the Iranian is mistaken. Is this American willing to start a scuffle (to put it mildly) simply because the Iranian has made a mistake? Wouldn’t it be more diplomatic to try to sort things out without engaging in any sort of fighting? Especially considering the “delicate” state of Iran and how everyone is tip-toeing around trying not to set them off and yet make them give up their nuclear weapons. How can we be proud of this brashness? It doesn’t seem very American to me.

So there’s my thoughts on that…if it matters at all, which it probably doesn’t.


  1. Having studied European History, and the relationship between church and dominionism, I can assert with a degree of confidence that we have not arrived yet at a fully compos-mentis system of ideology. Some enlightened rationalists proudly announced in the 19th century that we had ’emerged from the backwater of religion into a brave new rational world’ but their bold statements were a little premature.
    I like what you have written. It is a sensitive but bothersome enquiry into the nature of the military mindset.
    Why have we inherited such a militant approach to the difference in language, culture and identity do you think?
    I could answer this in a thousand words and bore you to tears. I encourage you to keep writing and posting and objecting to the current ideological status quo in this way. Being a conscientious objector has many forms and shapes and every contribution you make to the current swell of public disquiet about the status quo madness of ‘making meaning out of war’ – Chris Hedges – the greater the tide of change. A tide that will eventually seep into our very jingoistic education systems.

  2. I highly recommend “The War Prayer” by Mark Twain. I found a Youtube vid of a reading here (copy and paste URL): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJsZCpp8hR4

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