“Support Our Troops” means different things to different people. Those of us who have opposed the war have frequently been accused of not supporting the troops. My response is always the same: I supported the troops before the war by pointing out to people the fact that their government was lying about the “threat” from Iraq and that we shouldn’t send our young men and women to fight in an illegal and immoral war of aggression, “the supreme international crime”, as defined at Nuremberg, “differing only in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”; and I support them now by favoring the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq.
Members of our armed services took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Participating in the war in Iraq is a violation of that oath. The war is illegal under both international and U.S. law.
Under international law, there are only two circumstances in which the use of force is recognized as legitimate, when it is self-defense against armed aggression and when it is authorized by the United Nations Security Council. The war in Iraq, having met neither of those criteria, is a war of aggression, the supreme crime under international law.
The U.S. is a signatory of the U.N. Charter and other treaties comprising the body of international law which forbids the use of force in international relations. Under the U.S. Constitution, such treaties are “the supreme Law of the Land” and hence the violation of the U.N. Charter is ipso facto a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Moreover, the Constitution states that only the U.S. Congress has the power to declare war. The war in Iraq is an undeclared war which began on the decision not of the body of Congress, but of the Executive branch of government under false pretenses.
We need to recognize these truths, as difficult as they may be for some to accept. But only by doing so can we really truly begin to be able to support the troops in Iraq.
A generation of veterans of the war in Vietnam returned home disillusioned with the war and with their country, unsure of why they were really there in the first place. Supporting the troops means not sending them to fight and die in illegal wars in violation of their military oath. It means working to ensure that they don’t remain even one more day on foreign soil. It means bringing them home, now.
The physical and emotional consequences on the lives of members of our military is something only those who have been traumatized by war can truly understand. Supporting our troops means trying to understand and helping victims of the war – and every young American who has been sent by corrupt politicians to fight and die in an illegal war fought on false pretenses is also a victim – to cope with their experience.
Support our troops. Bring them home.