After the publication of my article “Thank You for Your Killing,” I received a vituperative twitter attack by a self-labeled conservative woman, who called me an “idiot,” said I was “NO AMERICAN” (her caps), called me a “liberal,” said I don’t “deserve to live in the USA,” and accused me “dishonoring” the troops.
That conservative’s attack on me is a perfect demonstration of the life of the lie that has long characterized American conservatives, especially when it comes to what the troops are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Take a close look at my article. Contrary to what my conservative critic suggested, nowhere in my article do I dishonor, criticize, condemn, or disparage the troops. Instead, all I do is point out the facts: one of which is what the troops are doing — and have been doing for more than 15 years — in Afghanistan and Iraq: killing people.
No one can deny that. It’s simply the truth. It’s what the troops have been doing for more than 15 years in those two countries. They have been killing people. They still are killing people.
When conservatives and other statists thank the troops for their service in Afghanistan and Iraq, they want everyone to simply leave it at that. They don’t want anyone to ask a natural question: What does the “service” that the troops are performing consist of?
That’s one reason why that conservative woman was so upset at me. She obviously doesn’t want to think about that question.
In a reply tweet, I specifically asked her whether she felt that anything I had written was incorrect or false. She just responded with more nastiness, which indicates that she knew that everything I had written was true and accurate. She obviously just didn’t like the fact that I had pointed out the obvious: that the “service” that people thank the troops for consists of killing people.
Given such, what’s wrong with being more specific when thanking the troops? What’s wrong with saying to the troops, “Thank you for your killing” rather than “Thank you for your service”? What is it about that specific question that makes that conservative woman so angry and upset?
That brings us to the other reason that that conservative woman was so upset with me — the reason why the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are killing people and have been killing people for more than 15 years. My conservative critic has convinced herself (or permitted government officials to convince her) that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are killing people in order to defend the United States and to protect our rights and freedoms here at home.
She’s not alone. That’s the standard mindset of most conservatives. In fact, it’s the mindset of lots of people in the mainstream regardless of political affiliation or ideology. For example, one rarely can attend a major sporting event without hearing an announcer asking the crowd to honor the troops, especially those in Afghanistan and Iraq, for “defending our country” and “protecting our rights and freedoms here at home” or for “making the ultimate sacrifice” so that we can be free here at home.
But as I pointed out in my article, “Thank You for Your Killing,” that is a palpably false statement. Why? Because neither the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda, or anyone else in Afghanistan or Iraq is invading our country and trying to take away our freedom. Such being the case, how can it be said that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are defending our country and protecting our rights and freedoms?
According to conservatives, we are just not supposed to point out that obvious truism. Uttering that truth makes conservatives and other statists really angry and upset. They want to continue believing that the troops are killing because they are defending America and protecting our freedoms, and they want everyone else to believe it too, even though it’s manifestly false. Conservatives want to live the life of the lie and they want everyone else to live it too. And they hate people who refuse to do so.
When I asked my conservative critic to explain to me how she has arrived at her conclusion that the troops are defending our country and protecting our freedom by killing people in Afghanistan and Iraq, she couldn’t do it. She was stymied. She simply resorted to her nastiness.
Thus the real reason that conservative woman was so angry and upset with me was not that I wrote anything false or incorrect but because what I wrote was true. Like most other conservatives, she obviously just doesn’t like the truth. Truth to a conservative is like a cross to a vampire, especially when it pertains to the troops or any aspect of the national-security state.
But notice that there is something else that this episode reveals about conservatives and other statists: The reason they steadfastly insist that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are defending our country and protecting our freedom, notwithstanding the manifest falsehood in the statement, implies that conservatives and statists are ashamed of the real reason the troops are killing people over there and somehow consider it to be dishonorable.
From 1899-1902, the British Empire fought what is called the Second Boer War in modern-day South Africa and Swaziland. It was a vicious, brutal, deadly conflict, with tens of thousands of casualties on both sides.
No one ever suggested, as far as I know, that the Boers were trying to get to England to invade the country, take over the government, and enslave the English people. Instead, everyone understood that the British troops were killing people to maintain control by the British Empire of people thousands of miles away from Great Britain.
Many, if not most, of the British people were extremely proud of their empire and wanted the empire to maintain its control of people in faraway lands. Thus, when British troops were killing people in those faraway lands, British citizens were grateful. They understood that the troops were killing people for the sake of the empire, and they had no problems with that. They believed that the troops were behaving courageously and honorably as part of the empire. They were grateful for their service and had no reservations in acknowledging that the service consisting of killing people to ensure that the empire maintained its control over people thousands of miles away from England.
The principle is no different with the U.S. government in Afghanistan and Iraq. The troops are killing people there to preserve the existence of the regimes that the U.S. government installed into power during their invasions and occupations of both countries. The killing of hundreds of thousands of people, or perhaps even millions, by U.S. troops has never had anything to do with protecting America or defending our rights and freedoms. The killings have taken place to prevent the two regimes that the U.S. invasions installed into power from being overthrown by groups that don’t like the regimes that the U.S. invasions installed into power.
A big irony in all this is that the two regimes that the U.S. invasions succeeded in installing are both official Islamic regimes, by virtue of the official constitutions of both countries. But don’t dare tell a conservative or other statist that the troops are killing and dying for Islam in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will go ballistic over that because that’s the last thing they want to confront. Many of them have convinced themselves that the troops are killing people to protect America and our rights and freedoms from Muslims and Islam. The last thing they want to hear is that troops are killing and dying to prevent two official Islamic regimes their invasions installed into power from being overthrown.
U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are killing people for the sake of control and dominion over people in faraway lands, just like the troops in the British Empire once did. The difference is that while the British were proud of what their troops were doing and why they were doing it, American conservatives and other statists are ashamed to openly express the same sentiments. They would rather live the life of the lie and attack those of us who simply point out the truth.