Troops Aid

This is a follow up from my last post regarding the price of “victory.” Here is the wrap up from that piece.

So the next time you are confronted with — or even see — some conservative braying about “victory,” and scaremongering about the Islamic devils, here’s what you do. Counterattack. “Really? Are willing to pay for this ‘clash of civilizations?’ No? Then the shut the fuck up.”

And he will. Because what else can he say? He can’t support a “tax increase” — ever, under any circumstances. Tax increases are conservative sacrilege. So he can’t support paying for the war, even it really is to “save western civilization.” That’s contradiction number one. As for ordinary Americans, they damn sure don’t want to pay more taxes for an oil war that will primarily benefit American oil companies. They also aren’t much interested in subsidizing torture. That’s contradiction number two. Put the two together, and you’ve got a one, two punch that will put those neocon bastards right on the canvas. Notice the facts. They are not simply presented. They are woven into the presentation of the contradiction. It is the contradiction, and not the mere facts, that destroys their position.

Let’s apply this lesson to designing appropriate public events, like say “anti-war rallies.” You will recall the most recent antiwar rallies, wherein some freepers gathered to counter-protest. This resulted in an alleged “spitting on the troops” episode, which has pretty well been discredited.

But that got me to thinking. Because if you are organizing one of these things, you know that the Freepers are going to show up and do their level best to provoke some sort of reaction. Credit these guys with one thing. They learned a few lessons from the civil rights era. Specifically, they learned that there are cameras running at these things, and what those cameras report is more important that what the local crowd sees. We seem to have forgotten that. But we can reacquaint ourselves with this simple principle, and gameplan a response to the Freepers in advance. Here is what I came up with.

It’s real simple. Take up a collection to support the troops. We’re talking body armor, care packages, etc. Nothing like putting some money into the hat when it comes around to demonstrate that you do indeed “support the troops.” [Make sure that you have a reputable recipient lined up for whatever you collect, and that you videotape delivering the loot to that organization. Because the Freepers will claim that you misappropriated the money, count on it.]

We’re not done. While your collection is taking place, send some people across the street and give one of them a bullhorn. Now ask the Freepers to chip in. They won’t. Even if they want to, they won’t. Because if they do, they will be following a bunch of leftists. They will be “joining” you — which they absolutely do not want to do. Any freeper that gives a single red cent to this effort will never again be able to say that we don’t “support the troops.” He helped us support them. If, on the other hand, he balks, well then HE didn’t “support the troops.” He is now in a “can’t win” situation. Make sure you have lots of video cameras running for the whole spectacle. By the way, an anti-war protest organizer should have lots of videocameras strategically stationed so that not a single second of a single square inch of the vicinity is not recorded — so that you can instantly debunk any rightwing smear attempts.

There is another aspect of this, by the way, that dovetails in with the whole “tax cuts in time of war” business. It underlines the fact that the US government “can’t afford” to support the troops, what with the recent round of tax cuts and all. But wait, it gets better. You see, when it comes to social spending, conservatives like to claim that private charity is “more efficient” than government spending, anyway. Personally, I think it is scandalous that US soldiers have to rely on “private charity” when doing the dirty work of corporate America. Not only that, I suspect many ordinary Americans will see it the same way.

And that’s when inspiration hit me. Do you remember “Farm Aid” back in the 1980′s to support America’s family farmers who were in financial distress? I propose “Troops Aid.” Specifically, I propose a series of benefit concerts to provide humanitarian assistance to US soldiers and their families — and their survivors, as the case may be. Such an effort will need sponsors, of course. I propose that solicitations may made to America’s oil companies, military contractors, and assorted other corporate players. They can’t possibly accept, since part of the effort will be the call to support the troops by bringing them home.

This works on any number of levels. First of all, it points up the shameful failure of the US government to adequately support the troops it has sent to Iraq. Second, it points out the shameful failure of corporations to support the troops doing their dirty work — while they benefit from Dubya’s tax cuts. Third, it gives another opportunity to conservatives to pay for the war effort, without having to pay more taxes. They won’t do this either, precisely because WE are the one’s behind it.

But wait. Suppose our conservative adversaries do decide to join this effort. Wonderful. Because joining this effort will lay to rest the conservative charge about us progressives being “traitors.” Such an effort would actually rebuild some good will between us and them — which is another reason they won’t do it. They are driving this polarization. Marginalizing us is part of the whole political agenda served by perpetuating this travesty in Iraq. They are not about to help us undo that polarization. Which furnishes yet another contradiction for them to live down.

In other words, they can’t win and we can’t lose. We just need someone with the connections and cash to put it together. ANSWER should have done this two or three years ago.

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