I’ve been meaning to talk about this issue for quite a while. One of the main hesitations I have in discussing the issues of non-violence and pacifism, is people’s immediate disgust with the idea that I don’t “Support Our Troops.” We actually used to have one of those yellow ribbons on the back of our car; along side a bumper sticker that said, “War is Not the Answer.” I’m very much a believer in the support and love of “our troops,” in the same way I’m in support of loving our enemies, children and soldiers. You see, Supporting Our Troops isn’t just a bumper sticker bandwagon, it’s something that requires a bit more of us.
Did you know that Veterans account for nearly 25% of the Homeless population in the United States? Where is the Support of our troops after they come home? I don’t believe in supporting our troops by giving them more bombs, bullets and tanks with which to kill more, but I believe strongly in providing the care and human dignity they should expect as citizens of this supposed great nation we live in.
NPR did a segment recently about current soldiers coming back from Iraq who have been experiencing PTSD and have not received the support and treatment they should in our own cities.
Alex Orum’s medical records showed that he had PTSD, but his officers
expelled him from the Army earlier this year for “patterns of
misconduct,” repeatedly citing him on disciplinary grounds. In Orum’s
case, he was cited for such infractions as showing up late to
formation, coming to work unwashed, mishandling his personal finances
and lying to supervisors — behaviors which psychiatrists say are
consistent with PTSD.
I support our Troops. Many Sunday’s I hang out with them near the Nashville War Memorial. We eat lunch together and talk about life. Some support this war, others don’t. They all, though most are too respectful to admit it, have been terribly mistreated by a country that used their very lives, and then tossed them to the curb. If your gonna drive around with a yellow ribbon on your bumper, please be ready to do more then just send a postcard around Christmas.