Support our Troops Unless…

RBB experiences even more controversy.

“Support our Troops” in a saying that I personally don’t like. I just am not a big bumper sticker person, though I do have one simple U.S. Army star stuck to my car expressly for the purpose of getting out of the occasional speeding ticket. While I do agree with the sentiment behind “Supporting the Troops,” I think that it is used far too often in common discourse. Just like saying “bless you” is almost reactionary for most people when they witness someone sneeze, people will spout something to the effect of “support our troops” when they see Soldiers, it has become almost mandatory.

I think that because it is overused so much, “support our troops” is losing the sincerity behind the thought. Now normally I base this on my slightly nihilistic and narcissistic worldview but, today I have evidence and my evidence is Rock Beyond Belief.

Recently, FOX News reporter Todd Starnes conducted an interview with FTB’s own Justin Griffith. The issue was that Todd saw an opening for a story in a post Justin made on the Rock Beyond Belief website. To introduce the band Aiden, Justin posted one of their music videos, Hysteria, and called it a kick ass “atheist anthem.” The Fox News reporter had his opening, if that was the type of music going on at RBB then a  controversy would erupt, since as we all know Heavy Metal videos are NEVER a controversial art form, EVER. But after conducting the above interview with Justin, Todd on some level must have known that the story was not a homerun. After all the genesis of this event was Justin, a Soldier who we must, of course, support and who is more than a little accustomed to dealing with rules and regulations.

Justin made it absolutely clear that Aiden, like all other performers at the event, would adhere to a standard of family friendly content. But, I guess deadlines are deadlines and Todd ran his story anyway. Soon I watched as people did the ultimate American sin, they shit on Soldiers.

As the story circled around the Clogosphere, the comments became more hateful. The organizers are evil, this was put on by Obama to turn us Soldiers into brownshirts, RBB was nothing more than Soldiers expressing HATE and DISRESPECT for the faithful, it goes on.

Well…I have seen enough. Put the atheist on the future ‘destroy immediately’ lists that we are making for after the revolution. – The Blaze Commentariat

It gave me a flashback to the booing of the gay Soldier during the Republican debate. The second the individual Soldier that people say they support expresses any individuality or turns out to be anythin that you don’t agree with, “Support our Troops” goes out the window.

Now I am not a hero, to date my only claim to fame is ducking behind something thick when my surroundings started to explode. Yet I am friends with many Soldiers who have seen much more of war than myself and are atheists, gay, illegal immigrants, and persons of all faiths. Many have had similar negative experiences when a civilian actually gets to know them. Some people just can’t help themselves when it comes to demeaning Soldiers.

On a recent cross-country flight, I was wearing ACUs and sat next to a nice looking elderly couple. They thanked me for my service and I got to reading my Kindle to relax and occasionally answered their questions about my recent deployment. They seemed to think everyone in Iraq was a terrorist and other such preconceptions and I did my best to politely correct their misconceptions with a bit of reality.

Later, the plane got hot and I removed my ACU jacket, not wanting to sweat out my uniform. My dog tags slipped out, the ones with ATHEIST stamped into the metal. The couple reacted almost immediately, after fifteen or so minutes defending my lack of belief the couple moved to different seats on the other side of plane. As the gentlemen brushed by me, he muttered something under his breath as he left. “People like you are a disgrace to America.”

RBB is going to be little more than a gathering of persons that happen to have a rare worldview, one that is notably different because it is not geographic in its distribution. Speakers like Richard Dawkins will encourage us to self-identify with our worldview because for the first time in history, technology  makes the lack of a geographic center irrelevant. We are discovering our voice as atheists and with that voice the ability to form a community. People will surely come out to film the event in the hopes that we spout something uncouth and in the end nothing will be overly controversial, with the evidence posted to YouTube.

But if my dog tags completely destroy any honor I have earned in years of service then let us at least be honest and update your damn bumper stickers.

Support our Troops….unless they don’t believe in your God, are gay, or are illegal immigrants coming over to steal our good infantry jobs, or ….






  1. TX_secular says

    Well said. I wonder what moving across the plane was supposed to accomplish? Maybe they thought if god struck you dead for being a big, bad atheist they would be far enough away to survive… 😉

  2. otrame says

    They only want to “Support Our Troops” with their mouths anyway. Certainly they don’t want to support our troops with anything that might cost them anything.

      • otrame says

        And yet they will scream bloody murder about a tax increase that amounts to no more than that but actually helps veterans.

    • Jenora Feuer says

      Hmmm… wasn’t it Jon Stewart who made the comment about the ‘Support Our Troops’ yellow ribbon stickers, something along the lines of ‘Go ahead, buy the sticker for your car. It’s the least you can do… literally.’?

      Up here in Canada, I’ve had to make the comment before that I can ‘support the troops’ without necessarily supporting the mission they were sent on or the politicians who sent them. The troops are actual people, after all.

    • 'Tis Himself, OM says

      The proper response to a sneeze is to either:

      (a) Murmur “gesundheit”; or

      (b) Slap the person and scream “Thanks for spreading disease, Typhoid Mary!”

      Whether you choose (a) or (b) depends on the relative size of the sneezer and you.

    • Liesmith says

      I just shout “UNCLEAN!” over and over while running away and knocking over anything within arm’s reach to form obstacles between the plague-carrier and myself. It’s a pretty effective way to get out of uncomfortable conversations and/or employment.

    • Aquaria says

      In South Texas, we say “Salud!” That’s Spanish for “Health!”

      That at least makes some dang sense.

  3. Aliasalpha says

    Heh you can tell its a family event with a band as wimpy sounding as aiden… Needs more slayer, imagine the effects of decent metal and kerry king’s epic beard!

      • raymills says

        Actually, if you asked Lemmy, he would probably say yes and do it gratis, or at least for a ride in a tank. Watch Lemmy: the movie if you don’t believe me.

        Uninteresting slayer fact: War Ensemble from Seasons in the abyss was the first song played on armed forces radio when Gulf war 1 kicked off.

    • says

      Mastodon? Motorhead?

      You guys are joking, right? These aren’t actual band names?

      Anyway, if I were starting a metal band, I’d name it the Satan Death Piss Skull Blood Be’elzebub Smash Smash Annihilation GrAAAAAAAR Darkness Merchants.

      • Aliasalpha says

        Satan Death Piss Skull Blood Be’elzebub Smash Smash Annihilation GrAAAAAAAR Darkness Merchants

        I think thats a cannibal corpse song

        I presume you’re taking the piss saying you’ve not heard of Motorhead but its a good excuse to post the clip to Killed By Death

  4. timberwoof says

    I’m not surprised. I have been told similar shit: some people think that since I’m gay, I’m a disgrace to hickey players everywhere.

  5. geocatherder says

    The “support our troops” people often have a very vivid mental image of what a serviceperson should be, and have convinced themselves that you all are superhuman robots who conform to this inhumane and uncompassionate image. If you happen to be the wrong religion, have normal human worries and desires, are gay, have succumbed to an addictive substance, suffer mental injury, etc., you don’t measure up; you’re not real. You’re not right. You don’t deserve support.

    But if you should happen to come home from war in a casket, they’ll line up to say supportive homilies over your body.

    • sailor1031 says

      “But if you should happen to come home from war in a casket, they’ll line up to say supportive homilies over your body.”

      Well not if you’re an atheist or gay or whatever else doesn’t fit their petty idea of “true americanism”….but you’ll probably have the Phelps clan come by.

  6. passerby says

    “Support our Ubermenschen!” is the vibe I usually get when someone gives me this line. One of the few honest times I’ve seen this in action is the departure gate at Bangor, when you come in at 2 AM and there are vets and families lining the rows, thanking you and handing out care bags or letting you use their cell phones. That is worth more to me than some sticker on the back of your truck.

  7. F says

    Yeah, that goes with two of my other favorites: “You’re not a true warrior” and “You don’t respect the military”. Asses.


    Why? Are teh gay deficient in possessively marking their loved ones with hickeys?

  8. longstreet63 says

    Thanks for your service, AA, but I’m even less fond of “SUpport the Troops” rhetoric than you. As such, I’m even leery about ‘thank you for your service.’
    You see, I can’t help but note all the different times that sort of sentiment has been used in the past. I can’t help but note how utterly divorced it is from any judgement of the ways in which the troops are being used or how that service is performed.
    Sure, the idea is that you personally did your duty and went where you were ordered and, really, had no real choice about what that was.
    But then, so did the SS in 1944. SO did the Red Army in Hungary. So do the child soldiers of the Army of God.
    I don;t support any of those troops, and I don;t thank them for their service.
    And the only real difference is that they were not ‘my’ soldiers.
    It’s nothing to do with you, after all, or any soldier individually, since by being a soldier, that aspect of choice that is necessary to be accountable largely ceases to exist.
    That loss of choice is what distinguishes the standing army from the mercenary.
    It’s an odd concept, historically speaking, to be proud of being in the military, although it has always been an acceptable profession for officers. For enlisted, it’s traditionally a job of last resort. Only the introduction of conscription made it socially acceptable, and conscription is gone now.
    Sorry if this essay went nowhere. I was just trying to convey my discomfort with our current military fetishism. That never leads anywhere good.

  9. fastlane says

    As the gentlemen brushed by me, he muttered something under his breath as he left. “People like you are a disgrace to America.”

    A couple responses come to mind.

    Mutter back: “I can kill you twelve different ways, totally silently.”

    “No, assholes like you are a disgrace to the country, and the constitution.”

    “Ok, let me get you the number for the local recruiter so you can go put your sorry ass on the line.”

    I never served personally, but that’s mostly cuz I learned my lesson growing up in the Air Farce. =)

    • Herk Driver says

      Here’s the best reply I’ve heard: “Thank you for expressing your freedoms of speech and religion.”

  10. says

    Having served 11 years in the Army I think I lost count of the ways people found to not really support us – wrong war, hate nukes, don’t let gays serve, do let gays serve, let women serve, we raise taxes, and on and on and on. You know what, I didn’t kill anyone, I loved wasting your taxes and I was a secret homosexual the whole time, so suck it. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who willingly puts his or her life in danger for the common good of the nation, and even more respect for those who do so for purely humanitarian reasons, and not because the babble told him to do it.

  11. ambulocetacean says

    “People like you are a disgrace to America.”

    Fucking hell. I can’t fathom that sort of reflexive, non-negotiable hatred — especially after you had spent so much time answering their questions. The religion of love, eh?

  12. Ysidro says

    People like you are a disgrace? Why, it almost looks as though your unthoughtful atheistic lack of belief in an afterlife could lead to you making a true sacrifice instead of thinking you get an instant warp to the big sky playland!!

    For shame! 😉

    And thanks.

  13. Jeremy says

    When I had Atheist put on my dogtags, the woman at the desk spent 5 minutes muttering about “the fall of civilization” and made someone else come finish my inprocessing.

    When my CO read them, he proceeded to explain how kids like me don’t really know what Atheist means and that we’re just confused.

    I agree with you, AA. “Support the Troops” has largely become a meaningless platitude. I’m from Dallas, which is one of the best places in the world to be a vet, unless you’re a godless/gay one.

    As an aside, I was born in College Station, across from the Zachary Engineering Center, where the couples housing used to be. I went to West Point, but I still feel my Aggie roots. I’m glad I stumbled on your blog.

  14. says

    I spent 27 years in the Canadian Air Force. While I was an atheist the entire time, I was out and loud about it for the last several years. I found I was surrounded by heathens…maybe not the majority but certainly more of us than born-again fundies. Never once did I suffer any kind of negative repercussions for it…even when I’d bait the padres into debates.
    The prevalence of batshit religious craziness in the US military is kinda frightening. I now work at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan and I very often see US servicemen mumbling over their food before they eat it. Never saw a Canadian (or any other nationality do that. It’s just creepy…especially because they have guns.

  15. d cwilson says

    In my experience, “Support our Troops” began during the first Gulf War as a way to assuage our collective guilt over how shabbily the Vietnam Vets were treated upon coming home. Then, Fox morphed it into a shorthand for, “STFU, your dirty traitor!” to anyone who dared criticize the Bush administration. Now Fox is in a quandry. Their mandate is to attack everything the Obama administration does, plus gays are allowed to serve openly now, and troops that aren’t Christians are even allowed to speak their minds!

    So, it’s hardly surprising that “support our troops” has been sacrificed on the altar of the GOP agenda.

  16. Tex says

    “…unless they don’t believe in your God, are gay, or are illegal immigrants coming over to steal our good infantry jobs.”

    This ought to be an ad-on sticker people can slap on behind other peoples “support our troops” bumper stickers when paired w/ the “Marriage= one man + one woman” sticker or other similar stickers. Not that Id ever recommend vandalism 😀

  17. snarkmatter says

    Well, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought this. Bonus: I can use your evidence to back it up!


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