I read in Tuesday's Iowa State Daily that the College Republicans have begun collecting sundries for U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why? Doesn't the U.S. Army victual its soldiers? Don't their families send them yuletide goodies? Aren't GIs paid enough to buy what they need, and even what they want?
"As Republicans we believe in charity," stated Jeremy Freeman, a member of the College Republicans. Donating toiletries, boxed and canned foods, socks and beanies to U.S. soldiers who can already deodorize themselves, who eat better than the poorest Americans and who are gallantly garbed, is an eleemosynary travesty.
Necessities should be doled out to people who really need them and who might get them if not for the hundreds of billions of dollars being funneled to the Pentagon in the greatest squandering of money on the planet. If anything, Republicans should sympathize with veterans struggling to find employment, a challenge that may daunt the discharged soldier, who might wish he had reenlisted. Soldiers are to Republicans as fetuses are to them: prized. But once out of the womb-like army, Republican solicitude for hapless veterans goes where extracted zygotes go.
"We get to show the troops we still appreciate what they're doing for us," said another College Republican. What are they doing for us? Nothing. But against us they're doing a lot: creating anti-American terrorists in the countries they occupy. Said the same College Republican, "It can't be fun to be away from your family for the holidays. As if American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan had been conscripted? They chose to leave home.
Why do Republicans care so much about the military? Because the military-industrial complex is dear to their simplistic laissez-faire fantasies: a bottom-line patriotism that excludes the people at the bottom.