"Support Our Troops?" You Bet! Let's Give Each Soldier $100,000 as a "Coming Home Bonus," Payable When the Last U.S. Soldier Leaves Iraq

05/25/2011 12:00 pm ET

Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, December 15, 2006.

If you are halfway paying attention, you know that one of the key elements of the Big Lie sustaining the immoral and murderous U.S. occupation of Iraq is to use the word "troops" in place of the word "war."

As when someone says, "we have to support our troops," when they really mean, "we have to support the war."

I was reminded of this yesterday, when I was informed by National Public Radio that Democrats in Congress were not going to "cut funding for the troops."

What you meant to say was, Democrats are not going to cut funding for the war.

Of course nobody is going to cut funding "for the troops." Are you kidding? What is the image being peddled here? That somehow Congress would cut the funding, but the troops would still be in Iraq? A soldier would run out of bullets, because Congress cut the funding. A soldier would go to the mess hall, but there would be no food, because Congress cut the funding. Jeeps and tanks would stop in the middle of the road. No gas. Congress cut the funding.

Please. We are talking about cutting funding for the *war* and bringing the troops home.

There are two theories for why Democratic leaders don't call foul on this. One is that they are too scared to be called soft on security.

The other is more nefarious: like Social Security, they want to keep the game going. Iraq is a winning campaign issue. So if the war goes on into 2008, as long as leading Democrats can claim they are not responsible for it, they can use it to win again.

I don't care to speculate. But it does seem clear that unless we break down the lie that peace advocates want to cut off funding "for the troops," we are going to have a hard time ending this war.

The following might make it clear. When we cut off the funding, let's use a chunk of the money saved as a direct payment to the returning U.S. troops, payable when the last one comes home. Let's say we use $14 billion for this purpose, a small fraction of what the Bush Administration would like to spend in Iraq before it leaves office.

With 140,000 soldiers in Iraq, that would allow us to cut a check to each soldier for $100,000. I don't need to tell you what a young person could do with $100,000. Go to a nice college, buy a nice house, start a nice business. All good things for the economy.

Maybe what some folks mean when they say we need to "support the troops" is that many soldiers are no doubt psychologically and emotionally invested in the Iraq project, dubious and immoral though it is, and would have a hard time accepting "defeat."

That may be. But $100,000 would go a long way towards making them whole.

Tell your Members of Congress to stop funding the war and bring the troops home.