An e-mail sent to the folks producing the "Support the troops, not the empire, bring our kids home" shirts:
As a member of the Canadian Forces, I feel you may wish to rethink your T-shirt slogan " Support our troops, not the empire, bring our kids home" for the following reasons:
You claim to "support the troops", though I doubt you consulted any of us when you produced your T-shirts, much less asked what they need from the Canadian public in the way of support. The real "Support the troops" merchandise proceeds go to support thousands of Canadian soldiers, and their loved ones across Canada, who is supported by the proceeds from your shirts?
"Peace" protests are often directed at Canadian Forces (CF) bases or recruiting centres, which clearly shows you lack of "support" or respect for Canadian soldiers. You need to understand that it is the democratically elected government of Canada which dictates what missions the CF participates, and what their role will be in such missions. Harassing and inconveniencing members of the CF regarding the current mission in Afghanistan make as much sense as cornering your mailman about GST or NAFTA, both the mailman and the Soldier are federal employees, but neither have the ability to change governmental policy.
In your slogan, you implore the people to support the troops, not the empire...which empire is this? The UN, which sanctioned the mission? NATO, a union of free and democratic nations? Canada, a free and democratic nation? or Afghanistan, a struggling democracy seeking help from the west? Looks like we are supporting all 4 empires.
Lastly, you refer to Canadian Soldiers as "kids" to which I take personal offense. As you may or may not be aware, every single member of the CF is a volunteer, most members of the CF are also adults, one can join the CF as early as 16, but with the following caveats attached:
- They require permission of their parent or guardian and;
- They are unable to be deployed on an overseas mission until they reach the age of majority.
Canadian Soldiers are not impressionable children, as you may wish to paint us. The CF is a reflection of the people of Canada, and the rights and values we cherish as a whole. It is worthy of note that reservists can only be deployed on a voluntary basis. No reservist has ever been deployed to Afghanistan without their expressed consent, and many hundreds of reservists have volunteered to go to Afghanistan since 2002.
Like you, these Canadian soldiers have decided to dedicate a great deal to making the world a better place, and frankly a great deal more by volunteering their very lives to further human rights and peace in a far away land. They are worthy of the same level of respect which they are honour and duty bound to grant you.
A Canadian Soldier