Dennis Prager's column on "supporting the troops" is a masterpiece of reducing political commentary to meaningless obfuscation. According to Prager, the "left" doesn't "support the troops." I'm not sure whether I agree, since the phrase has beome meaningless.
Prager attempts to define it. "In order to understand this, we need to first have a working definition of the term 'support the troops.' Presumably it means that one supports what the troops are doing and rooting for them to succeed. What else could 'support the troops' mean? If you say, for example, that you support the Yankees or the Dodgers, we assume it means you want them to win."
So rooting for your side in a war is the same as rooting for your team in a baseball game. But if you accept his logic, then for a Yankees fan, the Boston Redsox are literally the same as the enemy in a war. I don't much care for baseball, but I come from Knoxville, Tennessee and root for the Univerisity of Tennessee Volunteers. The Big Orange, as we call them. In my capacity as a football fan, I hate the Universities of Alabama, Georgia and Florida; among others. Except that I don't really. I have known graduates of all three schools and liked them. I have come into contact with a lot of Tennessee fans that I don't much care for.
So I must conclude that war is much more complex than sports. The war in Iraq is and has been very controversial. Prager is attempting to eliminate the controversy by conflating two different categories. The Bush adminstration makes the policy that is carried out by the Army and Marine Corps in Iraq. Americans tend to have warm and fuzzy attitudes towards the military. Which is why we so frequently see the president in this setting. Prager is attempting the same thing by tying support for the policy with support for the troops.
If Prager thought a bit, he might find other meanings for the phrase. For instance, one can actually materially support the troops. I did that once by sending books via Booksforsoldiers.com. Al Franken has done several USO tours.
Prager should ask if supporters of the war are doing enough to support the troops. I have seen plenty of troop support at the almost meaningless Tony Orlando and Dawn level. Except people don't even bother to tie them on Old Oak Trees these days. Instead they just attach them to their vehicles. With support like that . . .