Stop Giving It Up For the Troops

by Adam Hammer on September 22, 2010

I want out

Hey China, you got a quarter?

Stop it. Just stop it. It’s getting to be embarrassing.

I was at a sports bar outside of Chicago attempting to ignore what looked like an impromptu Karaoke session when some dipshit tells every patron to raise their glasses for the troops.

“Get ’em up! Get those goddam glasses in the air and give it up for the troops! If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here!”

He then went on to sing a Limp Bizkit song.

[saluting] God Bless America.

Really? The troops are why you’re there? Not because of the lack of options in this Chicago suburb at 1am on a Thursday? I guess I didn’t get the memo from the USO office.

If I was a veteran, I would have yanked the mic out of his hand and shoved it up his ass. What a way to trivialize the deaths of people fighting for America. To co-opt their sacrifice to justify our shitty, drunken behavior.

Thank the troops when you vote. Thank the troops when you go to Hawaii. Or when you celebrate the Sabbath. Don’t bring them into your ensemble rendition of Sweet Caroline. It’s fucked up.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here!”

Yeah. That’s exactly what’s going through their heads. When a convoy gets hit with IEDs and bodies fly out all over the street covered in flames, that’s what they’re worried about. Karaoke!

“Jimmy! I don’t know if you’re gonna make it. We radioed in for a Med-Evac. I’m here with you brother. But I want you to know, if you don’t pull through this, that there is a fat chick in Wichita singing Carrie Underwood right now. Right now, man! If it wasn’t for you, she wouldn’t be able to ruin Before He Cheats in a bar full of strangers trying to ignore her banshee squeals until they hear their name called. I know she’s never had a boyfriend! But it’s because of you that she gets to do that! You didn’t die in vain brother.”

SIDE NOTE: Here’s a funny version of that song by my friend Rob Little.

I hear people giving it up for the troops at comedy clubs. On TV. To sell printers. On radio programs.

Sean Hannitty LOVES to attach the troops to his scare tactic rhetoric. ‘Are the troops dying so that Muslims can build a mosque in New York?!’

Actually… Yeah. Sort of.

They give it up for the troops to get people clapping so they can spew whatever bullshit they want and attach the applause to their agenda. Whether that be conservative ideals or singing a Queen song at Karaoke.

It’s a cheap trick and it’s disrespectful.

We’re not too far from having porn actresses beg for a load on their face because the troops are dying for her right to take that load on camera. If it wasn’t for them she’d be in a burqa taking that load!

So stop giving it up for the troops so goddam much. Stop trivializing their efforts. They’re not even fighting for our “freedom” anymore. Not since WWII has that been the case. They’re fighting for our safety right now (Before this war they fought for a combination of other people’s freedoms and international free enterprise but that’s beside the point). And for that, I thank them.

But I refuse to give it up to them. It’s so insincere.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

a soldier October 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

i disagree, i am a soldier and really, for myself and all the people i have met through the military there is a strong feeling that all the little things you do are because of what we do. and from what i have seen, it really does help us do our job of protection when we know people are aware that it ISN’T just the big things in life that we protect

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adamhammer October 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I like to think that the guys I saw blown up from IEDs while I was in Afghanistan were doing something more important than defending the right to fuck up shitty music. But that’s just me.

And honestly the correlation this asshole made between the troops and Karaoke (along with a thousand other things people “give it up for the troops” while doing – stripper djs, keg stands, sporting events, etc.) doesn’t make sense. It’s not like if Karaoke hadn’t happened that night the troops somehow failed. Our Karaoke freedoms are not under threat.

Like I said, I will THANK the troops all day – buy ’em a beer, tell ’em a joke, listen to their stories, whatever. But “giving it up” for them is never for the troops, it’s so the person saying it can feel special while other people applaud. Like they’re somehow doing something important. It’s insulting.

But that’s just my opinion… which apparently you have fought to defend. For that, I thank you.

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Another Soldier November 6, 2010 at 1:42 am

Adam i couldn’t agree with you more. And thank you for you insight.

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