Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bring the Troops HOME!

As I type away--snug in the comfort of my Cherry Hill NJ home--I'm troubled that with all this talk about Dubai and Iran and baseball's spring training, Americans seem to be forgetting that our soldiers are dying with incresing frequency in Iraq. One project I am tending to this weekend is a little war protest that I hope others will become excited about, too. I am taking little plastic army men and writing the words "BRING ME HOME" on a little piece of masking tape then sticking it onto the little plastic soldier's base.

I have about a dozen plastic soldiers in my coat pocket at all times and place them about randomly wherever I go: one in the produce at the grocery, another on the shelves at the videostore, the restroom at the gas station or a restaurant, and so forth. This seems like a mild but mindful form of protest, but I have to admit I get a bit of a high from doing it. I hope that people will find these small toys with their message, and they'll get to thinking about the Iraq war. That's really the modest goal of this for me. (And of course the wildly subversive feeling that such behavior gives me is a bonus!)

I bought several 100-toy bags of army men at the dollarstore and my friends Andrea, Peter, Brian (as well as my boy Greg) have helped me out a great deal by taking a few dozen and spreading them 'round a bit. My mother was excited to help too. She took 50 because she says this war reminds her of vietman. We all know how that turned out.
The war in Iraq is costing American taxpayers 3 billion dollars a day.
For the families of the 2307 dead American soldiers--and for the 15,553 wounded Vets-- the sacrifice is infinitely more.

I should note that this is a totally unoriginal idea. I heard a story on NRP about a retired lady in Chicago who took to doing this because she wanted to do something to register her discontent. here is a link to her story.
(Image courtesy of Keith Hodan)


Anonymous said...

Great post and a great thing to do. The war isn't truly real for any of us. We have a President who won't even show proper respect to grieving families by acknowledging any returning graves. What you're doing is important and will hopefully generate awareness.

By the way, and totally unrelated, I hear the Russ Feingold is going to make some kind of announcement on ABC's This Week this morning. Perhaps it will be the annoucement.

Sharon GR said...

I like it. I really like it.

Anonymous said...

That's a great idea. I think I will head to my dollar store and pick up some toy soldiers too.


Anonymous said...

Deja vu...and thank you for it!


Robert Ellman said...

Jay, I owe you an apology. I interpreted your post earlier on my blog as an attack that my grandfather would be ashamed of me for what I wrote. I overreacted because I cross posted on Daily Kos and was blasted for challenging people about xenophobia. I realize upon re-reading it that you weren't doing anything of the sort. Someone else posted noting that you were actually agreeing with me that Nazification of America is what would have disgusted my grandfather. I am going to post a comment apologizing as well.

Anonymous said...

OK, this is about as creepy as it gets --I think you need some serious couchtime with a counselor, Jay. Instead of being a little sniveling anti-American, anti-troops nutcase and leave little toy soldiers scattered about as a "form of protest", why don't you take a peek out of the closet and grow a spine --join a rally, stand up with the cut-and-run crowd in a march, carry a banner for the "blame America 1st" groups starting in front of Kerry's office. Do something useful instead of a meaningless gesture like leaving toy soliders around... if I saw one in the grocery, I'd hand it to my son to use with his Desert Storm toys so he could recreate the slaughter of Saddam's Republican Guard.

Honestly, you and your boy Greg need to check into a permanent visa for Canada. You should be ashamed. If you don't support the mission, you don't support the troops.

"Radical" Russ said...

Michigan Matt,

Go Cheney yourself. When and where did you serve this country? It's awfully easy for you to imagine the "mission" to be like the Army toys you give your son to play with and discount the 25,000 dead and severely injured Americans (not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqis) and their families who are permanently affected by Chickenhawk-in-Chief's shameless oil grab.

People like you spouted the same "if you don't support the mission" line of bullshit all throughout Vietnam, trying to blame an unwinnable war based on unmitigated lies serving an imaginary purpose on those of us who opposed "the mission", rather than focusing on the criminals in charge who foisted that war upon the American people. It only took 58,000 dead American boys to finally get you people over your low-forehead, rah-rah, USA! USA! jingoism enough to understand there were real consequences to playing "Army" in imperialistic antion-building wars in Asia. You were wrong then, and you are wrong now.

On the other hand, if people like you continue running our foreign policy, maybe you'll have the chance to sign your son up to play real Armymen. You will be signing him up to "support the mission", won't you? And what about yourself? You might even be within the Army's new recruiting standards; they're taking middle-aged retards with criminal background now, I understand.

Next time, try understanding an issue with a little depth than "USA good no matter what!" Not only can you support the troops without supporting the mission (I served 1985-1990, and my brother-in-law serves in Afghanistan right this minute), it is the very act of questioning the mission that makes America great. Our Constitution lays out a military that is under the control of civilian leadership, and that civilian leadership answers to We the People. While you were busy raising your son to be another bloodthirsty shallow-minded chickenhawk, you may not have noticed that 4 out of 5 people in this country are also questioning the mission.

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, you dolt.

Jay -- fantastic idea. I'm off to the toy store right now.

Anonymous said...

I personally used to feel very patriotic and believe all the crap my government fed me. However I now see the light. This war is nothing but psyops and butchery based on greed for profits and oil. It makes me sick to think I used to support the government. Even though I used to be a soldier, I now know how wrong it is. The government takes advantage of the youth who can't afford a good education, and the ones who can't afford to travel the world. I think it is a great idea and I plan on buying toy soldiers, and leaving them everywhere. As an ex-soldier I salute you and this great idea.

Static Brain

jay lassiter said...

I am still at it!!!
and i am encouraged that my anti-war vision has filled my life with an amazing sense of purpose.

RED said...

While I always support free speech and protest, it is what makes this country great after all, I always find it ...hurtful may not be the right word...That so many people who are against the war and for bringing the troops home often forget that troops today are re-enlisting in record numbers. And it isn't about the money. Tomorrow I sign my re-enlistment for another four years and I am proud to do so. I love my country and my army and I'm proud to be part of it. I choose to stay in and I volunteer to deploy. By creating these little soldiers as if it represented a real live soldier, I'm insulted. I've yet to meet a single service member who is begging to come home.

jay lassiter said...

God bless you, brother. And hope that you come home safe and sound.
I love this country too.
My intention was not to insult you. You seem awfully sensitive for someone whose job it is to kill?

Anonymous said...

What you fail to realize is that soldier's are NOT dying with ever increasing frequency. We're (yes, I'm a soldier and Iraq vet) actually dying less frequently each day. That's fact, not media propoganda.

Please don't speak for me. Until you put on the uniform and volunteer for military service, don't do me any "favors". When you wear the uniform and rank of a military person, then you can pretend to be one. There's nothing great about this. It's offensive to me and the other soldier's reading over my shoulder right now.

jay lassiter said...

As of today 2309 soldiers are dead. At the time I posted this blog, that number was 2306. Three more=increasing frequency.

My protest represents my thoughts, i am not trying to represent you. In fact, i am trying to do my part to end this ridiculous war so that soldiers like you won't have to die.

Anonymous said...

When you place a soldier (which I am and you are no longer) then you represent me. You are saying bring ME home (present tense), not why didn't you bring me home back in 1990 when I was in.

An increase in 3 three soldiers isn't an increasing frequency, it's an increase. One is an increase. More die each day (and one is more than I care for), but less are dying each day than a year ago = decreasing frequency. Fact, not fiction.

And notice that when I post on your blog, I don't use names like dolt, retard and the like. It's called respect, which you lack on mine.

jay lassiter said...

fair enough.

"Radical" Russ said...

Frequency (n): Frequency is the measurement of the number of times that a repeated event occurs per unit time. To calculate the frequency, one fixes a time interval, counts the number of occurrences of the event within that interval, and then divides this count by the length of the time interval.

Alrighty, then, let's fix our time interval to be one month. According to the DoD's own casualty numbers:

02-2006 2.07
01-2006 2.06
12-2005 2.19
11-2005 2.87
10-2005 3.19
09-2005 1.73
08-2005 2.74
07-2005 1.87
06-2005 2.77
05-2005 2.84
04-2005 1.73
03-2005 1.26
02-2005 2.14
01-2005 4.10
12-2004 2.45
11-2004 4.70
10-2004 2.16
09-2004 2.90
08-2004 2.42
07-2004 1.87
06-2004 1.67
05-2004 2.71
04-2004 4.67
03-2004 1.68
02-2004 0.79
01-2004 1.68
12-2003 1.55
11-2003 3.67
10-2003 1.52
09-2003 1.10
08-2003 1.39
07-2003 1.58
06-2003 1.20
05-2003 1.32
04-2003 2.67
03-2003 7.67

So, technically, CJ, you may be right. Over the past three months, the frequency of US soldier deaths is decreasing. However, I don't think a monthly interval is fair, since there are events that happen in one month (like, say, an election or a fatwa) that may increase the numbers temporarily. For a better look, I think we should set our interval to six months:

09-2005 - 02-2006 2.29
03-2005 - 08-2005 2.09
09-2004 - 02-2005 2.86
03-2004 - 08-2004 2.33
09-2003 - 02-2004 1.45
03-2003 - 08-2003 1.75

By that measure, it would seem that US soldier deaths are increasing.

I, for one, don't measure the success of a mission by whether 10 soldiers are dying per day or only one per day. I compare the sacrifice they are bravely making to the morality of the mission. One soldier's death is one too many, so it better be worth it. The roughly 500 (ground) soldiers per day who perished in the 74-day battle to take Normandy in WWII, in order to gain a foothold in Europe to attack the genocidal Nazi regime, was a successful mission. The roughly 2.31 soldiers per day who are dying in the desert to uncover weapons of mass destruction, uh... overthrow Saddam Hussein, uh... retaliate against the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11, uh... foster a peaceful multi-ethnic democracy, uh... prevent Iraq from descending into sectarian civil war, uh... maintain a state of chaos for Halliburton to make big bucks to rebuild / enhance the bottom lines of ExxonMobilChevronTexaco / keep America in enough fear to justify destroying their civil liberties and get them to pull that GOP lever... well, it's hard to define success when the goals are shifting this much, ain't it?

Bring them home now or restart the draft.

'Bean said...

I'm always amused by these "I used to be a soldier" and "if you don't support our mission, you are UN-UH-MERKIN!" types, Jay.

If this is what they think and feel, why are THEY not backing their party, their politics, their beliefs, their policy, and their bloody PRESIDENT by putting the mettle of their courage to the test and signing the dotted line themselves?

I'll tell you why, because I can answer that: it is because, deep down, they are cowards who take comfort in numbers (more here than there) and who can only snort and bellow when their Rush Limbaugh and Mike Savage machine eggs them on.

As for the real people who served - the rather visible Paul Hackett was most certainly there.

Seeme the experience made him more of a Democrat now that he's back home.

'Bean said...

Red said, "often forget that troops today are re-enlisting in record numbers. "


So tell me, Red, if that is the case, why all the news about difficulty meeting quotas?

You live in a fantasy land where the Earth, fueled by JEEEE-zzuzz, magically fixes toxins, women actually want to be subserviant to you, brown skinned people are tolerated (but don't live in your neighborhood), jobs are plentiful, and all everyone really wants to be is a beer-swilling, sausage-eating, middle-aged, overweight Christian.

Wake the fuck up.

Not only are we not meeting our enlistment quotas, the Pentagon has changed the rules to KEEP our soldiers, pilots, and sailors in FOR LONGER THAN THE ASSIGNED TOUR OF DUTY!

And as for the rest of what I said?

I'd rather be a trim, fashionable, liberal Jewish faggot in New York State than be like you, shitbag: get your head out of Faux News, open your shit-covered eyes, and read a little.

Even the National News and International News sections of the Wall Street Journal, a CONSERVATIVE paper, paint a much different picture than your delusions.

Beth said...


you should be going to this

Anonymous said...

As a soldier, I loathe you cherry hill jerseyite snobs...

brian. said...

Before I go to the local dollar store to get my toy soldiers (which I AM going to do), I need to point out that soldiers fight in representation of ALL Americans. And as a part of the contingent that you for, anonymous/hateful soldier (and CJ), I am obligated by a social contract to speak up and speak out. If you feel you're being misrepresented by my toy soldier then it's come full circle -- I've felt misrepresented since day one of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Anonymous said...

Jay, from your mouth to Kvatch's ear.

'Bean said...

As a soldier, I loathe you cherry hill jerseyite snobs...

Then come back and fight for Southern Session: we don't want you mouth-breathing, pro-creation-as-science, anti-vaccination nitwits representing us, either.

Anonymous said...

Not nice, Mr. Bean. Southerners don't always support "pro-creation-as-science, anti-vaccination" routes. Admittedly, some folks from below New York are like that. But apparently those folks are everywhere: the South didn't elect Bush on it's own. Some of us put tiny soldiers around. Let's leave the geographic bigotry out of this discussion.

Granny said...

Just posted Kvatch's story of an army of green little men in downtown S.F. Understand it was your idea with some help from another blogger.