A common refrain amongst many who are opposed to United States military adventurism and it imperialistic policies is that even if we do not support the wars we are fighting, we should support the troops. After all, it is not the troops themselves who are deciding foreign policy, they are simply following orders and going where there commanders decide that they are needed. I, however, do not accept this formulation. The United States has a volunteer army. Anybody who enlists is tacitly accepting and approving US foreign policy by joining its armed forces.
Unlike the Vietnam conflict, when the draft was in effect and many unwilling conscripts were sent across the world to fight and unpopular war, we now have a professional army. Whilst there are some cases where enlistees were lied to about conflicts we are involved in or falsely promised they would not be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, the vast majority of people who l join the armed forces know full well what conflicts the United States is involved in, that they could be deployed to any of those conflict zones and would be expected to participate in carrying out the objectives chosen by their military and civilian leadership.
Military personnel are not empowered to cherry pick their postings. They cannot tell their chain of command that they are only interested in defense of the homeland or in peace keeping operations. They have a duty to go wherever they are commanded and do not have the option of declining a particular posting because they do not agree with the war. They enlist of their own free will and pledge to follow any orders they are given.
Therefore I do not support the troops. I support those who, because they have realized the immorality of US imperialism and meddling, refuse to re-enlist or resign their commissions to protest US policy. I support and respect even more those who decline to join the armed forces in the first place, those who refuse to support and perpetuate policies that are unjust and criminal.