There are good and bad ways for Americans to support their troops. There are right and wrong ways for Americans to support their troops.
You do not support your troops by unleashing them to perform evil and then excusing the evil they do. That is wrong. You do not send Captain Calley to Vietnam and turn your head when he massacres innocent villagers at My Lai. That was how Colin Powell supported his fellow troops in Vietnam and it was wrong then.
You do not provide troops with instructions on why and how to "soften up" prisoners at Abu Graib and then support them by denying the illegality of actions high up the chain of command, as Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and others have done in Iraq.
You do not invade sovereign nations with thousands of American troops on baseless charges against "the enemy" and wreaking lethal havoc on that country. Lie-mongering in the process of warmongering is not supporting the troops. Bringing home the troops in body bags is not supporting them, either.
Condoleeze Rice lied again in order to support the troops in her confirmation hearings as Secretary of State. She called Saddam Hussein our "sworn enemy". I do not recall Saddam Hussein ever declaring war against the United States or instituting offensive operations against our troops or our population. Saddam Hussein swore that he would defend his people against our troops, but only after we put him in the position where he had to fight and thus become our "enemy". Nearly fourteen hundred U.S. troops have perished in the latest manifestation of our manipulation of Saddam Hussein, not to mention many more thousands grievously injured. This is not supporting the troops, it is exploiting them.
It is not supporting the troops to equip them with depleted uranium munitions. It is not supporting the troops to deny them proper medical care for their exposure to depleted uranium. It is not supporting the troops to deny the troops the scientific research necessary to prove the grievous danger they are exposed to in this regard.
Declaring as president that you will "rid the world of tyranny" is not supporting the troops. Most troops join the military in order to make a decent living while defending America. Ridding the world of tyrants is not synonymous with defending America, and inconsistency in doing so is also not supportive of our troops. If we truly want to rid the world of tyranny, while supporting the troops, why not start by influencing our allies to give up tyranny WITHOUT use of our troops, starting with Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, even Kuwait — which is still far from a democracy years after we saved the corrupt leadership of that society.
We should support our troops by ending warmongering. Death in the interests of constructing or defending empire is not noble. It is utter nonsense to say that most recent American military deaths were necessary to preserve American freedoms. No nation or nations on this planet is now threatening our freedoms. Iraq was not, is not, nor never could be a threat to American freedoms.
Supporting our troops means using them only when necessary, only where necessary, and only in the interest of legitimate national defense. Supporting the troops means using them in a way that honors America and honors democracy, not degrading America. Supporting the troops means protecting them from harm, not sending them into harm’s way on missions of malice in the interests of financial exploitation of other nations for the purpose of expanding empire.
Those Americans who yell loudest about supporting the troops tend to be the very gravest threats to our military. Tossing the troops into the meat grinder of Iraq is hardly supporting them. Sending National Guard troops on convoys in Iraq with inadequate armor is contemptuous of the value of their very lives.
Bring the boys (and girls) home now! Support the troops by stopping the warmongering.