I do not appreciate and support all of Our Troops™.
I do appreciate veterans of WWI and WWII, who truly helped keep us free. My mother's father saw action as a Navy marksman in WWI. My father's older brother enlisted in the Navy hoping to fight the Germans, so they sent him to some remote island in the Pacific to load bombs and torpedoes onto planes and ships. My mother's sister's husband I am inordinately proud of, Uncle Dave left a lucrative job as a shipyard welder to join the army and fight the Germans. He was a combat engineer, building bridges ahead of the main army, often under fire. I can't remember if he fought Germans, but he did help liberate Anzio in Italy, which IMHO is just as good.
Anyone who fought to contain the dictators of the word gets my thanks.
After that, though, things get iffy. Fighting to keep South Korea free did not exactly keep America free. It kept Korea safe for Hyndai and Samsung. Most of the people who enlisted for that war were probably doing it for the GI Bill benefits. I know one Korean businessman who earned a US citizenship by enlisting in that war. He moved his business back to Korea about 10 years ago, taking 500 jobs with it.
Vietnam was about the same, except there was a massive draft which slurped up way too many young men who had no choice in the matter. Those soldiers did nothing which protected my freedom. Uncle Ho had no desire to conquer America. I feel very sad for those who had to fight there, and even more for those who had to die there. In college I hung out with a Vietnam vet who was a talented linguist, they taught him Vietnamese. At the U he was studying Arabic, and had translated Winnie The Pooh into Latin. And he joined us on every anti-war march.
None of the NATO wars protected our freedom.
The first Gulf War didn't help keep us free, but it did return Kuwait to the people Britain gave it to when they stole it from Iraq. They had lots of oil and they owed it all to the West.
By this time we had an all-volunteer army. A lot of people signed up for the educational benefits, when very few Americans were being sent into battle, but somewhere along the way Bush Jr. decided he needed to finish what Dad had not - and go after Saddam. I don't support at all the people who volunteered to join this fight, or Obama's war in Afghanistan.
I am angry that National Guard troops are being sent into combat when we need them here. And the reserves as well.
What about me? I protested the Vietnam War in college, helped take over the campus radio station, covered the marches for the student newspaper, helped kick ROTC off campus. By that time there was no student deferment, and I was eligible for the draft. But a year before I turned 19 they changed the rules and went to a lottery system. The lottery number which corresponded to my birthday was something like 363, which meant I was not going to be drafted.
I did serve for 2+ years in the Peace Corps, which also by then was neither a deferment nor credited as alternate service. All I got out of that was a year of use it or lose it Federal job seniority, but the only Federal jobs I was interested in had CIA ties, and Peace Corps volunteers had to wait 5 years before applying for those. Point is, I didn't join the Peace Corps to get counted as any kind of veteran.
There are brave people in the military performing heroic feats of arms overseas, but nothing they are doing is protecting my freedom. They are helping make the US the most hated "democracy" in the world, and running up the national debt. We need them all home, building a stronger country.