Well. It would seem I struck a pretty sensitive nerve yesterday with a short little throwaway post deriding the anti-military Left. Lots of Lefties these days seem to want to be thought of as being supportive of the American military while not at all supporting the mission in which they are engaged (a pretty tough position to maintain, if you ask me, but that’s a topic for another day), and I’m sure some few of them are actually well-meaning and sincere about it. But color me unconvinced, by and large. And someone named Will Pitt went to the trouble to post a rebuttal, which manages to be both pretty well-written and completely, utterly wrong, laboring as it does under the weight of some of the more egregious flaws in Lefty thinking. This excerpt sums it up well enough:
The larger issue here, however, isn’t about kids asking soldiers about dead civilians and smashed mosques. It’s about yet another conservative writer wrapping himself in the flag while denouncing his political opposites for failing to ‘support the troops.’ This nonsense has gone on long enough.
…When we invade a nation on false pretenses, something has gone wrong. When an American administration frightens its own people into supporting an unnecessary war with images of mushroom clouds and poison gas, something has gone wrong. When that war is unfurled with too few troops, too little money and not enough international support, something has gone wrong. When we ‘go small’ into that war to avoid offending neighboring Saudi Arabia, something has gone wrong. When the soldiers are not given the necessary armor, something has gone wrong. When the rhetoric about Iraq being a bastion of terrorists is proven false, but the invasion itself helps create that bastion of terrorism, something has gone wrong. When we get into the international torture business, and bring that torture home to our own soil, something has gone wrong. When seemingly smart people cannot see the forest for the trees in this matter, something has gone wrong. When our national media establishment refuses to discuss these matters, something has gone wrong.
Mike and his friends would do well to leave the ‘Liberals don’t support the troops’ rhetoric at the door. It’s divisive, misleading, flat wrong and bluntly insulting. The mother of Evan Ashcraft supports the troops, thinks the war is wrong, and wants the troops brought home. Her feelings are shared by millions.
When you don the uniform of the United States military and raise your hand to take the oath, you are promising to give your life in defense of your home and family. A promise is made in return: The government commanding you and your fellow soldiers will not spend your life to no gain, will not waste your blood in an unnecessary exercise. That promise has been broken, and I can think of no better way to support the troops who made their promise than by pointing out the fact that this government broke its promise.
Support the troops. Bring them home. Alive.
Well, he got exactly one thing right: this nonsense has gone on quite long enough, indeed. But my definition of nonsense and Will’s greatly differ, and his “support” for American soldiers is as thin and transparent as his hatred of Bush is calcified and obvious. And the Left’s hatred for Bush specifically and the Republicans generally is still the pig at the party, no matter how nice the dress they try to wrap it in.
Will bluntly asserts his opinion that we invaded a nation on false pretenses as if it were universally accepted fact when it is anything but, and builds a veritable high-rise of cards on that shaky foundation. He complains about going to war with “too few troops,” never acknowledging that the blame for that rests not with Bush but with a belligerent and uncooperative NATO “ally” — one of those precious-to-liberals “allies” who remain so only as long as we subjugate American interests to their own. He gripes about soldiers not having the necessary armor, but I very much doubt if he was complaining about that back when Clinton was dismantling the strong military that had taken Reagan years to build. The armor flap was never anything but another Lefty fig leaf anyway; I wrote about that here plenty already. The rhetoric about Saddam’s Iraq being a bastion of terrorists has not been proven false; to the contrary, it was perfectly true, and only a fool or a liar would assert that it wasn’t — it’s just that it’s important to the Left to make frog-hair-fine distinctions between groups of Islamist terrorists, distinctions that the terrorists themselves don’t much bother with. He conflates “abuse” with “torture,” as is usual for these handwringers — not to excuse the Abu Ghraib abuse, naturally, but this kind of overwrought exaggeration doesn’t exactly help make his case. And possibly the most hallucinatory statement of all: the national media establishment “refuses to discuss these matters”? You’re joking, right? You must be joking. Many of us have been complaining for a long while now because they absolutely refuse to discuss anything else.
Sorry, Will, but you’re viewing things via the same old Left/liberal/Bush-hater lens you no doubt were before the Iraq campaign, and unfortunately you went for the wraparound style of ideological blinders rather than the Wayfarers or KD’s and so can’t see anything except by looking straight through that distorted filter; to make the assumptions you make about the Bush “deception” requires nothing less. You are aware, aren’t you, that Clinton and his entire foreign policy apparatus (and the UN, and the rest of the free world) looked at the same intelligence Bush did, reached the same conclusion, and made regime change the official US policy vis á vis Iraq back in ’98? Was Clinton lying about Saddam too? Was UNSCOM, when they repeatedly complained (over the course of more than a decade) about Saddam’s defiant noncompliance with a dozen and a half UN resolutions and the danger it represented? Is your quarrel with Bush primarily that he actually did something to try to solve a generally-acknowledged problem besides merely bluster and threaten?
The Dems/Left/whatever have lost three elections in the last five years and can’t seem to honestly acknowledge it yet (oh, sorry; those elections were all “stolen,” right?); we’ve already effectively won the war in Iraq, yet they still are interested only in finding somebody to surrender to. And Will concludes his opinions-as-facts diatribe with the contemptibly quisling statement: “Support the troops. Bring them home. Alive.” Alive…and honor and achievement — and success and victory — be damned, eh? You may be able to live without those things, Will, but for the soldiers I know, and I know plenty of them, life without them isn’t any kind of life at all. Deny a warrior his sense of honor and pride in a job well done and you’ve done much worse than kill him. There are worse things than death, as alien a concept as that may be to you.
What Will considers “support” is actually nothing more than patronizing condescension. It’s the same old liberal victimology dressed up as compassion and concern, and it’s nothing but a pretty pot of poison. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of soldiers are way too smart to be suckered by crocodile tears such as these. A true warrior – a breed most of the Left neither admires nor remotely comprehends — would be gravely insulted by Will’s characterization of them all as hapless victims of an evil or inept President, and rightly so, considering that somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of them voted for the guy.
And hapless victims is exactly how he thinks of them. Consider the idea that underlies all this pretend “concern.” Will is dead certain that we’ve all been lied to. The troops have been committed to fight and die in a pointless, unjust, and poorly-run war. We’ll leave aside for now that Will and the gang expect Bush to be the first world leader ever to run a perfect war, and we’ll leave aside the part their kneejerk opposition has played in knocking that perfect-war strategery off the rails.
Because Will has a bigger problem, as does the rest of the Left, and it’s one they’re all quite familiar with: the troops just happen to disagree with that assessment, and by a very large margin. That can only mean one of two things: either Will is wrong, or the troops are. Will is pretty damned sure he’s right. Ergo, the troops are either ill- or misinformed, or they’re just downright stupid, although I’d bet Will would rather euphemize that somehow, in order to better conceal the snide insolence at its core; call it “easily led” instead. Either way, they’ve been duped. They’re victims of the E-ville Shrubco’s deception campaign. And the fact that Will says so with love in his heart doesn’t make it any less of an insult.
He can’t reexamine his premises because…well, he just can’t. His premises are pretty flimsy, based as they are on unreasoning hatred and tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories that used to branch and fork across the open skies of the American intellectual landscape like heat lightning, but for the most part were confined to the darker and wilder districts until the Internet came along. They don’t stand up under close examination, and I say that as someone who’s spent a good part of my life closely examining them. The evidence for these premises usually turns out to have been forged, exaggerated, or based on feverish wishful thinking. No, it simply has to be the rest of the country, and in this case our soldiers, who are wrong. Bush lied, people died! and No blood for oil! just doesn’t allow for much in the way of rational, intelligent discourse. Might as well just tack Fox Mulder’s old “The truth is out there” poster on the wall and call it done. But even Mulder underestimated just how far out there “the truth” was going to turn out to be.
And yet Will is firmly convinced that he’s the one who really, truly “supports the troops.” Support them, hell; he doesn’t even respect them. It’s kind of hard to credibly claim you “support” some group or other when you’re sneering down your nose at them, or pitying their shameful ignorance.
But tell me, does the arrogance of that approach sound at all familiar? It should by now; we’ve heard plenty of it over the years, and the latest incarnation (besides Will’s, I mean) surfaced just after the ’04 election, with the phrase “they (meaning red-state Americans) voted against their own best interests.”
Well, thanks a lot for coming down from the mountaintop to render that enlightened judgment, fellas. And I’se sho’ the soldiers would want to thanks you too for not laughing right out loud at they po’ ign’ant selfs, Marse Will. I take that tone advisedly; liberal condescension reminds me of nothing so much as the old slave-owner’s rationalization that the Negro actually needed slavery because without it, he was too darn stupid to be counted on to come in out of the rain. The difference between that attitude and the one these Lefties are taking with soldiers — and anybody notice how often they refer to these mostly in-their-20s men and women as “kids” or “children,” by the way? — is one only of degree.
And now to the point about all this being divisive. I’ve said many times that I find it highly amusing that immediately after losing an election (or, at this point, several in a row), the Dems/LLL/whatever can always be relied upon to begin bleating about how awful “divisiveness” is and how desperately the country needs more “bipartisanship” and a “dialogue” and “communication” and “unity” and all that other meaningless rebop that adds up to “let’s all pretend we didn’t lose, okay?”
Translation: the libs are losing, and they don’t know when or even if they’ll ever start winning again, and they’re frightened by what that might mean — and it all rings pretty goddamned hollow coming from people who, the week before the votes were cast and counted, were calling everyone who dared to even consider voting Republican either a Nazi or a moron, and have done for more than thirty years now. Sorry, Will, but once again I must say that I remain unconvinced. Maybe y’all should’ve thought a bit more about being “uniters not dividers” back when you and your left-wing pals were blocking the streets of major American cities back before the Iraq war, vandalizing cars that dared to display Bush-Cheney stickers, seriously trying to claim that “Bush knew” in advance about 9/11 (or calling it an “interesting idea” a lá Howie Dean), and painting swastikas over the stars and stripes. Most liberals will tell you that they themselves weren’t out there doing that sort of thing, but somebody sure was, and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t the local chapter of the Young Republicans — or, as they’re known in left-wing parlance, the Hitler J?ɬ�gend.
Time was I would concern myself a good bit with trying to find common ground with some of the people who disagree with me, and I still do, actually. But not quite so much these days, I fear. I’m getting a little tired of making excuses to myself for people who would rather give a monster like Saddam the benefit of the doubt than our own President, frankly. But certain things will always hold true here for as long as I keep doing this blogging thing. If people come into this abbatoir and treat with me with a modicum of simple respect, I’ll do the same with them. If they call me names, I’ll call them worse ones. If they say something that for some reason, fair or unfair, just strikes me wrong, I might go off on the most vulgar tirade I can summon — or I might just say nothing at all about it. I don’t take great pains to moderate the comments here and am content to let them remain pretty much a wide-open brawl, because I figure we’re all big boys and girls and we can take a little verbal roughhousing without making too much fuss about it or taking any of it too seriously.
There have been many liberal commenters here who, while I’ve argued my point with them vigorously and passionately and they’ve done likewise, I could sit down at the end of a long day to a beer and a smoke with and actually enjoy it. Well, assuming they weren’t of the antismoking-zealot branch of liberalism, that is. Likewise, there have been others who I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on if they were on fire.
But I’ll just be damned if I’m going to soft-pedal my rhetoric or back off one inch on beliefs that I hold dear and have arrived at after years of careful reflection and take at least somewhat seriously, just because the Dems lost another election and have now decided we all ought to play nice until they can contrive to win one again. I’m going to call a spade a spade and a Loon a Loon, just as always. I’ll be nice and respectful to you if I think you’ve earned it. I won’t otherwise. I don’t expect any more or any less from anybody else. My idea is this: we’ll each of us argue our side just as forcefully and as honestly as we can, and in the end we’ll let the people decide who’s right. But, see, that’s the whole problem:
In the end, the Left just can’t afford that. Because every third word out of their own mouths betrays a certain home truth: they just don’t trust the people to be capable of deciding intelligently. They just might slip up and “vote against their own best interests,” after all. Just like a majority of us did in the last election; just like a majority of soldiers are doing now, with their devotion to duty, their overwhelming support of the current President, and their dedication to finishing the job they started in Iraq. There are of course exceptions, perhaps even more of them than I think, but by and large the Left pretends to support the military just like they pretend to support the ordinary American working stiff: from a distance, and holding their noses.
And they wonder why they keep right on losing.