Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

An American antiwar coward comes to his senses

Thirty years late, but better late than never.

(Via DocSan)

Update! Related:

Defensive rationalizations and intellectualizations are used to keep us from knowing uncomfortable things about ourselves. In the 1960s, in order to avoid any feelings of fear and attendant anxiety over masculinity, the war effort needed to be demonized. The original idea of “speaking truth to power” required minimal bravery. The level of danger the anti-war protesters faced was a tiny fraction of the real danger truly brave people living under brutal governments faced in Eastern Europe, or that our military men faced in Southeast Asia. Yet in order to avoid feeling scared, the war protesters needed to see themselves as bravely facing a quasi-fascist regime (LBJ and then Nixon); our protests were heroic efforts to establish and support peace and justice. In reality , the protests were nothing of the sort and millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians paid the price of our rationalizations. By demonizing the war as based on lies, immoral, imperialistic, etc (which all had a grain of truth but were clearly exaggerations and hardly the exclusive reasons for our involvement in Vietnam) the logic of our defensive edifice required the eventual cut-off of funds to the South Vietnamese, who until the military aid cut-off were more than holding their own.

We see the same need to rationalize today in Iraq. The anti-war movement, as if to re-confirm their essential morality and bravery, continue to “speak truth to power” at no real risk to themselves. In order to avoid the deeply hidden questions, maintain consistency in their rationalizations, and continue to retroactively justify their anti-Vietnam War beliefs, the anti-War campaigners are willing to once again abandon people who trusted us. Millions of Iraqis will be killed but they will feel morally superior and will continue to support the edifice of rationalizations that have sustained their image of themselves as brave rebels since the glory days of the 1960s.

I’d bet that this projection thing accounts for the spluttering, outraged “chickenhawk” assertions from a lot of these yellow-bellied blowhards, too.

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4 thoughts on “An American antiwar coward comes to his senses

  1. So I guess we should set our watches to 2036 and expect the heartfelt apologies of Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore (yeah – like he’ll still be around), Noam Chomsky, et al?

    I ain’t holding my breath.

  2. Martin, I know you’re a vet too. Do you get an almost physical feeling of revulsion reading about Conroy and his protesting buddies? I get the same thing talking to a lot of leftists. It’s gotten to the point I just won’t talk to anybody who starts the anti-war crap. Ocasionally you run across somebody with a decently grounded opinion, they’re worth listening to. But for the most part, they’re just infantile ranters, and the agenda is Out of Iraq Today, Out of Afghanistan Tomorrow. Their trust in their own beliefs – that Iran doesn’t mean what it says about nuking us, that AQ doesn’t mean what it says about planning on wiping us out, that Hezbollah is joking when it says it will kill us wherever it finds us, and most of all that if we retract into the fetal position, that we’ll then be safe – their trust in these beliefs is staggeringly insane. I believe they are a threat to all of us and to a lot of unsuspecting people who shrug their shoulders and go, “well, it’s just politics.” Yep, usually marginal tax rate questions, trade and tarrifs, and fiscal policy questions are correctly described that way; but our survival is tied up in this GWOT thing, and the utter inability of the left (and a major chunk of the paleo-right) to take seriously the threat sickens me. And it’s not Chomsky and Sheehan, it’s a few tens of millions of people who seem outwardly much more reasonable, but who are possessed of the same infirmity of comprehension that strikes the notable ones in the anti-war ranks.

  3. Well, better late than never I suppose, to realize ones mistakes. It would certainly be nice however, if the rhetoric on Iraq would change. It’s not particularly helpful at this point. With Murtha wounded, and Rangel seemingly drunk all the time, I’m not holding my breath, though. Maybe these Blue dog Dims can reign in the hard lefties and actually “return the civility” that’s been promised. Once again, not holding my breath.

  4. Adams discusses Boomers with Thomas Jefferson:

    “Will you tell me how to prevent riches from being the effects of temperance and industry? Will you tell me how to prevent riches from producing luxury? Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice, folly and Abbie Hoffman?”

    Conroy’s piece reminds me of P.J. O’Rourke’s wea culpa:

    “Like many men of my generation, I had an opportunity to give war a chance, and I promptly chickened out. I went to my draft physical in 1970 with a doctor’s letter about my history of drug abuse. The letter was four and a half pages long with three and a half pages devoted to listing the drugs I’d abused. I was shunted into the office of an Army psychiatrist who, at the end of a forty-five minute interview with me, was pounding his desk and shouting, “You’re fucked up! You don’t belong in the Army!” He was certainly right on the first count and possibly right on the second. Anyway, I didn’t have to go. But that, of course, meant someone else had to go in my place. I would like to dedicate this book to him.

    I hope you got back in one piece, fellow. I hope you were more use to your platoon mates than I would have been. I hope you’re rich and happy now. And in 1971, when somebody punched me in the face for being a long-haired peace creep, I hope it was you.”

    Daniel Webster once said “No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and constitution of his country.”

    Conroy goes even farther: “I have come to a conclusion about my country that I knew then in my bones but lacked the courage to act on: America is good enough to die for even when she is wrong.”

    Wow. And he’s right, of course.

    The other day, I heard John Fogerty sing ‘Fortunate Son’, his ‘Nam-era anti-war anthem. There is some truth (but some falsity) in his indictment of privilege, but he misses an essential point: just to be alive and living in America today makes us all fortunate sons.

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