Finally! Some Honesty on the Left!
They feel they must say this because the majority of Americans would find any other position unacceptable. Indeed, for most liberals, the thought that they really do not support the troops is unacceptable even to them.
Lest this argument be dismissed as an attack on leftist Americans' patriotism, let it be clear that leftists' patriotism is not the issue here. Their honesty is.
There's been some heated exchanges since the war began, on what exactly it means to "support the troops". I'm still conflicted on it. I think some who opposed the war, do behave in a manner that is still supportive of the troops; but that the majority do more to harm; and that they are contradictory when they say "I support the troops, but not the mission." I think "supporting the troops" equates to supporting whatever means necessary to insure their victory as well as hoping for their safe return.
Certainly, dissent is a big part of what it means to be an American with the freedom to express your views. But what I find troublesome is in how people sometimes express their dissent. Is it really appropriate for Congressmen to call our President a liar? To compare a military detention center to Soviet Gulags, Nazi camps, and Pol Pot's regime? How is that "supporting the troops" for our Congressional leadership to bloviate irresponsible accusations out onto the Senate floor, in front of the whole world, where Dick Durbin's statements get top of the news billing on al Jazeera news for a couple of weeks, straight? And those on the Left take offense to be labeled "Defeatocrats" and defeatists? Do they honestly believe that what someone like Durbin said will insure victory in Iraq? That it helps the job of our troops by inflaming the Middle East with falsehoods against our own military? Protests before the war....fine. Public anti-war protests during wartime...that bothers me. Why? Because, like it or not, whether you admit honestly to it or continue deceiving your conscience to it, mass demonstrations and making a spectacle of your views in such a way as to gain worldwide attention, does give aid and comfort to the enemy. Let's be honest about it. How can it not? How can anyone honestly deny that Osama bin Laden's recent audio release does not sound a lot like Democratic talking points? I hear those on the Left warn, "Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them...". Apparently, those of Jane Fonda's generation and ilk came away from the Vietnam experience, learning all the wrong lessons. We know today, from the North Vietnamese leadership themselves, that they were defeated militarily; but they hung in there, because they saw that they were winning the propaganda war, thanks to OUR media, and the coverage of the anti-war movement. And what was the result of our pulling out of Vietnam and abandoning our allies in the South? Peace? Yeah, right. Peace activists really know the meaning of it, don't they? They never think about the actual consequences and domino effects of their actions: hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese incarcerated in camps, millions driven into exile; at least a couple of million Cambodians slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge.
Pacifism creates violence and wars as much as anything else ever has. The pacifists like to hold up images of babies killed from U.S. bombs. Where were they when Saddam for the past few decades caused the deaths of many times more in innocent men, women, and children lives? And if they had their way, how many more decades of the cruelty, the torture, and the murders would they have put up with? And after Saddam's reign...another generation of it, under his sons' rule? And there is no question that Saddam's regime sought possession of those weapons we failed to find. In a nuclear age, we cannot afford to wait until the threat becomes imminent. By then, it is too late to act.
Those against this war need to take a long hard stare at their conscience, and ask themselves how their actions are helping our soldiers, morale-wise and victory-wise.
What brought on this little rant was an article in today's Los Angeles Times, by Joel Stein, a man of the Left. his whole piece is chock full of things I disagree with; but...at least he is honest with himself:
I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.
I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.
And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.
But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.
Hat tip to Dennis Prager for talking about this article.
For opposing views on Prager's own article back in July of 2005, see:
Prager Lies Again
Why We All Hate the Troops at One Point or Other
Rosemary posted on the substance of Joel Stein's opinion, itself; and she alerts me to the fact that Hugh Hewitt interviewed him on air today. Transcript and audio can be found at Radioblogger.
Flopping Aces has a roundup of others blogging on this, as well as venting himself.