Thursday, April 27, 2006

But They Support the Troops...

Just ask the ROTC guys at UNC-Chapel Hill who had their building vandalized. Do these idiots not understand that no one is making them "Fight Your Wars"? They ought to just be grateful those fine volunteers are, in fact, volunteering so there isn't a draft.

As a former ROTC Midshipmen, I hope they find these guys and choke them. In the Vietnam era, there were a lot of arson attempts on ROTC buildings. Someone will get hurt if this isn't stopped.

But they're all about peace and free speech. And oh, yeah - they support the troops, just not Bush and the war.

H/T Michelle Malkin.


Lantern said...

You throw the word "they" aorund like it has some kind of inherent specificity. Who are "they"? Simply the people you hope get "choked"?

I'm not persuaded by your logic regarding the so called impossible position of being against the war but for our troops.

Think of it this way: your brother's friend has just started a fight at a bar; your brother steps in to protect him, seeing it as his duty, and he gets beaten up. It turns out later that your brother's friend started it all based on a mistake. Your brother's having stepped in is still a noble act, having shown loyalty and courage to protect a friend. However, the friend's mistake (even stupidity or misguided machismo) is no less a mistake...

Cato said...

I totally dig that. Well stated. Orrin, pretend I used this analogy last time we argued about this.

Orrin Johnson said...

"They" refers to these violent vandals, and the people who aren't outraged by it. Lantern, I hope that's not you. Imagine if KKK grafitti was found on the building where an "African American Studies" class was being taught. The protests would be legion, and it would be used as "proof" of what a racist society we still are. Bush would be blamed. I wouldn't see it as proof of a racist society, but I would be viscerally angered by such slurs, and would want to choke (and worse) the criminals who did it. (And frankly, if there was NO outrage of any kind expressed by most of the students, I probably WOULD conclude we were a more racist society than I'd hoped.)

But here? Nope. There's obligatory cluck-clucking that this was the "wrong way to express these otherwise correct views", followed IMMEDIATELY by condemnation of the war, and an "understanding" of how frustrated the "protesters" must be because they "haven't broken through the right-wing noise machine." I haven't even heard any frustrated and angry, "you jerks hurt our election chances by making us all look bad!" outrage.

I can tell you, it's a scary to see this kind of thing. Most ROTC students during Vietnam didn't wear their uniforms on campus as they do now for fear of harassment and violence. And the fear was real and justified. The University of Minnestoa saw violent protests, multiple arson attempts, and an attempt by thousands of angry hippies to "occupy" the Armory building after the local recruiting offices were smashed up. In the 90s, all I got was dirty looks, although a few friends got called baby killers. But now it looks like the anti-war zealots have stepped it up again. And the response from the "anti-war-but-paternalistically-supporting-the-troops" crowd is conspicuously quiet.

Your analogy is incomplete, and thus flawed. Say your brother later says, "I'm still glad I stepped in - it was the right thing to do. The mistake my friend made was that he overheard the guy talking about raping a girl he thought was HIS sister, but was actually someone else's sister. And we now know he hoped to rape HIS sister later if he got the chance. This mistake doesn't change the fact that the guy he fought was a bad guy, and would have harmed him, someone's sister, or someone else the next night. I'm proud of what I did, and I proudly support my friend, despite whatever mistakes he made. And knowing what I know now, I'd do it again. In fact, as soon as I get out of the hospital, I want to go back to the bar and fight him again."

Do you still support him? Should you?

Now, let's PROPERLY apply this analogy to this attack on the ROTC students (which, make no mistake, is what this was). Say a third friend of your brother, KNOWING the original fighter was mistaken, STILL decides to step in because he thinks no women are safe while the bad guy is still running lose. He goes to the guy's house later and beats him up, finds a rape room, and because of his actions, they guy is now finally on trial.

Do you support HIM? Should you?

Every current ROTC student has had a chance to consider all the facts, and knows they will in all likelihood go to fight "Bush's War". They aren't being tricked into anything. They are bright and motivated, and they have other options to pay for college besides the military. In fact, they have competed mightily in many cases for a very competitive scholarship. Many of them are enlisted veterans who have been on the ground and know EXACTLY what they're getting into. But yet they CHOOSE to serve, to fight, to kill terrorists. They probably even voted for Bush. They have moral culpability in this choice.

I understsand the position where there is a draft, or even in 2002 when people could reasonably say they didn't expect Iraq. But the majority of active duty people right now made a choice to extend their enlistments or otherwise continue to serve AFTER OIF began, and many did so AFTER the final WMD report came out. To not assign them any responsibility for their actions is to assume they are too dumb to make their own choices, and says, "I know what's good for your life, soldier, better than you do. You're too ignorant to make a rational choice, or to know Bushitler is lying to you, and therefore you need me an Cindy Sheehan to tell you what's good for you."

If you say, "well, the soldiers need the money," then you are excusing participation in what you think is an immoral, illegal, and unjust escalation of world violence for money. I've seen too much condemnation of "corporations" with military contracts to think this is excused by the anti-war crowd.

If you don't understand how this is insulting and just plain dumb, then you haven't met enough military people.

Orrin Johnson said...

No sooner did I hit "publish" on that than I saw that these anti-war *&@$^*&s are at my alma mater hitting way too close to home.

I defy anyone to explain to me how these people support the troops but not the war. Recruiters and ROTC cadets are troops, too.

SirWhoopass said...

Where did any of those protesters claim to "support the troops"?

To assume that all anti-war protesters "support the troops but not the war" is an absurd simplification. I have no doubt that there are a number of people who are opposed to the war and, at the same time, disgusted by the actions taken by these protesters.

Orrin Johnson said...

One of the Minneapolis protesters talked about protecting the poor and minorities tricked by the recruiters, which is another common and false canard you see on the most militant leaflets and picket signs. Then there's the ubiquitous, "Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home Now!" signs at these rallies.

I've not seen one yet that says, "Troops are baby killers," or "You deserve what you get, troops" except from those disgusting "God Hates Fags" idiots.

For the Minneapolis vandals, the three groups involved were Youth Against War and Racism, The U of M Anti-War Organizing League, and Socialist Alternative. All of them claim to be, in some fashion, speaking out for the troops, or at least the "poor" ones who are part of the "Poverty draft."

And here's the other thing - on some level, the anti-war people are rooting for failure. Their stated goals are for us to leave immediately and withdraw back behind our own borders. I think it's tough to be "for" soldiers volunteering to put their life on the line for a cause one thinks is unjust, illegal, and immoral. It's also tough to be "for" the troops fighting when you're simultaneously working hard to deny them funding and additional personnel that will make their job safer and easier, as these people are overtly attempting to do. Rooting for someone to fail and denying them the tools of success is hardly what I would consider a show of support.

That's different from the people who think the war was/is a bad idea, and that it's being run poorly, but want to win it now that we're there, and have any kind of better/alternative proposal on how to fight and win the war more effectively. Then the stances can easily be reconciled. (For example, I thought the Iraqi sactions in the late 90s was a manifestly dumb policy, but I worked very aggressively trying to make them work. The CinC, with more access to information than I had, made a legal policy decision, and I was aggressively excecuting his plan.) But it seems to me that position is in shamefully short supply amongst Bush's political enemies.

I'm sure there are people opposed to the war who are disgusted by these actions, as you say. But they're awfully, awfully quiet, and whatever condemnation may exist is usually followed by a "but..." I'd love to read The Minnesota Daily's condemnation of this "protest" from their editorial staff, but I won't hold my breath.

Once again: My position is NOT that ALL anti-Iraq War people MUST be anti-ALL members of the military. My position is that IF you think that the war is not just bad policy, but is in fact immoral and illegal, then you cannot SUPPORT people who VOLUNTEERED to go fight that allegedly immoral war AFTER whatever reason you think the war is immoral became public.

PubliusRex said...

I agree that it is not a 100% true fact that these people would say that they "support the troops." However, it is probably a 99.9% chance that they would say so. Very few americans, even the most left wing socialist-communist among us would say, "I do not support the troops."

However, neither they nor the American left, as a general matter, support the troops. Most of the American left favors immediate withdrawal from Iraq. That's a losing result. None of these people support the troops because you cannot support someone by hoping that that which they are sacrificing for is thwarted.

The friend/fight example is inapposite. First because it rests on a faulty premise, i.e. that the fight was a mistake. Furthermore, while it can be argued that the passive friend has not made a mistake, it cannot be said that he is "supporting" his fighting friend. But even humoring that premise and setting aside the other problem, the analogy still fails since the role of the friend in the fight and that of the American left are not comparable. In the analogy, the friend is passive. In the Iraq situation, the American left is rooting for the defeat of American troops/or at least an outcome that will be a resounding defeat.

SirWhoopass said...

I still reject the notion that one cannot oppose the war or favor a withdrawl and not "support the troops". I also reject the implication that anyone who enlisted or reenlisted in the past three years has "volunteered" to fight in Iraq.

Certainly there is a high likelyhood of going to Iraq or Afghanistan for anyone enlisting. It is not, I argue, the same as a desire to do so. The US military has a wide range of operations, it isn't like volunteering for the Abraham Lincoln Bridge. With over 2 million personnel, less than 7% are in Iraq.

Perhaps the "support the troops" notion is being over-stretched. Must one blindly support every operation and every singe budgetary request to support the troops?

To put it another way, I know a number of people currently in the US military. They have been in, or are in, Iraq. The have reenlisted within the last three years. And they believe that Iraq is a pointless, hopeless cause. They believe we are in the middle of a civil war that we cannot possibly win. They would be in favor of a withdrawl. Do these members of the US military not "support the troops"?

PubliusRex said...

American troops are working towards securing Iraq. If you favor pullout, you are working against securing Iraq. You cannot support someone and work against that which they are trying to accomplish.

I'm fine if the left says, "we don't want the troops to be killed" or "we support bringing the troops home." But they do not "support the troops." Indeed, they're at odds with them.

Orrin Johnson said...

SW, I think you're painting my position more broadly than I've stated here.

If they beleive it's a hopeless cause, no - you can think that and still "support the troops". But if they believe it's an immoral cause, they shouldn't have re-upped. That's my distinction, and it's an important one.

I thought the oil-for-food sanction regime against Iraq and the means by which we enforced it was dumb, ill-conceived, needlessly dangerous, hopeless, counter-productive, etc. Not only was the plan poorly wrought, it was executed half-assedly under the auspices of an organization KNOWN to be corrupt.

But I didn't WANT it to fail. I WANTED it to succeed, and volunteered to participate in the effort, despite all of my misgivings - on part because I believed the policy goals were so important. I doubt that any military member is rooting for failure in Iraq, and I think to a person they would be as estatic and as proud as anyone if five years from now they're proven wrong. And I think they, more than anyone, would be terribly, terribly disapointed if it indeed does fail.

If an Iraq vet feels that way about Iraq, good. Hell, if ANYONE feels that way about Iraq, good. It's a completely legitimate point of view, even if I disagree with it, and there's nothing about that view inconsistent with general support for people in uniform executing the policy. I don't even think there's anything wrong with advocating a strategic withdrawal, as long it's only that and not a full retreat/surrender.

But that's NOT the argument from those protesters, or from the hard core anti-war left so ubiquitous here in Seattle. The argument is that it's an illegal and immoral war that we were lied into undertaking in order to line Bush's cronies' pockets. They WANT the effort there to fail, because they're more interested in being able to say "I told you so" and having Bush look bad than in the real hope for a lasting solution to the problems in the Middle East. And every protest they do gets broadcast on al Jazzera, and makes it more likely that we WILL fail, because it plays into the ONLY strategy the enemy has that has any hope of succeeding.

IF and ONLY IF that's your position, you cannot honestly or consistently support the troops who volunteer. Otherwise, I completely agree you can think it's a dumb policy and still fully support the people fighting for it. But as soon as you stop wanting them to succeed, or lobby to prevent them from obtaining resources (by cutting funding, restricting recruiters, etc., which is EXACTLY what these jerks are doing), you're anti-volunteer-troop.

SirWhoopass said...

Orrin, I take your point about the illegal/immoral stance. Publis' argument seems to be broader.

I think anyone can "support the troops" and still hold the view that the invasion was a bad idea or that a continued presence is a bad idea. I know many troops who hold that view. That doesn't mean they don't do their job or want to fail.

The "cutting funding" remark I would take issue with. Military spending, like education, can easily become a bottomless pit. No amount of money is enough, and questioning a budgetry item makes one "against the troops" (or against the children).

I think it is perfectly valid for any citizen to question federal budgetary items. After all, we're paying for them.

Certainly, there are people who would favor cutting the military to the point of collapse. That is, however, a tiny, radical fringe.

Orrin Johnson said...

OK, good. That distinction is important. And I think the "war is a bad idea" people YOU hang out with are a profoundly different kind of folks than the "Bush's illegal and immoral war" people that litter the discourse out here.

And you're right about the military budget, and I love there's several procedures in place to methodically re-assess military spending (BRAC, QDR, etc.) But again, these groups who attack recruiters and ROTC units make very clear they want to cut military funding to the point of ruin so they can pay for socialist programs. And those are the people I'm focused on.