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« I (half) apologize to Kuwait | Main | Cindy Sheehan: Clinton killed more Iraqis than Bush »

January 25, 2006

Comments

jj mollo

Joel">http://www.time.com/time/columnist/stein/article/0,9565,494014,00.html">Joel Stein is a humorist with Time Magazine. He's a little more serious than Dave Barry, but not as deep.

You shouldn't be specifically offended by what he says here. The term "support the troops" is pretty vague and almost meaningless. Some people want it to mean "support the war". Other people think it means something about yellow ribbons. What it should mean is that we will take every effort to keep them alive and help them out after they get home. Whether the war is right or wrong, we should respect their service and try to compensate our all our service personnel fairly.

Stein is basically saying three things that are each debatable, but separable. 1) The war in Iraq is wrong strategically. 2) The war in Iraq is wrong morally. 3) The soldiers in Iraq are morally responsible for the death and destruction they cause.

You and I would disagree adamantly with the first two points, but I don't know about the third. The trials after WWII pretty much eliminated the concept that soldiers are not answerable for their actions. "Following orders", is not enough. Soldiers typically have a lot of leeway in their day-to-day, minute-to-minute choices. Some shoot at everything that moves; some don't ever fire their guns.

Today's military is, IMO, a moral machine. We are not talking about Genghis Kahn or the Russian Front. Soldiers are taught to follow orders, but they are also taught that some orders are illegal, and they are taught to make wise split-second choices, much as city police are taught today. Guerrilla war strategy is understood by all as a battle for the hearts and minds. Targeting is excruciatingly careful. Efforts are continuously made, though often disrupted by the enemy, to help the Iraqi people. American soldiers have always been generous and kind toward civilians. You can read stories about decent behavior every day if you care to look. There are always exceptions, but the exceptions are news.

I believe that this was the most moral invasion in history, expecially when you compare to the actions of those we are fighting.

Frank Warner

Stein only was admitting what Saddam's other friends here won't admit. When you oppose the victory of democracy in Iraq, you oppose the U.S. troops.

The pseudo-liberals speak the same words that bin Laden speaks. "Abandon the fight." They even believe the same books that bin Laden reads.

Yet many of them whined bitterly last week when Chris Matthews, speaking about bin Laden on a new audiotape, said, "I mean he sounds like an over the top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore."

Of course the pseudo-liberals sound like bin Laden. They want democracy to lose. Of course they don't support the troops. They encourage those who kill our troops.

George

I am definitely offended by Joel Stein. Don't even dare give him the benefit of the doubt because he dug his hole even deeper in an interview with Hugh Hewitt. He is an ignorant low life.

Read the interview here:
http://radioblogger.com/#001332

jj mollo

George,

I think he held up pretty well during a very hostile interview. Basically, he's not qualified to hold opinions about the war in Iraq, and he admitted it. So who else would actually be qualified to talk about the war? We all do, and none of us are. All he is saying is that he thinks it's hypocritical to claim he supports the troops when he doesn't support the war. I, for one, don't know whether it's possible to support the troops when you're unwilling to support the war even passively.

Is it disgusting for him to be against the war? I don't think so. I think he's wrong and arrogant and certainly ignorant, but he's entitled to his opinion. Is it disgusting for him to claim he doesn't support the troops? I don't know. What does he mean by that? If he just means that we shouldn't have parades, I'm not willing to call that disgusting.

Let me ask you George. 1) What do you think constitutes "support for the troops"? 2) Is it possible to support the troops without supporting the war?

Frank Warner

The trouble is, Stein and the jokers like him aren't against the war. They're against winning the war for freedom. That disgusts me.

He's no hypocrite on opposing the liberation and opposing the liberators, but, sorry, he gets no points for that. And of course I take offense.

Nicholas

So who else would actually be qualified to talk about the war? We all do, and none of us are.

I bought a "We Were Soldiers" DVD and watched it. Am I qualified to comment about the war in Iraq now?

But seriously. I'm no military guy, but I do read history and I read books written by people who went to war and describe what they saw. At some point, someone who reads and analyzes enough ought to know enough to have a more refined opinion than a random non-military person. But I don't kid myself that I know strategy, tactics or anything else at the level that the professionals do.

I don't think that means I can't have a valid opinion, though.

They key is not only to have an opinion, but be able to explain the clear reasoning behind it. That gets you a lot more respect in my book, than just holding a random opinion. Hence, the value of debates, to expose just how thoroughly someone understands a given topic they have decided they are qualified to discuss.

jj mollo

Yes, you have to be able to explain yourself and willing to take the heat. And also willing to change your mind.

We all understand only a small part of the elephant. But it's just possible we each have something to contribute. I believe I have a lot to say even though my only experience comes from reading. I think we should listen most carefully to those who disagree with us, at least if we think they're sincere. It's actually a pretty hard thing to do. I'm certainly not a model, but I try.

-- The problem with people today is they always take umbrage, but they never take the bus.

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