Wednesday, January 25, 2006

An Honest Liberal Voice

Joel Stein writes in the LA Times:

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops.

...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 ...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.

The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying.

...when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country.

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.,0,4137172.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Thanks for your honesty, Joel. I could write ten thousand words and fail to express the basic truth you just made crystal clear. In the eyes of the Left the troops are guilty. I understand now. That's why you can justify encouraging our enemies with your anti-war protests. The troops are guilty. That's why the liberals in Congress proudly undermine the president in a time of war... giving hope to terrorists inside Iraq. The troops are as guilty as the president is. The troops are just more heavy-handed conservatives... and they need to be defeated... and that's why you give comfort and aid to the people trying to kill them.

Cleverly you have learned from VietNam that it's not wise politically to spit on your enemy when he returns home. But you do loathe the military.

Where have I heard that before?


Armand said...

I side with you on appreciating Stein's comments.

They help to clarify the true feelings of "patriotism" held by so many on the left. So many, by the way, who care more about partisanship than "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Chris, thanks for your comment on my blog. I responded there, but the gist is that the Dems should be pressed to either embrace or denounce Stein's article. If they choose to denounce they better practice a few times in the mirror or we will see right through it.


SkyePuppy said...

Chris, great post.

You managed to capture the essence of the Left's view of the military: Guilty.

Nothing has changed since Kerry's 1970s "Winter's Soldier" testimony before Congress, in which he said we had "created a monster." By monster, he meant the American military. Clearly the Left still sees the military as monsters.

I can't begin to understand how there can be that many people in this country who are so incredibly far beyond reason, but they exist and there are a lot of them.

Our very lives depend on getting and keeping people like Joel and the political leaders he supports OUT OF OFFICE.

Christina said...

So let me see if I understand Mr. Stein correctly...we should not celebrate people for doing things that we disagree with? Well that really clears it all up for me. Thanks, Joel.

Then using Mr. Stein's logic, Hollywood should not be celebrating (and thereby promoting) homosexuality, promiscuity, racism, liberal agendas and politicians, abortion (aka a "woman's right to choose") and atheism. After all I "don't think [they] are a good idea".

Oh but wait, Hollywood calls me a bigot. So then, let's now use Hollywood's logic...If I disagree on moral grounds with their "good" ideas, then I am a bigot. Well, then isn't Mr. Stein also just as big a bigot? After all, he's just not willing to "celebrate something [he] doesn't think is a good idea". I'm sure he objects to the war on some moral ground as well. But we'll never hear him being criticized as intolerant, hateful or bigotted. He just simply has the "courage of his convictions" and the strength to disagree with what is popular.

Did I get it all straight?

Seriously, this makes me so mad, I don't even know how else to respond. Let's celebrate everything else immoral and wrong in this world. Let's worship megastar celebrities like Britney Spears and George Clooney just because they look pretty. Let's all tolerate and celebrate the harmful homosexual lifestyle. Let's celebrate the convenience of being able to "choose" to kill a baby. Heaven forbid we spend even a moment celebrating the safe return of the true heros who risk life and limb to protect such ungrateful men like Mr. Stein.

janice said...

I heard Joel Stein being interveiwed by Hugh Hewitt. I was amazed at his matter-of-fact attitude. He had no defense, and was quite proud of his position. If you get a chance read the transcipt here
Thanks for the comment on my blog Chris.

The JerseyNut said...

I want to see who else on the left has the "guts" to stand with him...

Mike said...


You left a comment on my blog, so the least I can do is return the favor:

As you might have guessed from the tone of the rest of my blog, I disagree that "the left" is as insidiously motivated as you suggest. Like you (though perhaps from a different direction), I appreciated Stein's comments (there aren't many who have argued, humorously or not, that the members of the military should be credited at least with having the acuity to realize what it is that they're doing), but I would stop short of endorsing his central argument.

There are those in the military, certainly, who enlisted after making a conscious choice to act as "a fighting tool of American imperialism" (as Stein suggests). But there are also plenty of people in the military who signed up to pay for college, or to learn a trade, or for love of their country, or simply because their hometown assembly plant closed and their career options were limited. It would be highly unfair to paint them all with the same brush.

Keeping that last bit in mind, I don't think the left loathes the military (though there are clearly those on the left who do). But I agree that many on the left tend to approach the exercise of military power from a different angle than many of those on the right. For many on the left (and I include myself in this group), the burden of proof, so to speak, lies with the military (or the governmental bodies that command it) to justify its use. There's a rebuttable presumption of sorts that military force should be avoided if at all possible: when it's just, it's just, and when it's not, it's not.

I respect the military, and I recognize its value. But I don't think that "respect" and "rote acceptance" are necessarily synonymous. And on the meta level, I think that's what Joel Stein was trying to get at.