We suppose our biggest mistake was calling for consistency from a friend with thin skin. In the subpoint of our last post, we linked to a good post by Friend of Lybberty, Ben Treasure, about Drudge's outing of Prince Harry.
We didn't (and don't) really know about the circumstances surrounding the kerfuffle, so we deferred, and based on what we knew, agreed with Ben's take. It may surprise some of you to know that we don't have the time or knowledge to weigh in on every injustice in the world. Would that we could, can't so we won't. This is why we generally link to blog posts like Ben's with which we are sympathetic. Our only caveat in Ben's case was to ask for consistency: when the New York Times reveals intel about US troops and anti-terror actions (something they do frequently), we hope Ben will similarly condemn their actions as cowardly.
That said, we disagree with some of the sentiment reflected in the comments here, on Ben's blog, and in his blog's facebook mirror (subscription required).
Sidebar: we find it ironic that it is a liberal calling into question people's patriotism when liberals have always been the ones who complained about conservatives questioning their patriotism based on their war views. We guess they really do like having the shoe on the other foot. And further, we point out (and longtime readers will know this is true) we have never questioned someone's patriotism based on their Iraq War views. Examine our archives closely if you don't believe us: no scorched earth blogging here.
Back to our original point of contention. We agree with those who say that the disconnect between the all-volunteer military and the American public and government is a problem. The public and government don't know what it is like to be shot at while in the service of this country. Neither do we. We're grateful for and to those who serve. Many of them are our friends. We read daily about their struggles and successes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. They are on our minds constantly.
We disagree with those who say that only those who can and do serve in the military can be said to support the war. This is incredibly flawed logic. It's the old "chickenhawk" trope. Taking this line of argument to its logical conclusion, neither the young, old, physically unable, female, etc., can support the war.
Some even extend this flawed logic to say that only those who pay more in taxes than they reap in government benefits can be in favor of winning the War on Terror or can be said to support it. Again, this excludes the young, old, disabled, poor (not even just poor, but anyone below middle class). Because they aren't net payers of tax, their opinion doesn't count, their view isn't valid.
The reason this line of argument has become so popular is because the people "peddling" it are unable to argue against the war (as it stands now) on its merits. They know, we know, everyone knows we have to stay and finish the job or condemn Iraqis to a fate worse than '80's-'90's Afghanistan. In fact, premature withdrawal would be more like a combination of Southeast Asia post Vietnam (over a million dead, tens of thousands imprisoned and "re-educated"), the aforementioned terrorist haven in Afghanistan (you know, where Obama wants to send the troops), plus a complete destabilization of the Middle East, nuclear Iran, and skyrocketing oil prices (more than they are now).
We can take the ad hominem calls of cowardice and un-patriotism because, for one, we're not thin skinned and, because we know better. More importantly, we understand the anti-war left's penchant for demonization and bombast is a product of their frustration with the corner into which they have painted themselves.
With Harry Reid, they looked forward to the electoral advantage to be gained from an American loss in Iraq and (unwittingly or otherwise) allied themselves ideologically with America's enemies.
This is why their ideological mover and shaker (moveon.org) called General Petraeus, General "Betray Us" (where was your condemnation then, Ben?). This is why one of their like, totally awesome candidates, Hillary Clinton, essentially called him a liar when he testified before the Senate, saying his report required a "willing suspension of disbelief."
And furthermore, this is why the largely liberal press has ignored the positive gains of the surge for the last six+ months. (incidentally, National Review and the Weekly Standard have never called our military leaders, liars; and they're still reporting the news from Iraq)
Bloggers, columnists, pundits, reporters and more--whether they fight the war or not--have an important role to play in helping to inform and form American public opinion with regards to Iraq, Afghanistan, terror, torture, etc., etc. Could they do a better job? Of course. This is why it's important for good bloggers like Ben to condemn irresponsible journalism--especially that which does damage to us or our troops.
Those who have "been there, done that" clearly have a greater degree of authority when they hold forth on a given topic. Just as the educated and informed generally add more to a discussion and debate in their area of expertise.
But that does not mean that everyone else should just shut up.
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