02 March 2008

Drudge, Patriotism, & Prince Harry

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.

If you have tips, questions, comments, suggestions, or requests for subscription only articles, email us at lybberty@gmail.com.


Ben Treasure said...

If I am to assume that you're taking a higher, thicker skinner road than I, then I would only question why you've chose this forum as the only acceptable venue to make your rebuttal.

This debate originally broke in a facebook post, in public, and outside of any partisan forum - be it my blog, or this. What has become clear is that there is a great hesitancy on your part, Jake, or some of your readers, to actually take your views and rhetoric out into a generally public arena - and away from the homogeneous partisan environment of your own very partisan blog.

You are taking this back into talking point territory in making blanket statements about liberal patriotism and the like, which is perhaps a good route if you are looking to cool tensions here. On those counts, clearly, I will respectfully disagree with you. However, I would encourage you on this blog to stick your neck out a bit more in advocating the causes you support - like coming out against Drudge, as I did against "anti-war" Operation Pink loonies in Santa Barbara. Transparency and objectivity will give you more credibility.

Matt said...

"We suppose our biggest mistake was calling for consistency." Yes, that was the biggest mistake.

Drudge's decision to out a brave soldier and list regions thus putting British and American soldiers in greater danger is not a time to turn it into "Well Ben the Libs did it so why dont you blog about it." It is petty, silly, disappointing, and comes across as if Lybberty is defending Drudge's actions by shifting the argument at the dying NY Times, the now non-credible moveon.org, or the soon to be afterthought Hillary Clinton.

Instead of regurgitating National Review articles and such Lybberty could have siezed the opportunity to lead the Collegiate blogs and condemn Drudge's self-serving outing and called for an apology or an all out Conservative boycott. Thus holding the same patriotic standard to all.

Once again this was not a subject to count the tally points on. A man who has made a fortune from the pro-war conservative movement put in jeopardy the very individuals that he hides behind. And this blog should have called him out on it.

I am disappointed that Lybberty would let emotional partisanship get the best of him.

Matt B.

Ben Treasure said...
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Ben Treasure said...

Matt summed up my thoughts perfectly. I think this was your opportunity to come out for a cause worth taking, and missed it. Ditto, Matt B.

I would like any follow up to be made in response to the most recent post on my blog, which can be found under "Public Service Announcement".


Matt said...

"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."

So is Lybberty telling us that, oh lets see here.......BYUSA elections, relating the TV show Prison Break to politics, stories about pathetic students NICMOing for tickets, and fantasy baseball, are more important than "supporting our troops?"

If this is the case Lybberty I am done with this blog.

Ben Treasure said...

Yeah I thought the NCMO thing was definitely newsworthy. Particularly in comparison to the lives of soldiers. Ouch.

dmz said...
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dmz said...

Should have known that last one would get deleted. haha. I will try this again without the cuss words. Im glad you guys outted lybberty for the unpatriotic troop hating sob he is. Lets boycott him and drudge!

Empty Words said...

Why does Lybberty run from supporting the war? Does he really want to absolve himself of duty by lumping himself in the category of women, children, the disabled, and the elderly? This latest piece makes Lybberty look weak and willing to do nothing more than talk. Lybberty, instead of saying you don't have to support the war by working and contributing or by joining the military because the elderly don't have to either, why don't you put your words into action and actually do something?

jen said...

Hey Empty Words,

What do you think Lybbert should do? What kind of action do you want him to take? Do you think he can only support the war if he fights in it?

Branden B. said...

I think this is all part of some "vast left-wing conspiracy" to deflect attention from our favorite hope-bestowing "wants to be a demigod" candidate's lack of experience and intelligent policies.

Watch him backtrack on NAFTA faster than you can say, "Yes, we can."

Branden B. said...

Although his backtracking on Rezko may be even faster.

Empty Words said...


Serving in the military is not the only way to support the war, but Lybberty's contribution to it, in real terms, is equivalent to that of any marginaly employed voter with a pro-war blog... that is to say, slightly more than the voting citizen (by virtue of the blog) and WAY less than a soldier. So what is the middle ground in which someone might contribute and actually lend a hand to this particular cause? I have some ideas, but certainly there are others:

1) Produce and Make Money- That is- engage in useful economic activity that creates value. The direct support of the war is then accounted for in terms of tax dollars that fund the military and defense budgets. This ain't a story of the widow's mite; those who produce more contribute more (in monetary terms) to the prosecution of the war. If you produce NO VALUE, you generate NO TAXES. (Assuming you're operating under the confines of the law.) At this point, any value Lybberty might be generating from his blog cannot be monetized and therefore is not taxable. Oh wait, Lybberty's trying to win a money prize for his blog right now and is judged partially by our participation. Invite all your friends to lybberty.com with the motto: HELP LYBBERTY CONTRIBUTE TO THE WAR, TOGETHER, WE CAN DO HIS PART. The taxable income on that prize will put Jake's tax contribution equal to that of a less-than-part-time bus boy- meager, but an improvement.

2)Be creative- Initiate a fund-drive for families of disadvantaged soldiers. Adopt a tangible cause and organize around it. Some ideas? Talk to your military friends and get an idea for something they could use from back home and then use your church or family organization to deliver. -If it's scalable, organize for greater participation. The more you accomplish, the more you've contributed. Entrepreneurial activity provides solutions to problems, so why not take the economic means available to your family and invest it in your cause? You could partner with others and actually do something with real impact. Find needs and provide solutions. That's a contribution.

3) If you can't enlist, try and convince your sibling(s) to carry the banner for the family. This would make you one of those "soldier families" Lybberty has praised. It shows that the risk of the war is actually being borne by you personally, because you obviously care about the welfare of your sibling. You're love for your "fellow citizen soldiers" would pale in comparison to that of a sibling, and his/her participation would represent a real risk of loss.

Lybberty is a supporter of the war in words only (vocal and blogged). This does not make him a liar by any means. It just means that his words weren't heartfelt enough to make him get up and actually do anything other than opine. In other words, his own writings don't even inspire him to action.

Anonymous said...

If we all enlisted and went to the Middle East/Asia who is going to stay home and buy all of China's products? What would happen to our country? How would we raise taxes to support all of the unemployed barbers? I think Lybberty should stay home and continue to get haircuts.

Matt said...

empty words aka Raisin aka Justin W-- While others have done a fine job of carrying your banner, I say to you: Welcome back, we've missed you dearly.

Empty Words said...
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