Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dumb, Dumber and Joel Stein

Perhaps you've heard of the latest kerfuffle involving one LA Times columnist, Joel Stein, and his recent editorial entitled "Warriors and wusses". In the column Mr Stein explains to us that he does not support the US Military and the troops who serve in it. Here are some of the jaw-droppingly ignorant reasons for his position.

I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But 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 — and they're wussy by definition. 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.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.
Joel thinks that if we support the troops then this will give the approval to the "hawks" in the administration to keep them there longer. Or perhaps even send them somewhere else where they might be (gasp!) expected to do what our military does extremely well- kill people and break stuff. Now, obviously our military does a whole hell of a lot more than this, as our relief efforts in the Asian tsunami or the Pakistani earthquakes demonstrate, but primarily our military is designed to kill people and break stuff more efficiently and accurately than any other fighting force in the history of our planet. Many people believe, myself include, that the reason our military is as efficient as it is today is because it is a volunteer force. Because the soldiers are there willingly they are more committed to the missions set forth for them than if they were conscripted.

Joel believes that these volunteers are "ignoring their morality".
But blaming the president is a little too easy. 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. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.
Inefficiency would be the least of the military's problem if each member made choices according to their own moral agenda. I would be suprised if they could learn how to do anything together. That's the point of an organized militia. They work together towards a common goal, not what each individual persons goal may be.

The next quote is one that exposes not only Mr. Stein's misunderstanding of the military and what it does, but the history of our military engagements as well.
But 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. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.
"Get Lucky"? My cousin Charlie served for about three years in Bosnia, and I can tell you that at no time did he feel lucky. In fact, he explained to me that he felt very frustrated when the people who lived there explained to him that even though they were happy to see UN and US troops there to stop the fighting, they knew that once they left it would just start all over again.

And Joel, the hanging out in Germany part? There was this conflict perhaps you've heard of called WWII. Something to do with Nazi's and such. Might want to look that one up.

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Mr Stein on his radio show today to let him further explain his views. Here's the transcript.

Here's probably the most telling exchange of the intellectual beating Hewitt administered to Stein-
JS: I honor police service. I honor military service. Any...I just think that...

HH: You do honor military service?

JS: Yeah. No, I'm grateful for people that serve in the military.

HH: But you don't support our troops?

JS: I don't...I don't believe in supporting the troops in an action that you don't believe in.

HH: And so, that would be everything I've named thus far. So I guess...did you support and honor the troops in the Pentagon on 9/11?

JS: Sure, yeah.

HH: All right.

JS: All the troops that are here to defend our country, I'm very, very grateful for. I'm grateful for the police...

HH: Provided they don't leave the country?

JS: Yeah, provided they don't fight in wars that I think are endangering them for no reason.

HH: And the moment they do, you stop honoring them?

JS: The moment I do, I think it's a poor idea to show support for them and prolong that engagement.
So Mr Stein supports the troops as long as they are only fighting people in the United States. Once outside the states he dumps them like used toilet paper. Apparently Mr Stein has a thing for Kosovo though, because he said he would support them then. Personally I don't think that Mr Stein has a fucking clue what he's talking about at all. How a guy this ignorant gets a high paying job writing for a major newspaper like the LA Times should give you an idea of how pathetic the majority of the major media is these days. I mean, someone actually edited this piece and told the print guys to run it. Simply amazing.

Jeff Goldstein sums up what those of us who not only support the troops but the wars they are currently engaged in thusly-

For my part, I support the troops because they are our countrymen and women, they have signed up willingly to serve the nation, and we are in no way, shape, manner, or form figthing a war that is objectively evil or even objectionable from ethical standards that include a resistance to tyranny and a promotion of peace and democracy.

Which is why it is easy for me to look at Stein’s pseudo-philosophical bit of puffed-up provocateurism and call it what it is: the nadir of the me generation, and the ultimate passing of the buck.

I managed to scrounge up a picture of our esteemed columnist Mr Stein, but unfortunately the picture doesn't quite give the full profile so apologies to Mr Stein in advance.

No comments: