Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Warriors and Wusses"

Touchy subject. Hate the war. Support the troops. No one dares handle that one. Kinda like the 800 lb. gorilla in the room that no one wants to acknowledge and discuss. Or the naked emperor with the lovely new "clothes".

Until now.

In a gutsy, albeit controversial column yesterday Joel Stein steps out of the chamber of hypocrisy and bares it all. And he says some things a lot of us have been thinking, but haven't had the cajones to say.

How can you possibly hate the war, but "support the troops"?

Mr. Stein tackles this one with a poignant and provocative column in yesterday's L.A. Times. Unlike its portrayal by the Regressives (and some Progressives) it is not an attack on "the troops", but rather on the phonies that stick the ribbon magnets on the back of their cars, never even having a clue about what war really is and what the troops endure there or after returning, and also the even more spineless who claim to be against the war but "support the troops" (whatever that means).

I don't agree with all his points, particularly those that deal with the realities of enlistment. I don't believe a 19 year old is going to spend a lot of time and thought on the morality of historical use of force. Additionally, in many cases he or she may be pursuing one of the few career options in the community. And once they are in, options for dissent are and should be nonexistent. And I think national service is an honorable and fruitful pursuit.

But he does lay bare the issue of taking a consistently firm stand (not just one of a tepid rejection of war) contrasted with a politically safe chest pounding patriotism. There's a contradiction here that doesn't pass the smell test.

Please read the column. Sure, there's a tone of unseemly bravado in it. Maybe even insensitivity. But it made me think. He's not anti-troops. He's anti-citizens who have reduced their understanding and involvement in war to a magnet on the back of their car, or a phony "our brave men and women" platitude. Whether they are for the invasion & occupation or not.

Thank you Joel. We know that no one wishes the troops ill will. but we also know that it is just as patriotic to speak out when there is a wrong to be exposed.


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