Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The Ugliest of Things

Joel Stein dropped quite the incendiary device in Tuesday’s LA Times. He claims that he meant it to detonate on the flanks of his anti-war fellow travelers, but, since he commenced his tantrum with “I don’t support the troops,” the collateral damage potentially spreads to anyone in uniform. (That is, if we even bother to concern ourselves with what an LA Times opinion columnist thinks about anything military-related.)

Stein and his choice of protest weapon can be faulted for many things, not least of which the arrogance from which this piece emanates. Anyone in the military who volunteered since 9/11 is morally culpable for the actions taken by leadership, and as we are part of Imperial Amerika imposing it’s will on a peaceful world, we are to blame, and can be held responsible for supporting evil.

Could it be any more obvious that Stein has not a clue? Stein remains completely divorced from any “reality” that includes meaningful contact and relationship with anyone in the military or any knowledge of military affairs.

Stein admits this in an extensive interview with Hugh Hewitt yesterday. I am in awe of the detachment, poise and calm with which Hugh interviewed Stein. He continued to explore the degree to which Stein would admit to 1) knowing anyone in the military, 2) what he thinks of those who serve, under a range of scenarios, and 3) whether Stein has any idea what the words duty or honor (or even civic responsibility) mean. Extremely revealing. My hat’s off to Stein, for deftly exposing the hypocrisy so pervasive within the yellow-belly underbelly of the anti-war movement. (And a hat’s off to Hewitt for facilitating.)

Good summary of reactions at Instapundit. The best, in my view, was offered by Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom:

But of course, such a position relies on an intellectually dishonest and repeatedly resisted framing of the GWoT as it has been officially and strategically outlined by our twice-elected CiC, one that wishes to bracket out all but reactive retaliatory measures—and even then, the preferred method to do so is international tribunals and UN paperwork—and to insist that a large, and largely covert, nationless threat spread over the globe, whose members are joined by purpose, tactic, ideology, and leadership structure (and who, let us not forget, has also declared open war on us, and has a plan for the defeat of the west) is nothing but a series of small, disparate potential mini-battles that can be handled without any but the most cosmetic military intervention.

But Iraq was never envisioned as an isolated action under the current war strategy; it was considered a battle in a larger war, and was prompted out of intelligence fears, the decision not to play defense and wait for a threat to become imminent or for more towers to fall, and out of a belief that when murderous tyrants threaten the safety and security of your country, it is high time—in an age of such instantaneous global communication and travel—to take them at their word.

Stein’s essay, therefore, can be viewed as just another in a long line of attempts to assume a position of virtue through the sophistry of gilded cowardice masquerading as idealism.

And Commenter Mojo, quoting John Stuart Mill:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

And from Mudville Gazette comes a link to Neptunus Lex, who dismisses Stein, his prejudices and points of ignorance:

What weak beer, what consummately revealing piffle. I could spend hours popping the man’s comfortable and self-reverential balloons before beating him into the dust for practice’s sake, just for being deeply, criminally stupid. Except that, holding three jobs at the moment, I haven’t got the time.

Sadly, all of this attention is no doubt the primary reason Stein took his “courageous stand” for the sake of the LA Times. We can only hope the subscription fallout from his little try at carpet bombing can repay the LA Times for their support for his assault.

LINKS: Mudville Gazette

UPDATE: Other great posts on Stein’s column:
Fuzzilicious, American Thinker, Soldiers Angel Holly Aho

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