Mommy, mommy, the bloggers are being mean to me
keep 'em coming
Jonah is now whining about how he's getting all those feathers.
Sorry for reopening what may be for most folks an old and tedious argument. That’s not my intention. Unfortunately, my recent spat with Juan Cole has launched a second front of hate mail, spam and blog flames. And since I don’t have the time or energy to respond to every email or ever blog post, I figured I could respond here and then I’d at least have a link I can send back to folks.
As you may recall, Cole advocated the position that every able bodied male in America who supported the Iraq war should have enlisted. In response to these and similar “chicken-hawk” arguments I mentioned in passing that “a few” of the reasons I never signed up before the war were my age, my financial situation, my brand new baby daughter and my physical condition. The blogger Atrios considered this an “incredible” admission as have several other leftwing bloggers. The moral outrage seems to be based on what I can only figure to be several misunderstandings and one fair point. The misunderstandings include the fact that I never said these were the “only” reasons I didn’t sign up. Merely that these were among them. I never expected Atrios to be a fair reader (he’s too concerned with my looks). But apparently this misreading has now become the official one among many on the web. I’ve received lots of email from folks who sincerely believe – for one reason or another – that I was saying my family or my financial situation was more important than those of the soldiers, marines and airmen in Iraq who also have families and, often, even greater financial challenges. So let me just say here that this was never my intention nor my meaning. If I gave that impression, I’m sorry. While obviously my family is everything to me, I have never thought in those terms. And I have never done anything but marvel at the contributions of America’s warriors. And, having gone to Walter Reed this weekend to meet with wounded vets, my gratitude and admiration for their sacrifices is even greater. What I was trying to say was that it doesn’t matter what my reasons for not enlisting were, it wouldn’t matter to people who think it’s more satisfying or effective to hurl insults than engage in arguments. Indeed, the fact that I am too old to enlist seems to bounce off of most of these people (to serve at my age I would need to have already served before or be in the reserve).
But as for the larger argument, I still think it is absurd. Every morning I get these emailed images of white feathers sent to me by folks who think I should sign up. The reference is to WWI when women would give young men not in uniform feathers to shame them into enlisting. It’s a clever bit of web-bullying I suppose. But the analogy is stupid. Those women supported the war. The people reprising the role of WWI prim ladies on the homefront do not. Daily Kos’ reaction to the mutilation of American contractors in Iraq was "I feel nothing over the death of the mercenaries [sic]. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them."
That’s not the sort of thing one says when in support of the war effort.
The lefty blogs love pointing out conservative hypocrisy. Fair enough. But this chickenhawk nonsense itself is grotesquely hypocritical. Recently many on the left took great umbrage at Peter Beinart’s suggestion that much of the left opposed the Afghanistan war. No we didn’t! They declared. Well, okay. But if they didn’t oppose it, why didn’t they sign up? What about for the first Gulf War? Or Bosnia?
Look, in the age of the all-volunteer military, and in a country which prides itself on civilian control of that military, there is no shame in not signing up. Or even if there is shame, it’s personal not political. We have, by my rough estimate, some 70 million men of military age. Should they all join-up the moment they agree the military should do something dangerous? I favor aggressive law enforcement at home, does this mean I should become a cop? Of course not.
I supported the war and I support the work the military is doing there now. I make no apologies for that. I do not believe they’re there on a fool’s errand nor do I consider them to be hapless dupes and slaves to a cause not worth fighting. About the folks sending me these feathers, I know no such thing.
You're the one in favor of the war. Go cover it, go support it, do something other than suggest other people are traitors for not supporting it and other people should fight it. Don't hide behind others. It's about you, not anyone else.
You wanted this war, why don't you have the courage to support it with deeds, not words? You can bring up all the straw men you want, whine all you want, but in the end, you thought conquering Iraq was a grand idea. Now you're being called on it.
Hell, go volunteer at Walter Reed. That would require some moral strength. Your words are cheap and you are being called on them.
I know your mommy has protected you all your life, fearsone she-bitch that she is, but now you're dealing with adults. So go stand on your feet like a man, or whine like the yellow coward that you are.
Oh, and how much support have you given to the troops? Send a phone card to Walter Reed? A package to Anysoldier.com or Booksforsoldiers.com. Michael Moore has. Many left bloggers regularly mention these sites. Have you? Have you shown one ounce of concern for the people fighting this war? Or do you insult soldiers like the one who asked why he was expected to go to Iraq without adequate armor? Call him a dupe. You lie when you say you support the troops. You support the war, which is he thing which counts to you. Never a word about the mistreatment of the wounded or the inadequate supplies thse in the field have to live with, like the NG trooper who had to take out a loan to get body armor.
By the way:
In response to the letter Jonah Goldberg wrote about why he is not in Iraq, I have put up a website called www.whitefeatherforjonah.com. It encourages people to mail or email white feathers to Jonah to remind him that he is a lily-livered poltroon.
The site gives an easy link to his email and his mailing address at the National Review (more addresses might be added). There is also available for downloading a very nice letterhead with the image of a white feather and the words "Why aren't you in Iraq" in bold letters across the top. In order to encourage as many people as possible to drown Jonah in feathers, I am asking that you visit the site and if you like it, give me a plug on your blog
posted by Steve @ 12:42:00 PM