Monday, April 28, 2008

Supporting the Troops: An Update

Readers might recall my earlier post on Kenneth Thiesen's essay last month conceiving U.S. military forces as jackboots to the Bush/Cheney fascist regime (see "Supporting the Troops").

I wrote at the time, regarding the America-bashing antiwar hordes, "I don't think these people are "fringe elements."

I still don't.

But perhaps even Theisen's been one-upped in his troop-slamming with a new hit-piece out, by Ian Murphy, "

So, 4000 rubes are dead. Cry me the Tigris. Another 30,000 have been seriously wounded. Boo fucking hoo. They got what they asked for—and cool robotic limbs, too.

Likely, just reading the above paragraph made you uncomfortable. But why?

The benevolence of America’s “troops” is sacrosanct. Questioning their rectitude simply isn’t done. It’s the forbidden zone. We may rail against this tragic war, but our soldiers are lauded by all as saints. Why? They volunteered to partake in this savage idiocy, and for this they deserve our utmost respect? I think not.

The nearly two-thirds of us who know this war is bullshit need to stop sucking off the troops. They get enough action raping female soldiers and sodomizing Iraqi detainees. The political left is intent on “supporting” the troops by bringing them home, which is a good thing. But after rightly denouncing the administration’s lies and condemning this awful war, relatively sensible pundits—like Keith Olbermann—turn around and lovingly praise the soldiers’ brave service to the country. Why?

What service are they providing? I don’t remember ordering 300,000 dead Iraqis—although I was doing a lot of heavy narcotics back in ‘03. Our soldiers are not providing a service to the country, they’re providing a service to a criminal administration and their oil company cronies. When a mafia don orders a hit, is the assassin absolved of personal responsibility when it’s carried out? Of course not. What if the hit man was fooled into service? We’d all say, “Tough shit, you dumb Guido,” then lock him up and throw away the key.

As a society, we need to discard our blind deference to military service. There’s nothing admirable about volunteering to murder people. There’s nothing admirable about being rooked by obvious propaganda. There’s nothing admirable about doing what you’re told if what you’re told to do is terrible.

We all learned recently that the Bush administration instituted its policy of global torture during quaint White House meetings. And we already know this war was started with lies. Shame on them. But what about the people who physically carry out these atrocities? We’ve seen bad apples punished and CEO despots walk free, but all verbal and written denouncement is focused on our leaders. Surely, they deserve that and more—decapitation, really. But why can’t we be critical of the people who have actually tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens? We deride private contractors like Blackwater for similar conduct—why are the troops blameless?

Take John McCain, or “McNasty,” as they called him in high school. While the conventional wisdom says that Obama gets a pass from the media, McCain is clearly the least scrutinized presidential candidate. He diddles lobbyists, sings about bombing Iran and doesn’t know Shiite from Shinola, yet he remains unscathed, cloaked in his Vietnam “hero” legend.

Again, what is heroic about involving one’s self in a foolish war, being a shitty pilot or getting tortured? Yeah, it must have sucked, but getting your ass kicked every day for five years doesn’t make you a hero—it makes you a Bad News Bear. At the very core of the media's reverence for John McCain is the blatant, tired myth that he's a "centrist."

Here’s where America’s military lust becomes a true perversion. If we truly valued military prowess, John McCain would be viewed as a failure. But duty alone is enough to inspire our gratitude. Hence the left’s tendency to obligatorily praise the troops while decrying the sum of their actions. Good thing, too, because this war is unwinnable.

But let me ask readers: Is Murphy's stuff, on McCain here, for example, all that different than this:

At the very core of the media's reverence for John McCain is the blatant, tired myth that he's a "centrist."

Like [Senator Joseph] Lieberman, McCain may deviate from right-wing dogma on discrete issues when it comes to domestic policy questions. But on questions of foreign policy, national security and war, McCain -- and Lieberman -- are as extremist as it gets in the mainstream political spectrum. On those obviously central issues, there simply is nobody and nothing to the Right of McCain.

McCain marks the absolute outer ideological boundary of American militarism, imperialism and war-making, particularly (though not only) in the Middle East. That's why he's long been enthusiastically supported by the country's most crazed warmongers -- such as Bill Kristol, James Woolsey,
most of the PNAC crowd, and Lieberman. In no meaningful sense are such individuals "centrists," and neither is McCain.
This quote's from Glenn Greenwald.

So, comparing Greenwald to Murphy, is there much difference, except for perhaps Murphy's more immediately colorful language?

It's the same message, to be sure: American foreign policy's demonic, the Bush administration's criminal, and John McCain's a philandering warmonger destined to send the United States to countless "
100 Year" wars.

I frankly don't find much to distinguish Murphy from Greenwald, except to say that I'm quite familiar with the latter, having blogged on him abundantly, as well as having started to read his book.

Other than that, it's basically the same message, different messenger.

It's not very dignified, in any case, to say the least. Our active duty troops and esteemed veterans deserve better.

Hat tip: Jawa Report