Mailvox: Vox for President

Linda sees some eerie parallels:

It’s clear that you’re not concerned with anybody’s opinion but yours. All too typical of an arrogant, self-absorbed, immature person who thinks he/she knows more than he/she actually knows.

Just be careful of the words you write and say. Watch carefully what’s happening to Kerry. He was an arrogant, self-absorbed, immature, opportunist thirty years ago, just like yourself, and now his words and actions are coming back to haunt him.

Erm… what’s that you were saying? I was just filming the recreation of my epic smackdown of Me So Michelle.

Mailvox: the philosopher-generals

Steve barks on command:

I think that the point that the marine was trying to make is that the troops and the mission are united. You cannot support one and not the other. The “folks back home” should understand this and have the courage to face up to all its implications. If you want our troops to win then you are on their side and are supporting them. If you want the enemy to win (it doesn’t matter if you want the enemy to win by killing all of our troops or just win becase we quit the field and bring all our guys home, the end result is the same)then you are on their side and are the enemy of our troops.

This is the most specious reasoning in defense of unquestioning obedience I’ve ever heard. First, it is very easy to oppose the mission and support the troops. Only someone without friends or family in the military could possibly fail to understand the concept.

Would one argue that Saddam would win if US troops were pulled out today? Wasn’t that who we were fighting? Wasn’t the war fought to ensure that Iraq had no WMD? Then by Steve’s reasoning either the mission has been accomplished, the war has already been won and the troops can come home, or Saddam, sitting under the guard of US troops, has won the most Phyrric of Phyrric victories.

Not only is this a foolish and illogical argument, but it is a stupid one. Calling people traitors is hardly a good way to convince them to come around to your way of thinking, it is instead a very good way of convincing them that you have a complete lack of confidence in your case. Steve apparently thinks we should cheer unchecked mission creep until American troops occupy every single country in the world. Anything less would be unpatriotic!

The mistaken military mind

The New York Times quotes a Marine Major:

When critics of the war say their advocacy is on behalf of those of us risking our lives here, it’s a type of false patriotism. I believe that when Americans say they “support our troops,” it should include supporting our mission, not just sending us care packages. They don’t have to believe in the cause as I do; but they should not denigrate it. That only aids the enemy in defeating us strategically.

So, if the President decides to aid the Sudanese government in committing genocide, the American public should simply keep its collective mouth shut and support the mission? That’s ridiculous. Remember, most of the great atrocities committed by dozens of governments around the world have been committed by the militaries of those countries in obedience to their legitimate leaders.

One of the most common failings of the military mind is to believe that because unquestioning obedience is a military virtue, it is a civic virtue as well. Quite the opposite is true. And to argue that one is aiding the enemy simply by exercising one’s Constitutional rights to criticize one’s government is not only incorrect it is downright shameful. In fact, this is why it is unwise for the President to make use of our armed forces without first ensuring that he has gained the consent of the people by a Congressional declaration of war.

I am sure there are those who will be aghast that I should dare to criticize the words of a Marine risking his life in service to the country. To them, I must point out that the mere fact that one is fighting for one’s country does not automatically make one’s opinions correct, nor render them above all criticism.