"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
The title above is a quote from Andrew Bacevich, a former Army colonel and a professor of international relations at Boston University. His observations come from this dumbfounding AP story:
Americans who disagree with the handling of the war in Iraq should keep their opinions to themselves - that's the thinly veiled suggestion from Bush administration supporters who consider open criticism of Iraq policy an aid to the enemy.
"It's very demoralizing" for U.S. troops, says retired Maj. Gen. John Singlaub, who was an Army Special Forces unit commander in the Vietnam War.
"You're either on one side, or you're on the other," said Illinois Republican Rep. Henry Hyde.
Some former commanders, analysts and lawmakers agree that division at home can embolden the enemy and over an extended period might hurt troop morale.
Others contend that it does neither - and say that even it if did, that's the price of democracy....
President Bush suggested at the first debate that Democratic rival John Kerry would lose the Iraq campaign if elected because Kerry has said that it was the wrong war at the wrong time and a diversion from the real fight, which should target international terrorism.
"What message does that send our troops?" Bush asked, leaving the television audience of some 60 million to ponder.
"It gives aid and comfort to the enemy," Singlaub said in a telephone interview after the debate.
Singlaub has suggested that even lawmakers should be muffled. If they expect criticism might come up at a congressional hearing, they should close it to the public and press.
Singlaub's comments are amazing for their ignorance and offensiveness, but he's got nothing on retired Marine lieutenant general Bernard Trainor, who spews thusly:
During the Vietnam conflict, the North Vietnamese fought to cause as many American casualties as possible to influence public opinion in a badly divided United States.
Note that this is not a quote, but a paraphrase by the article's author. I can only hope that Gen. Trainor's actual words were mischaracterized here, because this has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard from any primate. The Viet Cong were trying to inflict American casualties because they wanted to influence public opinion? Really? See, I would have thought that the Viet Cong were trying to inflict American casualties because that's what belligerents do in battle! You know, we shoot at them, they shoot at us, and so on and so forth.
Then again, I never went to West Point, so what do I know.
Anyway, to get back to my point (such as it is) - anyone who says or even implies that dissent is intolerable has a very different notion of American democracy than I do. The Junta sends our fighting men and women into Iraq for no good reason, with no plan to succeed, without appropriate equipment and supplies, and then they dare to accuse me of being un-American and failing to "support our troops"? You have got to be kidding me! You know what gives aid and comfort to our enemies? Sitting ducks in American uniforms, that's what! American credibility and prestige in free-fall, thank you very much! The fanatical pursuit of a mindless crusade, that's the ticket! The Naked Emperor tells me I'm either with him or against him? No, that's exactly backwards - he and his apologists are either with genuine American security and constitutional principles, or against them.
That's the real struggle playing out here, and tools like Singlaub, Hyde, Trainor, and the Empty Flight Suit himself have made it very clear where they stand. And it's not on the side of the America I love.