Jay Reding.com

“If They’re Going To Support Us, Support Us All The Way”

NBC News ran this rather frank interview with American troops in Iraq on how they deal with the criticism of the war:

They’re right — the “dissent” over the war with Iraq cannot be made without consideration that it actively makes the jobs of our troops harder. The argument that “dissent” is automatically “patriotic” is simply false. If one were to say “Al-Qaeda should win and America should be destroyed” that would certainly be a dissenting view, but only a fool would call it patriotism.

Or, take this real-life example from Michael Moore:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

Anyone who wants to argue that such a view is even remotely patriotic under any rational definition of the word is debasing the meaning of the word into uselessness.

Those who do not support this war cannot support the mission of our troops, are undermining their morale, and are emboldening the enemy. Those are inescapable conclusions that cannot be brushed aside. That doesn’t mean that they can’t argue that the greater good is still being served, but the notion that an antiwar position is at all compatible with full support of the troops is intellectually dishonest.

It’s like saying that one supports the marriage of two friends while actively telling one of the partners to divorce the other. If we want to argue that the mission in Iraq is impossible that failure is inevitable, we’re saying that our troops cannot do the job they were assigned to do. Our troops think Iraq is a winnable conflict — and they’re the ones dodging IEDs and enemy gunfire. If they can support the war under those incredibly trying circumstances either they are hopelessly gullible or far braver than the American body politic. (The antiwar crowd subtly and not-so-subtly intimates the former — witness John Kerry’s statement about being “stuck in Iraq.”)

I maintain it’s the latter. Our troops know the stakes, they have the most involvement in this conflict, and they see things a hell of a lot clearer from the ground in Iraq than we do through the lens of a media that is not neutral on this issue. When political “courage” constitutes saying what’s popular it is clear that one US soldier has more bravery than nearly the entire Congress put together.

The soldier interviewed by NBC is right — if we’re going to support the troops, we can’t divorce ourselves from supporting the mission. We can’t say we support our brave men and women fighting this war while cutting off their reinforcements and constantly impugning their ability and spitting on their mission.

6 responses to ““If They’re Going To Support Us, Support Us All The Way””

  1. Erica says:

    Anyone who wants to argue that such a view is even remotely patriotic under any rational definition of the word is debasing the meaning of the word into uselessness.

    Or, alternatively, anybody who thinks that statement meant that Michael Moore supports the terrorists is a complete buffoon – and therefore supremely qualified to write for Jayreding.com, I guess.

    Moore’s statement was about how the insurgency was viewed by Iraqis, and you know what? At the time he said it, it was 100% true. Maybe it’s less so, now. But when you see how our troops interact with the Iraqi people:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yco1deXOzN8&eurl=

    even if it’s by military or tactical necessity, we’re not exactly winning hearts and minds.

    There are some people who want to get our troops out of harm’s way, back home to their families and children. Those people are called “Americans.” And then there are people who want to keep them in that hellhole – indeed, send more of them into the meat grinder – out of a desire to salvage a president’s place in history. I leave it to your readers to determine what we should call them.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    Or, alternatively, anybody who thinks that statement meant that Michael Moore supports the terrorists is a complete buffoon – and therefore supremely qualified to write for Jayreding.com, I guess.

    And what do we call those who willfully misread what someone with a middle-school education can understand?

    Moore’s statement was about how the insurgency was viewed by Iraqis, and you know what? At the time he said it, it was 100% true. Maybe it’s less so, now.

    Of course! We all remember how the Minutemen went around and blew up the children of Boston, right? How they beheaded charity workers?

    But when you see how our troops interact with the Iraqi people:

    So what? I suspect that if that were in the US, they’d be doing the same. A military vehicle has the right of way, and if you choose to get in the way of such a vehicle, you’re liable to get pushed out of the way.

    even if it’s by military or tactical necessity, we’re not exactly winning hearts and minds.

    But apparently the people who choose to murder Iraqis en masse are… the lack of rational prioritization is shocking.

    And just look at the comments left at that video…

    There are some people who want to get our troops out of harm’s way, back home to their families and children. Those people are called “Americans.” And then there are people who want to keep them in that hellhole – indeed, send more of them into the meat grinder – out of a desire to salvage a president’s place in history. I leave it to your readers to determine what we should call them.

    Let’s take this statement apart, shall we?

    There are some people who want to get our troops out of harm’s way, back home to their families and children.

    So someone who thinks that we should have left Europe or Japan during the Second World War could make the same claim. It doesn’t make that person’s argument right.

    Furthermore, it’s the job of our troops to go into harm’s way. We have a volunteer military.

    One could say that they want to abandon the police so that no police officer would ever be shot. Even if true, it’s still not a particularly good argument.

    Those people are called “Americans.”

    So Osama bin Laden is now an American?

    And then there are people who want to keep them in that hellhole – indeed, send more of them into the meat grinder

    Again, the troops keep re-enlisting, and they seem to think that Iraq is not unwinnable. Perhaps they know something we don’t, especially given that they happen to be in Iraq?…

    out of a desire to salvage a president’s place in history.

    This is what psychologists call “projection” — as in someone projecting their monomania over the President onto others. The reason why I (and most, if not all supporters of this war) support it is because a loss would be deeply injurious to American interests and would hand al-Qaeda the greatest victory in their history.

    Of course, most anti-war activists don’t have the intellectual courage to confront the reality of what Iraq would be if we left — it’s all about attacking the President rather than weighing the options. Only a few (actually, Katha Pollitt being the only one I’m familiar with) seem to even be remotely concerned about the effects of their policies.

    I leave it to your readers to determine what we should call them.

    How about “people who can think” as opposed to people who just parrot what they heard from John Stewart?

  3. Erica says:

    I suspect that if that were in the US, they’d be doing the same. A military vehicle has the right of way, and if you choose to get in the way of such a vehicle, you’re liable to get pushed out of the way.

    What? No, c’mon. That’s bullshit. Not even ambulances shove regular drivers out of the way, and these guys weren’t flashing lights or any other kind of emergency sirens. Anyway, maybe you didn’t read my comments? It doesn’t matter whether or not our guys are legally or militarily or tactically justified in driving like complete assholes – that they do it is just one more reason the Iraqis don’t want us there.

    But apparently the people who choose to murder Iraqis en masse are…

    What, are you an idiot? There’s no such thing as an “Iraqi” any more. There’s Sunnis, and Shia, and Kurds; and none of them give two shits about what happens to the other two.

    That’s why the country is in a civil war.

    One could say that they want to abandon the police so that no police officer would ever be shot.

    The difference is, it’s not the job of American soldiers to be Iraqi policemen.

    Again, the troops keep re-enlisting, and they seem to think that Iraq is not unwinnable.

    What, every single one of them? You asked? Why do you insist on talking about our service personnel like they’re one monolithic group with only the GOP-approved stance on any issue? Did you not notice the huge number of servicemen and women who came back from Iraq and voted, or even ran, as Democrats? Or doesn’t reality fit in to the conservative ideology any more?

    Of course, most anti-war activists don’t have the intellectual courage to confront the reality of what Iraq would be if we left —

    The reality of what would happen? How could it be any worse than what’s happening now? And why would Iraq’s Shia majority, which would certainly remain the dominant actor at the end of the civil war, allow Sunni Al-qaeda to operate in their country?

    The conservative scare picture of Iraq devolving into a terrorist swamp doesn’t make any sense held against the ethnographics of the country.

  4. Erica says:

    Those people are called “Americans.”

    So Osama bin Laden is now an American?

    Uh-huh. So, suddenly, a majority of Americans are now just the same as Osama bin Laden to you?

    And you’re supposed to be some kind of patriot? You’re a clown, Jay.

  5. Mark says:

    So basically, the Commander in Chief SHOULD BE above criticism in any wartime since questioning either his/her judgment or the wisdom of the mission that American blood is being spilled for “sends the wrong signal to the troops and the enemy”? So if Bush decided to invade Australia tomorrow, we should all wave our flags in support “the mission” like good little automatons?

    “Patriots” like Jay Reding are an infinitely larger threat to the principle of Americanism than terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

  6. Jay Reding says:

    So basically, the Commander in Chief SHOULD BE above criticism in any wartime since questioning either his/her judgment or the wisdom of the mission that American blood is being spilled for “sends the wrong signal to the troops and the enemy”?

    My point is that the position that “supporting the troops” while actively undermining the mission is not logically consistent.

    So if Bush decided to invade Australia tomorrow, we should all wave our flags in support “the mission” like good little automatons?

    Then Bush would be exceeding his legal powers. Bush sought for and received Congressional approval to use force in Iraq. Our soldiers are committed and on the ground — and while cowardly politicians are trying to back away from the consequences of their own actions, they approved this action and they have an obligation to finish it.

    There’s a wide gulf between constructive, rational criticism and engaging in propagandizing for the enemy — a line which the left frequently crosses.

    “Patriots” like Jay Reding are an infinitely larger threat to the principle of Americanism than terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

    Of course, we all know that the very definition of loving one’s country is demanding that it suffer an unnecessary defeat… so by your definition of Americanism, Osama bin Laden is the very apotheosis of patriotism.

    Anyone who thinks that “dissent is patriotic” by virtue of merely being dissent is someone who is just parroting a particularly dumb bumper sticker slogan.