Wednesday column, with links

Where have all the heroes gone?
Nowhere, actually

By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
    APPARENTLY, there are no war heroes any more. At least, there are none that America feels like lifting up as examples and celebrating. This was the premise of a piece in The New York Times’ Week in Review section Sunday that explained some things to me.
    There are, of course, actual heroes in the war on terror. The Times piece gave the names of three of them.
    The problem is, I hadn’t heard of them. You probably hadn’t, either. And the contrast between that ignorance on our part, and the way Sgt. Alvin York and Audie Murphy (whose picture, portraying himself in the autobiographical Hollywood movie, “To Hell and Back,” was the dominant feature of the section’s front page) were lionized during and after their wars, is striking — and shocking. And stupid, if, as the story suggests, it reflects a deliberate policy decision on the part of our government.
    The three mentioned were:

    In an earlier age, Sgt. Hester would have been brought home and sent across the country to sell War Bonds. But we don’t do that today, and not only because there are no War Bonds. (Remember, in this war, the homefront is not being asked to sacrifice in any way whatsoever; instead, we have tax cuts and soaring deficits.)
    The NYT piece gave the following, admittedly speculative, “reasons” for this: “(P)ublic opinion on the Iraq war is split, and drawing attention to it risks fueling opposition; the military is more reluctant than it was in the last century to promote the individual over the group; and the war itself is different, with fewer big battles and more and messier engagements involving smaller units of Americans. Then, too, there is a celebrity culture that seems skewed more to the victim than to the hero.”
    Amen to that last. Who get portrayed as heroes? Jessica Lynch and football star Pat Tillman — both victims. One was wounded and captured, the other killed by friendly fire.
    And we hear about the mostly unsung victims who are killed, without any chance to fight back, by roadside IEDs. The message we get from that? “There’s just no use in continuing to try.”
    The actual heroes do get mentioned. President Bush spoke of Sgt. Peralta — a Mexican immigrant who enlisted the day after he got his “green card” — at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast (surely you heard about it). And Sgt. Smith’s name pops up 154 times in the last two years in the news databases I searched. It’s sort of hard to keep the one Medal of Honor awarded in Iraq a complete secret, after all.
    But compare Sgt. Smith’s name recognition to Brad Pitt’s. Or Sgt. Hester’s to Janet Jackson’s. Or Rafael Peralta’s to Rafael Palmeiro’s. See what we elevate as worthy of our attention?
    Let’s confront another rationale the Times identified: Divided public opinion gives all the more reason to stress the nobility and achievements, not only of those who perform traditional acts of valor in combat, but of those who build schools, or train the new Iraqi army.
    Our leaders fear to confront attitudes such as this one, expressed by one Kevin Canterbury in a letter to The Boston Globe:
    “I am disgusted by the American media’s glorification of the blood sport we call war,” he begins. (What glorification? Has this guy seen the news?) “Truly sincere, honorable people like Sergeant Rafael Peralta, who make almost superhuman sacrifices to protect freedom and democracy in America, are used as props to personalize and humanize the big lie that the Iraq debacle is a just and noble endeavor.æ.æ.æ. There is nothing romantic about this war.”
    No war was ever romantic. It is always an unbelievably horrible, nasty, bloody business. Society used to hide that, and do its best to romanticize combat. But to me, heroism means a lot more when depicted against the brutal reality: Are you more impressed by Audie Murphy in the sanitized battle scenes of “To Hell and Back,” or by the portrayal of Dick Winters’ deeds in HBO’s painfully realistic “Band of Brothers”?
    Those of us who believe this war is necessary should not flinch from its horrors. We should hold up what heroes manage to accomplish in spite of it all. Are we squeamish about the fact that the heroism of Sgts. Smith and Hester involved killing the enemy? Yes, we are; even I am. But I think most Americans would appreciate what they’ve done, if they knew enough about them.
Confront directly the attitudes of those like Mr. Canterbury who take the untenable stance of “supporting the troops but not the war.”
    As a political tactic, this is a smart improvement over the Vietnam-era practice of spitting (figuratively if not literally) on returning veterans. But when people say “support the troops by bringing them home,” I see it as spitting on the graves of the 1,800 who have already given their lives. That’s what abandoning Iraq would mean.
    Soldiers kill. Soldiers get killed — and not in pretty ways, keeling over saying “They got me,” without a trace of blood. They get killed in the manner of Sgt. Peralta, whose remains could only be identified by a tattoo on his shoulder.
    If we can’t face that, let’s give up on the whole thing. Let’s disband the military altogether, and just hope the rest of the world decides to show its gratitude by being nice to us from here on.
    Or we can face a grim task, and openly respect those who distinguish themselves in performing that task for us while we sit on our broad behinds watching the Michael Jackson trial.
    On the day after Sgt. Peralta died, his little brother received the first and last letter the Marine ever wrote to him. “Be proud of being an American,” he wrote. Young Ricardo Peralta should take that advice. And America, returning the favor, should be proud of his big brother.

24 thoughts on “Wednesday column, with links

  1. David

    Kudos to you for this editorial. Most of the anti-war sentiment is really anti-Bush sentiment. Where were these people, the Michael Moore wing of America, when Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark went into Bosnia. The bombing of the Chinese embassy there and the dropping of bombs on a civilian train loaded with innocents didnt receive a blip of protest from these same people. As for the NY Times, spotlighting the juvenile silliness of a few soldiers about 48 times on the FRONT page re Abu Graib prison says it all. This type of anti-American media coverage has probably incited more Muslim radicals to jihad than any Muslim cleric could have done. To me, every single person in the military is a form of hero, and deserves our utmost respect. We owe them a lifelong debt of gratitude for their service.

  2. Sandra Bennett

    So you’re in the mood for confrontation. You want to talk about spitting and pride and just who is and is not patriotic. You support this war which you knew was based on lies and justified it as for the greater good. No matter how much blood or money is poured into the black hole of Iraq it will not be fixed. I can’t imagine why you think otherwise. The paper gets all upset when terriosts strike in London. Where were the bold headlines when 26 children dies while accepting candy, or a week later when more than 100 were burned to death when a propane tanker was exploded beside them.
    It’s never enough for you and when your war doesn’t get all glorified and people are not enobled by the constant blood spilled and lives ruined you want to call names. I am amazed that you sneer at partianship and bias when you continued to JUSTIFY this incredibly rotten boondogle for the liars in the White House.

  3. hlitteer

    I agree with your statement that, “those of us who believe this war is necessary should not flinch from its horrors.” In fact, they should join the marines and go over to Iraq and become a hero. However, I do not believe that this so called war is being fought to “protect freedom and democracy in America”. I would appreciate your justification for making such a statement.
    World War2 vet.

  4. Sam Quick

    I’m from Bennettsvile too. 59 yrs old. now live in Cheraw. Read your editorials all the time. Most of the time agree. But your belief that the Iraq war is necessary confounds me. Please give me what you think are the reasons we went to war in the first place?

  5. Mike C

    Looks like the ad hominem, to include the Chickenhawk variant, attacks have started early. One may feel better after one vents one’s spleen, but it’s embarrassing even to supporters because it does not advance the argument or attack. To many, in fact, it shows a weakness, an absence of constructive ideas or logical arguments.
    Brad stated some facts in contrasting news media coverage and gets accused of supporting something he knew was a lie. That doesn’t advance the argument.
    The web-savvy keep daily track of the heroes here with Dawn Patrol and with the other milbloggers. Go ahead and make fun of Greyhawk and his spouse. Greyhawk served in Baghdad and believes, like the overwhelming majority of troops who’ve served there, that this war is worth it. Even the wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center check in to spout their hatred of the evil Rumsfeld.
    Bush frequently mentions heroes, but his words are not widely reported. Does Brad know that President Bush honored an injured Twin Cities military chaplain during an address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in May 2005 in Washington, D.C.?

    “This morning we pray for the many Catholics who serve America in the cause of freedom,” Bush said at the second annual event. “One of them is an army chaplain named Tim Vakoc. He’s a beloved priest who was seriously wounded in Iraq last May. We pray for his recovery; we’re inspired by his sacrifice.

    I’m surprised that Brad didn’t mention a journalist hero, Steven Vincent, murdered in Basra for reporting the truth. He’s the author of In the Red Zone, the name he also chose for his website.
    Finally, I’d like to note that a lot of Americans are supporting the war in ways that are poorly covered by the national media. There are grassroots efforts to support the troops to which many folks contribute. Spirit of America is a great one. The Digital Goddess has two whole pages of web sites sponsored by folks soliciting voluntary donations to help the troops. For example, Operation Air Conditioner, started by a mom concerned about her son’s welfare, is still going strong. And if you want to help even a little, she’s got a list of things the troops can use.
    Most folks I know who have a family member over there do what they can to provide support. My family sent packages every two weeks to my nephew and his guys, a platoon leader involved in some of the dirtiest fighting. He’s quoted in this article.
    Next week a friend, a local guy, is coming home after working as a civilian for a year in and out of Iraq. He had to kill a few bad guys who were trying to kill him, and spent his little spare time teaching English to Iraqi troops. He’s a big, gentle guy, but please be polite, for your sake, if you try to tell him it wasn’t worth it. He knew Steven Vincent and left Basra a day before Steven was killed. Here are his thoughts:

    Steven had the personal courage to come here and see for himself, then to write in an honest way to advance our knowledge and understanding of this complex part of the world. I will miss not being able to finish our conversation. My thoughts are with his wife and friends.

    Sorry for hogging your blog. I’ll try to keep to my own.

  6. Brad Warthen

    No, problem, Mike. In fact, I’ve been worried that with you starting your own blog, you won’t be contributing to this one (that’s what Cindi Scoppe keeps telling me, anyway).
    I might as well share with everyone the replies I sent to Sandra Bennett and “hlitteer.” I’ll make my response to Sam Quick in a separate posting, as soon as I get a little time (if I let that one get away from me, everyone remind me), because I think it’s worth that.
    To Sandra Bennett:
    Three quick points:
    — Who brought up patriotism? Not I.
    — You know, saying the war “was based on lies” over and over again, as war opponents do, doesn’t make it so. Cite to me, and document, one single lie, and I’ll discuss it with you. (And please don’t waste time with the one about faulty intelligence on WMD — which pretty much everyone, including those who opposed military action, believed at the time was accurate — as one of your “lies” — unless you have some proof I haven’t heard about that someone KNEW it was inaccurate and said otherwise — which is basically what is needed to meet the objective standard for “lie.”)
    — Yes, indeed, I am appalled at partisanship, and it bothers me how much of it I see on both sides of this debate. Whether this war is right or not is not about parties, or about who is in the White House (although a lot of sloppy-thinking partisans make the assumption that it is). That’s why I like, and identify with, someone like Tom Friedman. He can’t stand Bush, but as he puts it, “some things are true even if George Bush believes them.”
    To “hlitteer:”
    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t say that. The anti-war guy who wrote to The Boston Globe said that. I don’t think you read the piece very carefully. Here’s the link so you can read it again…
    Until later,
    Brad Warthen

  7. Joe Smith

    Well, my President said we can best support the war effort by going on with our lives and continuing to keep the economy alive.
    So, really, when I ignore the war and play video games on my new widescreen TV, I’m actually being a decicated patriot.
    Heck, forget the troops. Where’s MY medal? You think that TV came cheap?
    As for all this “deficit” nonsense, who cares? I don’t have any kids, so why should I care if YOUR grandkids are going to get stuck with the bill? Are you saying your grandkids are too unpatriotic to foot the bill?
    Now, I’ve got some DVD’s to buy. I’ve got a country to serve, after all.

  8. james potter

    i think you raise a good point about honoring our troops, but feel you are tying this requirement to an unpopular war. the troops are all volunteers and i hope their sacrifices are chronicled in a book or movie. what becomes difficult, however, to equate their heroism to unpopular policies in iraq. you only touch on the administration’s problems in touting heroism and sacrifice by soldiers: the failure to show pictures of returning flag draped coffins, the president’s failure to attend soldier funerals, the two examples of pentagon “heroes” whose stories were not truthfully told all lead to most people not focussing on the sacrifices soldiers and their families make in time of war. i am not sure this phenomenon is any different in the cases of the korean war, somalia or lebanon. i think it is very difficult today to make a soldier’s brave actions a news story in a divided public which is focussed on a peacetime world.

  9. Brad Warthen

    You know, people keep mentioning that — not enough flag-draped coffins, the president not going to enough funerals — and I have to wonder what created this expectation.
    James, you mention that the problem is that this is an “unpopular war.” So let’s talk about a “popular war.” How many flag-draped coffins appeared in the news during World War II? How many funerals did FDR attend? Maybe he attended lots of them, but it seems doubtful.
    Lord knows he had enough opportunities. Why, the casualties from his policy of daylight bombing alone would have kept him busy 24 hours a day. And remember, those U.S. planes were quite deliberately carpet-bombing cities — something we would never do today.
    I know that our society is much more about “feelings” than it used to be. Just look at what passes for news on television these days — an interview just isn’t complete until somebody breaks down and sheds real tears. And the president is supposed to be the Empathizer in Chief. But I just can’t get into that.
    Our last president was an ace at that sort of thing — nobody better. In fact, it’s one of the reasons he got elected twice. I don’t say that to be unkind to him — obviously, he was a brilliant man and had the chops to make it on the basis of his intellect, plus his many other political gifts. But he also was into the touchy-feely stuff in a way that was a turnoff for me.
    Our current president has many profound flaws. The biggest is that he could blow this enterprise in Iraq that I believe it is critically important for our nation to succeed in. And he has two left feet when it comes to political skills. But his lack of affinity for the emotional side of things is not one of his many flaws in my book. That’s just my way. And I don’t think it means necessarily that I’m an insensitive jerk (maybe it does, just not necessarily). I just feel things strongly enough without somebody milking it to death.

  10. kc

    To Sandra Bennett:
    Three quick points:
    — Who brought up patriotism? Not I.

    Golly, how could anyone have gotten the idea that you were impugning anyone’s patriotism? Maybe it was that “spitting on their graves” comment, possibly?
    To “hlitteer:”
    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t say that. The anti-war guy who wrote to The Boston Globe said that. I don’t think you read the piece very carefully. Here’s the link so you can read it again…

    The mistake was understandable, given the lousy formatting of the post. I had to read it twice to get it straight.

  11. mil

    Have been reading the NY Times artices about Cindy Sheehan. Tried to find anyting from The State. Search revealed nothing. Why have we not seen anything about this? The only way we will ever get out of Iraq is more body bags or more Gold Star Mom and Dad’s showing up on George’s front steps. To support our troops we need to get them out of harms way. This conflict is useless. Bring them home now.
    Thanks for your blog.

  12. Mark Whittington

    I attempted (unsuccessfully) to post the following missive earlier this evening.
    I’ve been debating whether or not to respond to your column, but after careful consideration of the matter, I would like to make a few comments. I believe that you need to retract this piece. Many people are offended by your presumption of personal patriotic superiority, which you in no wise have a claim. Also, your column sounds like a threat against those who oppose your views.
    I can’t remember an editor of a major newspaper actually encouraging confrontation among its readership. I think that you are trying to intimidate people who disagree with your views. I spoke with three fellow veterans (one of whom served in Vietnam) today, and they all oppose the war. Are we unpatriotic? Do you think that I am unpatriotic? God help the unfortunate one who follows your poor advice, and makes the grievous error of directly confronting (accosting) me based on my views of the war. I’m not going to be threatened into silence.
    I don’t need you to question my patriotism. As far as I can tell, you’ve done nothing to serve the country-ever. Perhaps you have been privileged your entire adult life and you feel guilty that you’ve done nothing to serve the country. Perhaps your clouded judgment in the rush to war got 1800 Americans killed based on lies. Perhaps your own actions are tantamount to spitting on the graves of the dead.
    Mark Whittington

  13. Mike C

    I don’t mean to sound offensive to your critics, Brad, but the Bush-haters were merely obnoxious when the man came into office (“Selected not elected”), but seem to have contracted rabies at some point in 2002. I should note that Bush has critics all over the political spectrum, but he’s got supporters all over too.
    As for Mark and crew, no one has questioned your patriotism, so I find your insecurity puzzling. From your previous posts on Brad’s blog, I know that you oppose the war and don’t much care for Bush. But in lieu of producing an argument, you imply that he’s a Chickenhawk, intending it as a slur as near as I can see. You need to stop such ad hominem attacks; they are weak and convey an inability to formulate and advance logical arguments. I could, for example, remark that I’m typing this slowly so that you can understand this, but I’m a SNAG (sensitive, New-Age guy) who’d never sink to such parlor tricks to gain advantage over an opponent. How about some fact-based argument? With links? As I recall, you cite the Downing street papers as proof that Bush lied about Iraq’s WMD, but ignore the fact that the same papers show that Blair’s cabinet was concerned that Saddam would employ WMD in the event of an attack. But I digress. I enlisted in the US Army in 1971, I re-enlisted and served a total of six years, I was honorably discharged, and I was a member of the Teamsters union, so you may drop any and all of your usual slurs in addressing what I have to say, okay?
    The New Republic’s Senior Editor Jonathan Chait attempted a defense of this hatred in his 9/18/2003 tirade “The Case For Bush Hatred: Mad About You.” Here’s the opener:

    I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it. I think his policies rank him among the worst presidents in U.S. history. And, while I’m tempted to leave it at that, the truth is that I hate him for less substantive reasons, too. I hate the inequitable way he has come to his economic and political achievements and his utter lack of humility (disguised behind transparently false modesty) at having done so. His favorite answer to the question of nepotism–“I inherited half my father’s friends and all his enemies”–conveys the laughable implication that his birth bestowed more disadvantage than advantage. He reminds me of a certain type I knew in high school–the kid who was given a fancy sports car for his sixteenth birthday and believed that he had somehow earned it. I hate the way he walks–shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks–blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudo-populist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing– a way to establish one’s social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most people who meet Bush claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more.

    It goes downhill after that; I get the impression that Mr. Chait is not one of Bush’s big fans. America’s Rabbi penned a timely and apt response. Perhaps it is the case that some Bush-haters take umbrage at any hint that they’re unpatriotic because they’re, er, unpatriotic. For now I’ll simply assume that their need to see Bush fail is so great that they do not care what such failure might entail for the country.
    I was waiting for someone to mention Cindy Sheehan, the latest prop in the war against Bush. The poor woman is quite bitter about losing a son in Iraq and is camped out in Crawford demanding to see the president to give him a piece of her mind. MoDo of the NYT likes her and complains that Bush has not tried to soothe the woman with a cup of tea and some sympathy. I wonder why he won’t meet a woman who wrote that “the biggest threat to our safety, humanity, and our way of life in America are George and his cronies.” Bush did meet with her last year – as he has met with thousands of survivors of service personnel killed in Iraq – but she apparently then held her tongue. I think Michelle puts it into perspective, and even nails the grief pimps.
    As for what appears in The State versus what appears in the New York Times, the former is a great paper while the latter used to be.
    I’m a news and information junkie who’s lamented the NYT’s slide into irrelevance. Not too many years ago, the editorial pages of that paper was centrist with a slight tilt to the left, but the news operation was solid. If a story had national or international significance, they were on it like a Byrd on pork with solid reporting and follow-up. It covered New York City and New York state pretty durn well too.
    But something happened. One would think that they’d be on top of a scandal where over $800K in grants earmarked for kids and the disabled were “lent” by a New York charity to a talk-radio operation, a case so egregious that the New York state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat running to be the state’s next governor, has opened an investigation. But not a word so far in the NYT.
    There is a Columbia connection. Air America’s flagship New York City station is housed on Park Avenue at WLIB-AM, owned by Inner City Broadcasting , the company that owns WOIC-AM 1230, the local outlet for Air America.

  14. Mike C

    Mark –
    I am trying to help. Really.
    You need to first think about “Losing the Iraq War – Can the left really want us to?”. Christopher Hitchens is a man of the left, a Trotskyite, in fact, who supports the Iraq war with unmatched fervor. I can think of nothing else that he and Bush agree on.
    Then you need to consider the ruminations of this guy, also a supporter of the Iraq war, but who spends much time and energy engaging the war’s British leftist critics. In the blog entry cited, however, he considers the arguments from the right against the war and comes to an interesting conclusion, one that I agree with: right-wing opposition to the war is based on a coherent set of principles that many on the left could adopt.
    You and yours are against the war, against Bush, are against globalization, against the immigrant invasion, against support to Israel, etc. With these and other points you are in agreement with Pat Buchanan and a host of what others call paleo-conservatives, or paleo-cons for short. Their main point is that the US should expend blood and treasure only for well-defined self-interest. I seriously think that you would agree with over 75% of what these folks have to say. In fact, I believe that Buchanan has expressed some degree of sympathy for trade unions. But hey, it’s late and this is your homework, not mine. You really do need to google these guys up and consider adopting their arguments. Here’s one of the leading sites.

  15. Mark Whittington

    I think you are confusing me with a well meaning liberal concerning the Downing street paper situation. Mephistopheles, know thine enemy. I don’t know how sensitive you are, but I suspect that you are a forgetful, aged guy. Did the Teamsters kick you out?
    Math Bigot

  16. Mike C

    Mark –
    I stand — er actually I’m sitting — corrected. You wrote: “There were no weapons of mass destruction, Bush knew it, and he lied about it.” You did not cite the Downing Street memos. You made an assertion and did not back it up with a link, a citation, or any other form of supporting evidence or argument. My apologies.
    I left the Teamsters voluntarily to keep on truckin’ down a path of my own. As for my age and memory, er what was the question? I still have my good looks.

  17. Brad Warthen

    To Mike C:
    Thanks for sticking up for me and all, and once again, I’m glad that starting your own blog hasn’t stopped you from contributing to mine.
    But I need to set you straight on a couple of points. First, I am not a supporter of Mr. Bush, either. I wish with all my heart that someone whose judgment I trust — preferably Tony Blair — were in charge of prosecuting this war.
    Second, while I truly appreciate your kind words about The State, the NYT is still a great newspaper, and quite possibly the best published in English, in terms of comprehensive coverage at least. And that’s no slur against my own paper. I’m proud of The State. But my paper has only a small fraction of the resources of The Times, and The Times uses those resources very intelligently. Do I agree with all of their editorial positions? No; in fact, I think some of them are positively sophomoric. Do I sometimes see assumptions based on those opinions creep into news judgments? Yes. But that’s because folks who work at The Times, whether in editorial or news, tend to share certain world views, and even the best journalists are human. I believe the editors do their best to keep news bias from happening — and their best is pretty awesome.
    Just a couple of quibbles there. I would have backed up my points with some links, but I still haven’t learned how to do that with your facility — in the comments mode, anyway. It’s much easier in postings.

  18. Brad Warthen

    I went to kc’s blog ( to respond to that correspondent’s comment above, as well as to something I found on that site. Here’s what I wrote:
    “I don’t see your e-mail address, so I’ll just leave my question here.
    “You cited ‘lousy formatting’ in my post. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could improve it? I’m serious; I’d like the advice. Basically, there is no formatting now. I just took my column and slapped it in there, adding a few links. If there’s a better way, I’m eager to learn. (I could have set if off with indentations, I suppose, but I didn’t do it that way in the column, and I try not to ‘cheat’ by making changes between the two media — which could be a mistake on my part.)
    “Oh, another thing. I regret that some people think I was trying to denigrate either Pat Tillman or Jessica Lynch. I consider them to be heroes, too. But they are also victims, and I think that’s ONE of the reasons they resonate so strongly in our victim-oriented culture. To clarify, let me add what I said in an e-mail to Tom Turnipseed yesterday (the context was that I was thanking him for a letter rebutting my column): ‘I should probably elaborate on a point, though. While they are mainly “victims,” I would say Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman were also heroes — just not as much so as the other three I mentioned. They did deliberately put their lives on the line, and that makes them much more heroic than I’ll ever be. It’s not their fault the way their stories came out; they did what was asked of them. I had originally referred to them as “heroes,” with quotation marks, but decided that was really unfair and wrong of me to seem to be heaping irony on that title with respect to them. They deserved better, so I changed it on the proof.’
    “And looking back on that now, I wish I hadn’t said ‘mainly victims.’ What I should have said was that was mainly why I was bringing them up — because they were also victims.”

  19. Doug Ross

    Go back and review Colin Powell’s speech before the U.N. in February of 2003. Review the dog and pony show he gave with all his exhibits and pictures and props. Check out the part where he calls the audio and photographic evidence of WMD’s “irrefutable”.
    That’s a pretty strong word. Not “possible”, not
    “suspected”, not “potentially”. IRREFUTABLE.
    At the time, the Iraqi U.N. ambassador called the allegations “utterly unrelated to the truth.”
    Who lied?
    “Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.” -Bruce Springsteen, “War,” Live 1975

  20. kc

    Mr. W, I responded to your question in my comments section.
    I see (in your DeMint post above) that you’re standing by your “spitting on their graves” characterization, though you’re willing to apply it in a bipartisan fashion.
    I’m not one of those people who advocates pulling out now – I think this country, having propped up Saddam, and then recklessly invaded Iraq with virtually no forethought or planning, now has a solemn obligation to do whatever it takes to make things better over there. We need to fix what we broke. Spend whatever it takes, send as many troops as it would take, whatever. Let Bush get out there and humble himself before the world trying to get more nations on board.
    The thing is, I’m not sure what it would take. Isn’t it possible that things will continue to deteriorate the longer we occupy Iraq? I wonder at what point you would start to reconsider your position.

  21. Jerry W

    One sentence in your column especially bothers me, probably because I find myself being attacked. That sentence is “Confront directly the attitudes of those like Mr. Canterbury who take the untenable stance of ‘supporting the troops but not the war.’” The question for me is how much “like” Mr. Canterbury I am. I would’t agree with the quotation from him but I do agree with the stance that you judge to be untenable.
    How much does your argument depend on the specifics of Mr. Canterbury’s view? I would compare it to the viewpoint of a father, Paul Schroeder, who has recently lost his son in combat (see, excuse me, an interview with Chris Matthews At the end of the interview with him and his wife, he takes the same stance that you appear to condemn in Mr. Canterbury.
    I happen to be “like” Paul Schroeder more than Mr. Canterbury. I don’t see why what he said, out of the context he said it, is in any way untenable. The only reason to think so might be that a patriotism of a most narrow kind would seek to deny the real patriotism of a family who has paid a truly high cost in personal loss. Aside from this very important difference in my own case, that is the same reaction I have to your judgment.


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