Candor from a hardcore anti-war leftist

Joel Stein writes in today’s LATimes that he does not support the troops, and urges those who are against this war to follow his lead. Oftentimes you wonder how hardcore anti-war leftists (like Code Pink types) can say they “support the troops” yet at the same time say they “hate the war.” Stein, with refreshing – even if repugnant – candor, explains that they can’t … and shouldn’t:

I DON’T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I’m sure I’d like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you’re wandering into a recruiter’s office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I’ve got no problem with other people β€” the ones who were for the Iraq war β€” supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I’m not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken β€” and they’re wussy by definition. It’s as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn’t to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there β€” and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn’t going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He’s going to be looking for funnel cake.

Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren’t really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of “Laguna Beach.”

The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.

I understand the guilt. We know we’re sending recruits to do our dirty work, and we want to seem grateful.

After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.

There you have it. If you can stomach it, read the whole thing. If you can’t stomach reading it all, read Mark In Mexico’s dissection of it instead. Mark nails it, especially at the end:

I think the guilt trip here is that of Stein, himself. A liberal wuss, a coward and a traitor who can’t even run to Canada, now. It is little wonder that the LAT ship is sinking faster than the Titanic.


Others blogging about this: QandO, Ace, Michelle Malkin, The Jawa Report, Say Anything, Outside the Beltway, Myopic Zeal, 4 The Little Guy

Update: Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive’s blog slams Stein – consider that one a must read! (Hat tip: Jeff Goldstein)

Update II 11:34 PM: Hugh Hewitt interviewed Stein today. Don’t miss it.

Update III Wednesday 12:22 AM: Check out Jim Treacher’s parody of Joel Stein. Heheh!

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