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November 15, 2005

I'm Busy, but for what it's worth...

I wish I had more time to address the issue with specific references, but I don't, so I'll throw out a few thoughts and maybe start a dialog in the milblogosphere...

From the Blogfather today:

EJ & TROOP MORALE [Jonah Goldberg]
The thing I honestly don't understand from folks like EJ Dionne (Ramesh links below) is when they write things like this:

"Bush was not subtle. He said that anyone accusing his administration of having 'manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people' was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. 'These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will,' Bush declared last week. 'As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them.'"

I can understand that liberals don't like to be told their arguments make the troops' job harder. Who would want to hear they're undermining the war effort?

Me: I've come to the conclusion that liberals don't like to hear their statements might "make the troops' job harder" not because they consider it unfair, inaccurate, or even insulting to the US military. They don't like it because they know it didn't play well enough in Peoria to be a winning information warfare strategy against their political opponents. That's it. Period. Dot. Alas, I think they now believe the majority of folks in Peoria are now on their side.

Sad, isn't it?

Undermining the war effort is, on the contrary, albeit privately, to them a "patriotic" thing since there can be no legitimate use of American power while the Left's political opponent occupies the Commander-in-Chief's residence. They cannot conceive of a Republican beginning, much less prosecuting in any kind of sustained way, any conflict outside our own borders. Hell, Bill Maher would prefer we fight inside our own borders.

This, remember, is the party that had Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore sitting side by side at the DNC Convention in 2004.

So, trying to read into these counterattacks by the Left and their MSM allies something like an honest sense of outrage over a perceived assault on their patriotism is a fool's errand. I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard a Democrat--elected official or national spokesman, in the last 5 years--honest-to-God say that this country is an exceptional one, the best hope in stemming the tide of barbarism around the workld and truly different and better than any other nation for its commitment to freedom, for the example it sets to other nations in countless ways (economic, social, political, military, spiritual), and for the sacrifices its many thousands of sons and daughters are willing to make.

Do I think EJ's sense of outrage is an honest one? Sure. Do I think he could distinguish between constructive criticism and an irresponsible diatribe from a member of his Party that encourages the enemy? Not if it walked up and bit him in the ass.

But what EJ and so many others almost always fail to do is answer whether they think it's actually true. Does EJ think Bush is lying when he says that showing a lack of resolve is harmful to troop morale and/or encouraging to our enemies? Or does EJ think it is true but nobody should say it?

I mean that seems like an important part of the equation, doesn't it?

Me: I don't think he thinks Bush is lying. I think EJ thinks Bush is too dumb to recognize the "nuance" required to interpret his opponents' statements on the war as "patriotic," even though it makes the troops' jobs a little harder and America's job A LOT harder in convincing the enemies of civilization that we have the will and patience to resist and, ultimately, defeat them. In other words, I think Jonah is giving EJ too much credit as a writer thinking about the central argument/thesis in his product before he hits the "send" key.

Moreover, this seems like exactly the sort of thing military bloggers should address in a serious and thoughtful way. There's an inherent conflict for the Mainstream Media to address precisely this sort of question because the media knows that their -- often necessary -- coverage of the war has a negative impact on the war effort. It is the unnecessary coverage that annoys me, by the way. But therein lies another debate.

Me: Again, I think Jonah is being too kind. "Unnecessary coverage"--Hell, that isn't the problem. It's the blatantly inaccurate and lopsidedly negative coverage. Hello! For countless examples and whithering critique, go here.

What galls me to no end is how the American people have completely missed the counterinsurgency victories we are winning. Every. Effing. Day. For someone who's spent his entire professional career studying our past mistakes in prosecuting unconventional campaigns (me), Operation Iraqi Freedom needs to go down in the annals of US military history as one of the best examples of learning from past mistakes since, well, we've had a standing army.

Has it been perfect? Of course not. I'm sure there are a lot of other vets out there who would chuckle and say I overstate the case. Fine. But, personally, I think it has been bloody successful, given what we're up against. The advances have been breathtaking in their speed and the potential rewards will span generations. I just hope the Americam people can hang in there long enough in spite of the EJ Dionnes, John Kerrys, Ted "Scuba" Kennedys, Michael Moores, Cindy Sheehans and Jimmy Carters. THAT'S what pisses off the troops and undermines the war effort. Putting one's life on the line to liberate over 50 million. Coming home without some of your friends...and watching a constant battering of the rightness of the cause by the EJs, the Dems and, yes, the RINOs that runs a very real chance of making it all for naught.

Still, from the email I get from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, I get the sense that some of the Democrats' efforts are decidedly unhelpful though these readers are generally more dismissive than outraged. But there are some obvious problems here. For example, I get email from soldiers and marines generally sympathetic to my politics. So it would make sense they'd be peeved at the Dems.

Anyway, I think this is a really interesting and overlooked topic. And simply because liberals whine when it's raised doesn't mean it's not true or worth discussing.

Me: Jonah senses an atmosphere out here as "...generally more dismissive than outraged..." Well, yeah, since our expectations of both the "loyal" (cough) opposition and their MSM political allies are so low. It's hard to get mad any more and even harder to be surprised at anything they say.

[Update: See the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry for Bill's, and eventually, John's, views on the subject]

Bill's View:


Okay--my two cents (previously adjusted for inflation):

"I can understand that liberals don't like to be told their arguments make the troops' job harder."

They don’t like to be told that because it means their efforts are transparent and their underlying agenda is showing. Liberals don’t *care* if the troops’ job is made harder; they don’t like the troops to begin with, and consider application of the military to anything other than “humanitarian” operations a waste of time and money, especially since that money could be spent on new, improved, or expanded “entitlement” programs--and the Armed Forces just isn’t that big a block of voters.

"Who would want to hear they're undermining the war effort?"

Ummmm--Liberals. In particular, Liberals who think that, by undermining the war effort, they will ultimately succeed in convincing the American public that they--the Liberals--were absolutely correct in their assessment that the war is an unjust one, being fought for all the wrong reasons and entered into on the basis of a pack of lies perpetrated by an out-of-control POTUS. Bearing in mind, of course, the Lib definition of a lie is, “Whatever contradicts what we happen to be saying at the time.”

"But what EJ and so many others almost always fail to do is answer whether they think it's actually true. Does EJ think Bush is lying when he says that showing a lack of resolve is harmful to troop morale and/or encouraging to our enemies? Or does EJ think it is true but nobody should say it?"

The question is moot, actually. Liberals are like the Red Queen, insofar as belief--even in the impossible--goes...

"I mean that seems like an important part of the equation, doesn't it?"

Only if you have a logical mind. Liberals are not logical, they are creatures of emotion. Whether or not something is true has no bearing on the subject under discussion. To a Lib’s way of thinking; the only criteria are:
a. "Did I advance my agenda?” and
b. “Did I achieve catharsis?”

"There's an inherent conflict for the Mainstream Media to address precisely this sort of question because the media knows that their -- often necessary -- coverage of the war has a negative impact on the war effort."

The MSM’s coverage of this war, from what I have seen, is the same as its coverage was of my war--too much of it is fraught with spin, innuendo and self-serving lies. “Necessary coverage” must also be “truthful coverage.”

"Still, from the email I get from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, I get the sense that some of the Democrats' efforts are decidedly unhelpful though these readers are generally more dismissive than outraged."

Your correspondents show the typical reaction of most uniformed types in this matter, to wit:

*shrug*

Roughly translated, it means either, “Well, what did you expect?” or “It’s not worth the effort to even get upset with them--and I have more important things to worry about.”

"For example, I get email from soldiers and marines generally sympathetic to my politics. So it would make sense they'd be peeved at the Dems."

Reverse what you perceive as cause and effect in those two sentences, Jonah, and I think the picture might become a bit clearer…

Heh.

Dusty | Permalink | Comments (7) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
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