E.C. Hopkins: I take your point. My very angry language is directed as much against the clichés of compliance as against individual soldiers. SJ: What was that you were saying about crude language & the left? Brendan: You say a "representative democracy . . . decided to send troops to Iraq." No. A small anti-democratic clique within the US government "decided." Democracy's got nothing to do with it & that's my beef. As for paying my taxes, don't you know that liberals love taxes? So, sure, I'm a moral coward for not becoming a tax protester. How about you? Anything you dislike about the government enough to withhold your taxes? As for my NEA & NEH grants, I'm surprised you didn't turn up my Fulbright to Vietnam. By the way, are you also outraged by the corrupt no-bid contracts to politically connected corporations that have cost us all billions of dollars? JA: Thank you for this information about military law. It does make a difference to my argument. Obviously, I do hold the morally corrupt political leadership, along with its military & civilian bureaucracy, responsible. My post was intended to penetrate the hard shell of cliché that surrounds all discussions of the military in Iraq. Mark Jaeger: You & "die hippie die" would like to beat me up or see me beaten up or killed. What the fuck sort of moral universe do you live in? Rob: I think we ought to love & respect those young people enough to treat them like adults with serious moral responsibilities, not like recruits for a children's crusade.Finally, to those who thanked me for coming clean & admitting what opponents of the war have supposedly always thought, thanks. But even a cursory reading of my post reveals that I have not hoped for the "defeat" of "the troops." I would like to have them all tucked safely into their beds at home after a careful withdrawal from Iraq combined with a massive diplomatic & international effort to mitigate the effects of the Bush administration's disastrous intervention. Such an effort would no doubt cost the US as much as the war. So, no, Jon, I don't wish for your personal defeat. But defeat was written into the DNA of this war from day one. Those who determined your "defeat" are those who conceived the war & the subsequent occupation of Iraq. Update: The post below has garnered more comment than anything I've written online -- all the way from a Free Republic Moonbat Alert, complete with threats of violence accompanied by my photograph, to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which couldn't bring itself to print my final phrase. Further reading: Digby at Hullabaloo has a full discussion of the right wing celebration of atrocity in war & the way in which the militarist mind turns on those soldiers it deems to have betrayed them. Remember, it was American Legion members who really spit on returning Vietnam vets, not the dirty hippies of the myth.
It is remarkable the kind of vitriol you encounter when you ask people to think about the clichés to which they have committed themselves. I am grateful to those who understood what I was trying to get across, whether they agree with me about the war & the moral responsibility of those fighting it or not; as for the majority of those who posted comments, they speak for themselves. Truly. I did want to take time to respond to a few individuals, however: