This column in the Los Angeles Times by Joel Stein, Warriors and wusses, has been getting some attention today, mainly in the form of outrage that anyone would come right out and admit they “don’t support our troops.” He tries to bury his point in snarky humor, but it’s pretty clear he really believes the central theme of the article.
First, we must applaud Mr. Stein for at least being honest. Sure, his viewpoint is morally confused drivel, but at least he doesn’t hide his real view, like so many on the left do these days: “This is an illegal, immoral, unjust, fascist, Hitler-esque, neo-con war to enrich Bush’s oil buddies – but I support the troops!” It’s that formulation that’s truly insulting.
But the part of his article that really stuck out was this paragraph:
But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you’re not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you’re willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it’s Vietnam.
It’s interesting because it illustrates what seems to be a common position on the left – approval of U.S. military action in Kosovo, but complete disapproval of military action in Iraq. The left was either supportive or silent when President Clinton ordered the action in Kosovo. They certainly weren’t taking to the streets en masse with “Clinton=Hitler” signs. In what parallel universe is there any rational basis for reconciling these two positions? There was no assertion that Kosovo was pursuing WMD or posed any security threat to the United States. Remember, these folks opposed the invasion of Iraq before the invasion and subsequent investigation found no stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, when when the consensus view was that Iraq had such weapons. Some argue now as if they knew there were no WMD (not that the existence of WMD stockpiles was the sole rationale for the invasion, but no need to rehash all that now) when they opposed the invasion before it began. But that’s gross revisionism.
We suspect in this case that Stein isn’t what you’d call a deep thinker and likely just went along with the liberal zeitgeist – Vietnam bad, Kosovo good, Iraq bad, etc. – without giving it much thought. (Update: Mr. Stein is being interviewed on the radio by Hugh Hewitt, and confirming this hypothesis.)
Update: Here is that great essay on the “voice of the neuter” that’s been getting lots of attention the last few days. Worth a read.