An honest liberal

Joel Stein wrote, in today’s Los Angeles Times,

Warriors and wusses

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.

At last, an anti-war activist (?) who is willing to tell the truth. Mr. Stein said what a lot of other liberals feel, but are too afraid to say.

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 — 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.

He continued, a few paragraphs further down:

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.

I’d guess that a lot of liberals would not agree with Mr. Stein’s sentence that “blaming the president is a little too easy.” They’d object that the soldiers must obey their orders, while Mr. Stein is making the soldiers responsible because they have not rebelled. But he comes very near to the real conundrum for the left: to support our troops is to support the success of their mission. If the mission succeeds, fewer soldiers are killed, and the troops get to return to the United States sooner. And while there certainly are those who don’t support the war because they don’t believe it can be won, there is also a substantial segment of the opposition which doesn’t support the war because they don’t believe it should be won. Mr. Stein referred to it as “an army of people ignoring their morality,” by which, of course, he meant the troops, but the implication is clear: he considers their mission to be immoral.

We are in Mr. Stein’s debt. I spent part of the 2004 election season arguing in a mostly leftist e-mail group that to support the troops required wanting them to succeed, and desiring their success meant supporting something that would improve George Bush’s reelection chances. I was told that no, it didn’t mean that at all, even though one writer said, at one point, that if the deaths of American soldiers contributed to the electoral defeat of President Bush, they would have died for a good cause.

Well, Mr. Stein wrote publicly what so many of the leftists feel privately, but have been unwilling to say in public; perhaps a lot of them simply couldn’t admit it to themselves. I think it’s time for complete honesty here: those on the left who think that George Bush is a tremendous danger to the world ought to admit, to themselves and to the world, that they want the mission of the troops to fail.

And if that required increased deaths on the part of American troops, they ought to admit that such is a price they are willing to see our country pay.


Update: Mr. Stein was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, and didn’t necessarily come out of it looking good. Patterico addresses a point that I did not consider, namely that Mr. Stein assumed that his moral views controlled the moral views of the soldiers. A good discussion follows Patterico’s article.

Second Update: Keith Thompson of Sane Nation took the same position that I did:

At least he’s honest. He opposes taking the battle to the Islamofascists and so it follows he can’t bring himself to support the American soldiers who are on the front lines of that battle. None of this “Oppose the war but support the troops” stuff that Kerry, Kennedy, Boxer, Durbin, Dean and all the usual suspects stutter and stammer on a regular basis. Many find Joel Stein’s views vile. I find them refreshingly straightforward. Still, it’s evident he’s pulling his punch when he says “I’m against the war. (I have no regrets) if this helps us get out of that war and bring our troops home safely.” It’s hard not to hear something very much like: “The more dead American soliders, the sooner the war will end. More U.S. blood, please.”

Hat tip to Sister Toldjah: Candor from a hardcore anti-war leftist.


  1. Ann Coulter had it right when she said, “Sure the liberals support our troops, why they hardly ever call them baby killers anymore.”

    Stein might want to consider that conscripts, on either side, don’t have much choice. The guys shooting at you don’t necessarily really care all that much how you got there, their only concern is you have a gun and might kill them first.

    By the time you arrive at the front line, it’s irrelevant what your opinions might be. You’re there, and someone’s going to die for his country. It’s kill or be killed. Best for you if it’s the other guy who gets to die for his country.

  2. By respecting that the troops have chosen to do their job, despite our disagreement with the actual agenda the war is about, I for one still honor that our troops for the most part should be revered for their willingness to give all for a “higher cause.”

    The tragedy is that they and the entire country have been lied to. It’s not about liberating anyone. It’s about obtaining resources for multi-national corporations. Once again, it’s the consolidation of government/military and corporations that play on an international field. Sadly, the soldiers are treated as checkers obtaining those resources. It’s all about globalization. Many soldiers are starting to realize that now. Sadly, they are in a “catch 22” situation. They are stuck. Their families are depending on their working. They gave themselves to the military, believing in a higher cause, and then they realize they are not fighting for what they thought. Most still think it’s about freedom. (sigh) Like Iraq was really a threat. No WMDs for a decade. All the weapons inspectors tried desperately to convey that, but sadly, got little or no airtime. (That damned liberal media)

  3. Ann Coulter is a sleazy bitch. She said that Max Cleland, (I don’t know if I spelled his name right, I doubt I did) the guy that lost three limbs in the VN war deserved it. She and her rattle are always full of distortions. She is vile.

  4. Well said Blubonnet.

    Yeah – you guys on the right support the troops – you support them to their deaths. At least us liberals were against the war and would have prevented over 2,000 of their deaths!

    I’m really surprised at you Dana, that’s really an asinine thing to imply.

  5. “…and would have prevented over 2,000 of their deaths! ”

    Was that when Dems were for the war, or afterwards when they were against it? Now that I think about it, it could well have been afterward, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to declare such a firm number of preventable deaths. But, OTOH had it been during the approved period, Dems really wouldn’t have much of a point, nor would they be able accurately to predict preventable death.

    Hummm, it doesn’t seem to work in either case. I think you may be out in the cold on this one, Psyberian.

  6. BJ,
    When you have a president that lies (and you are fool enough to believe him….that would be me….that would be you) then, changing your mind when you realize he’s a lying war profiteering slime ball, is a good and responsible decision. Continuing to support him, just because you started out in that direction, and are too chicken shit to admit a mistake, then just keep supporting the blood bath and lies, then that would make you slime ball as well, showing no respect for human life.

    Oh, but fetuses that are a few weeks into maturity, then you think it’s a sin to abort it, even if the fetus were allowed to fully develop and then not be taken care of sufficiently, because the woman wasn’t able to properly.

    Psyberian, I respect you for having more perspective than I in March 2003.

  7. Blu wrote:

    The tragedy is that they and the entire country have been lied to. It’s not about liberating anyone. It’s about obtaining resources for multi-national corporations. Once again, it’s the consolidation of government/military and corporations that play on an international field.

    OK, let’s crystalize that. When you wrote what you did above, it sure sounded to me as though you would like to see the mission fail. Please, be explicit: given that you believe the mission is something very different from how the President defined it, and given that you have defined our “real” objectives as basically imperialism, do you wish to see that mission fail?

    And realize what that would mean. The troops are already there, fighting. Since George Bush is committed to the mission, the troops will not simply be pulled out unless the mission is ended, whether successfully or not. To wish that the mission not succeed, because you disagree with imperialistic aims, means you wish to see more American soldiers killed, in sufficient numbers to cause the government to see the mission as having been defeated.

  8. Show me where it is written that the “compassion for life”, (CPL), anywhere on this planet is arbitrary to any other. Show me where there is a difference in the expectation of the quality of that life………….and I will call you a liar. Only because it has not been perceived, does it allow it, (the quality of ones life), to be un-equal in Gods eyes? Or, (leaving God out), if we say it should be equal, why not in your eyes?

    For those that have been impassioned only to the 2000+ men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and then not understand (or show the same outrage) for the 200k slaughtered on the same ground before them and not have allowed the same, (CPL), then you are pathetically, hypocritically, and morally wrong.

    Your liberal “friends” here Dana, (if in charge of running this country) would bring all our troops home (now), wait for the Mullas and Islamofacist to regroup, drop a nuke on us, and wonder “where’s the love”?


  9. “where’s the love”?

    Beats me, Rovin. I don’t see much love among Dana’s liberal friends who comment here. See above for examples: blu calls Ann Coulter “a sleazy bitch” and then says Ann’s “vile.”

    Next, Pysberian chimes in, he applauds blu and gives her a “Well said” for which she is both promptly and curiously grateful. Then he turns his attention to Dana, looks down his nose and professes indignation for an unidentified implication which Psy finds “asinine.”

    No, there’s little love and not much civility evident among Dems and Liberals these days. As their illusions crumble before their eyes, and their delusions betray them, BDS invades and poisons the Lefty soul.

    Once established, it festers and metastasizes. Blinded and numb with hate, the Moonbats remain largely unaware while the cancer spreads undetected. As the core rots, the hate and name calling is all that remain.

    Until the grim reality of the next election slaps them up side their puddin’ heads again.

  10. Dana,
    I was with you a while back, believing that since we are already there, and there have been the deaths of so many soldiers thus far, it would be all the more profane to abandon the mission. If I thought it was truly going to work, and bring a better life to the Iraqis, since we’re already knee deep in alligators, I’d keep supporting it. However, it has become apparent that they want us out desperately. The policies of this president from torture to false propaganda, random bombing that started back in 91(not GWBush), sanctions that killed at least a half a million children, using depleted uranium, and many other horrid, and documented crimes of humanity, it’s obvious to the Iraqis, that it’s not them we really gve a damn about. There’s much more to say as far as abuses that have taken place, but I will stop there.

    There are protests almost daily in Iraq. They want us out. There was obvious neglect and abuse while Hussein ran things, but he did a few things right. One of them was to distribute food to the people. People are not able to eat, and so crime is rampant now. It’s pure despair. So, the insurgents have done what they can to make us leave. Instead of us making progress, they have made progress in leaps and bounds.

    Our recruitment of US soldiers has declined as you know, because Bush downright abuses our soldiers, from cutting combat pay, to inadequately caring for vets. The list goes on, but I’ll stop there, on that subject.

    The number of attacks a day in Iraq are astonishingly high now. Sadly, they are winning. We don’t even know who is actually a jihaadist and who is just a countryman sick to death of us bombing them. All of them have horror stories of either a good friend or a family member killed by us. Of course, the insurgents are brutal, but if you look at the facts, you’ll see that we are also brutal. The civilian population has endured unspeakable horrors. Mostly from us. Of course there are sweet things our soldiers do like give little kids things to eat and candy. But in the end, we are hurting them as a whole more than we are helping them.

    As painful as it may be, I think bringing our troops home is the best thing we can do. Since 14 bases have been built, I think that is one of the reasons Bush won’t let them leave. It’s just ugly all the way around. So, the blood bath keeps going on. There are no real great solutions for this bloody misadventure, which is why it is so heartbreaking.

  11. Black Jack,
    Okay, I guess it’s okay, to be insulting if you call yourself Black Jack. You wonder why we call Pubs hypocrites. (sigh)

    As far as Ann Coulter goes, do you think it was a fine thing she told Max Cleland who lost three limbs, it was his own stupid fault? Who is respecting
    and not respecting our troops, and veterans? She lies constantly, and is also quite ignorant. Yes, she is vile.

    As far as being scathingly mad, we have every right to be. This president has violated every sector of humanity from the moment he stepped into office. Crimes against humanity will be his legacy. You have no shame if you keep standing behind him. You blindly accept his propaganda because it is painful to see the realities. You won’t look to see the multitude of parallels of Bush with that fellow that ran Germany in the 30s. It’s chilling.
    And if you were willing to use objectivity, defy all that you’d prefer to see, take a hard look at what you’d rather not see, and you will then be supporting our troops, the Iraqis, and the American people.

  12. Black Jack,
    I should have told you…the poetic prose you bring to this site is impressive. “rotting core” “cancer” I might even use something similiar in describing what has been occurring within the Bush administration. I have to compliment you. Darn.

  13. Heck, blu, if you want to suck up to me, why not just come right on out and jump in with both feet. No need for half measures. BTW it’s easy for me to write when the facts are supportive. It’s tortured and mangled prose of the sort we see every day, which is characteristic of Moonbats and naturally results from illusions and subterfuge. But, that’s for later.

    Now, I bet poor old Max would be the first to acknowledge it wasn’t his lucky day when he pulled the pin on that grenade and unfortunately dropped it at his own feet before he could toss it out to a safe distance. Of course, Ann may not have been overly charitable if she said it was his own fault, but she may also have been making a valid point. But, to be fair, maybe it wasn’t Max’s fault at all, I don’t know. Who’s fault do you imagine it might be?

    But, calling Ann “sleazy” and “vile” doesn’t seem to add much in the way of clarity to the discussion. You don’t like what she has to say so you resort to calling her ugly names. Typical of the highly evolved, well educated, and so enlightened and compassionate Left. Why, you even called me “a good German” and a few other choice names a while back, before, that is, you noticed the sweet poetry of my prose.

    Yes, you’re awfully quick with the gutter snipe remarks. You could have taken it easy on Ann and said she was “somewhat insensitive,” or perhaps even “rude” to Max, but then it’s tough to be accurate when the facts don’t support you, and your hatred boils up and spills out at your feet, eh?

    So, how do you like me now?

  14. Ann Coulter has earned her disrespect well. She not only speaks in the same foul derision I do, she does it while she lies. She’s a documented liar. She is a paid shill of the right-wing as was David Brock, before Brock decided he couldn’t live with himself for lying. Now, he exposes the underhanded dirty tricks that Karl Rove and that whole criminal, morally vacant cabal are about.

    I will not apologize for my anger or my language. Facts are what I have on my side. If you want to, substantiate your “facts” against my facts, then we will have to give all the resources and the footnotes to our reasoning. I’ve noticed while in the bookstores, that the bibliographies in the left leaning books are extensive. More often than not, the right leaning books have little or none.

    Ann Coulter, my gosh, there is alot to say about her. Ultimately, though, she is joke. Everyone knows it that pays attention. She has even gotten a pie thrown at her at college lectures she’s been featured at. She has earned every bit of disdain she is regarded with. Enough said.

  15. Blu noted:

    Ann Coulter, my gosh, there is alot to say about her. Ultimately, though, she is joke. Everyone knows it that pays attention. She has even gotten a pie thrown at her at college lectures she’s been featured at. She has earned every bit of disdain she is regarded with. Enough said.

    Well, it seems that a lot of people do like the lovely Miss Coulter, enough so that she gets paid for writing and expressing her opinions. That’s more than any of us here get!

    Yeah, someone hit her in the face with a pie; I guess that shows just how much of an argument against Miss Coulter’s positions he had.

  16. Wrong. The silly Moonbat who tried to throw a pie at Ann missed. She saw him coming and ducked out of the way. Ann said the guy couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn because he threw like a girl.

  17. Ann Coulter, hit in the face with a pie, that shows how little anything she has to say from college students perspective (damn those liberally biased professors) is taken seriously. Poking fun light heartedly at someone that does so much damage by lying, getting a pie in her face is nothing. Yeah she gets paid alright, by the right wing that were trying to propagandize college students. You’ll see that it’s usually the “think tanks” funded by folks like the Bradley corporation that pay her. Big money to keep the tame sheep. Only these college students saw her for what she is, a lying shill. Sadly, there are those of you out there that keep those huge corporate interests alive, by believing her, and keep the military industrial complex chugging along, while tens of thousands are being slaughtered for lies.

  18. Yeah, darn, she should have gotten it in the face. Never the less, point made. That is what they thought of her. A pie covering her face would have been becoming.

  19. Let me offer a timely quote from Chairman Ann, in response to Hillary’s MLK day campaign speech at a Harlem church. You know what she’s talking about.

    “As Hillary explained, (the GOP dominated) House “has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard.”

    Yes, that’s what was really missing on plantations during the slavery era: the opportunity to present a contrary view. Gosh, if only the slaves had been allowed to call for cloture votes. What a difference that would have made!

    Madam Hillary also said the Bush administration “will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country.” While Hillary is certainly qualified to comment on what the all-time worst presidential administrations were, having had firsthand experience in one of them, I think she might want to avoid the phrase “go down in history.””

    Don’t you just love that girl? Ann’s a cracker jack. Now, that’s my kind of woman.

  20. Black Jack,
    I don’t agree with everything Hilliary says, but I will agree that Bush’s presidency will go down in history as one of the worst in history. Clinton left us with a surplus, as you know. His great violation was that he lied about getting a BJ. Like it was pertinent to the United States what his sex life was….gheesh. It was just the right wing rabids doing all they could to bring him down, even if they have to put their microscope up his pee-pee. What, you think no Republican politicians have affairs? Who knows what the circumstances are? Maybe they had an agreement. But thanks to the right wing attack dogs, his family (think about how his daughter felt) are the ones punished. Shoot, if you and your wife were staying married for the sake of whatever…and on the skids, who is to say what the best way of handling your personal life would be. None of our business.

  21. blu, it’s only mapesbelieve,

    Bill Clinton was impeached and lost his law license for lying under oath, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. Pretending it was only about his private sex life isn’t being honest or forthright.

    Bill went on national TV, wagged his finger in America’s face, and lied like a dog. Caught like a rat in a trap, he could only quibble and pretend it had something to do with the meaning of the word, “is.”

    If he’s your idea of an honest man, you’ve got your account in the wrong bank.

  22. Blu? ” Clinton left us with a surplus, as you know.”

    Get your history straight. In 92 this country was in the red. In 94 Clinton handed the first Republican controlled Congress (in forty years) a budget with a 352 billion deficit. That congress told Clinton to shove that budget up his ass and did the “Balanced Budget Amendment”. The whole contry loved it and Clinton had to sign it. Of course as time goes by I hear some libs make the same claim you just did, which is total BS.


  23. Oh, and Rovin, I guess it was Clinton’s fault we have the highest defecit in history right now. with a Pub ruled everything. (God save us)

  24. Blue wrote:

    Ann Coulter, hit in the face with a pie, that shows how little anything she has to say from college students perspective (damn those liberally biased professors) is taken seriously. Poking fun light heartedly at someone that does so much damage by lying, getting a pie in her face is nothing. Yeah she gets paid alright, by the right wing that were trying to propagandize college students.

    Blu, you, just like all of the rest of us here, are exercising our rights to free speech. If the students didn’t think that Miss Coulter had anything to say that they wanted to hear, why didn’t they just stay away?

    The fact is that Miss Coulter speaks to full houses; it wasn’t that the assailants weren’t interested in what she had to say, but that they didn’t want anyone else to hear what she had to say.

    Why is it that liberals are so jealous of their right to freedom of speech, but so afraid when conservatives exercise theirs?

  25. “Why is it that liberals are so jealous of their right to freedom of speech, but so afraid when conservatives exercise theirs?”

    It’s because there’s nothing liberal about today’s “Liberals.” The dirty little secret is that so-called “Liberals” are really totalitarian fascists hiding behind a once respected mask. No, today’s so-called “Liberals” hate rather than tolerate opposition to their plans for world domination. Fascist-Liberals shout down anyone who disagrees with their Internationalist Agenda rather than allow free speech or open debate. Scratch a Liberal and find a Fascist.

  26. The ridiculousness of your arguments, I realize real debate is not actually what you’re doing. I was foolish and naive to assume real debate was what was going on here. Just saying anything to stick a bur in my shoe is the game. Well, okay.

    If that is not the case, and you guys are really serious in the arguments you present, then, well it is a waste of my time trying to hold a discussion with lower primates. I would hope that these points of yours, with so little understanding of all sides of the perspective, really are just jabs at me. Otherwise, if there is too many of you guys out there, it is sure a sad state of awareness this country is in.

    But then you guys think totalitarian power to the president is a good thing, even if war against terrorism, all our lives time, just fine. Gestapo oversight going on in all our communications. You don’t actually believe it was just overseas communications, do you? It’s peace activists mostly being overseen. It’s only a small piece of the puzzle. Did you look up Neo-Liberal? You probably think it’s some form of Democratic perspective. You don’t know what that is do you? Like I said, I’m done arguing with monkeys.

    Bush, is a Neo-Liberal. Cheney is a Neo-Liberal. It’s somewhere between Neo-cons and Neo-Nazis. Maybe you should just have a bananna and go watch cartoons, that would be FOX. Bye.

  27. blu, I don’t want to put a “bur” in your shoe, but I will admit to putting a few bees in your bonnet. And, yes, I’m serious about the arguments I make. The problem is that I can’t take your mindless nonsense seriously.

    You get huffy and expect folks who are better educated, more intelligent, and have lots more experience to uncritically accept idiot rubbish, and then actually to pretend it’s gospel from on high. No thanks.

    But, I guess you can see it isn’t working. Now, don’t get me wrong, although it’s clearly No Sale with me, you’re welcome to swallow whole all the loony idiocies you can keep down, just don’t expect to find all that many old dogs willing to get down in that hole you’re in.

    I will however give you passing marks for effort.

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  32. Dana, you hang your hat on that. You are wrong to assume that supporting our troops has to mean supporting the war!!! Just because the fellow you referred us to feels that way, does NOT make us dishonest for believing the support of the troops requires caring for them enought to NOT send them into a life threatening situation when it was not necessary. It was about acquisition of resources. Most everyone knows that. I will go a step further and outright say that you are NOT supporting the well being of our brave soldiers by cheering on a lie that gets not only them, but thousands of innocent civilians maimed, killed, or emotionally ruined for life. I don’t think that is supportive at all. They were duped.

    But all of that is simple logic. I don’t think it will touch your common sense though. This right wing way of looking at things is anything but common sense political thought. It is more like lack of it, actually.

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