Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Undeterred

Reuters has an interesting piece about the Hollywood response to the war’s outcome. Note the reticence of once-was-celebrity Mike Farrell, who still opposes the war in spite of the outcome. I’ll give him points for consistency--a foolish consistency, but consistency nonetheless.

Perhaps the most entertaining thing is the way they see free speech as a one-way ratchet. When they spoke out against the war, joining groups that used pretty vulgar speech and acts to show their opposition, that was the apex of free speech and patriotism. When, however, others criticized them for their stance, well, that was an attempt to "muzzle" or "silence" speech. Uhh, Mr. Farrell, perhaps that was political speech, too. I’m not talking about the alleged threats, but it doesn’t appear that Farrell was either. He was talking about the rank and file individual who had the audacity to criticize celebrities--the same celebrities who claim now to be capitalizing on their anti-war publicity. These people were, in Farrell’s words "ugly mouthed" individuals who used "hate radio." How dare people not buy the Dixie Chicks album! The stars claim to be regrouping for their next big cause celebre. In the meantime, I have a little recommended reading for them.

Discussions - 17 Comments

"I’ll give him points for consistency--a foolish consistency, but consistency nonetheless."

Why does he still merit "points"? This ssems to follow the same silly logic that followed, "I’m against the war but I support the troops."

Is it that we really can’t stand it, or handle it, when somebody admits they were wrong? Is this the new reality in the post-Clinton (or mayber Watergate) era? I recall how Ike "lied" about the U2 flights, then got caught and admitted he lied to the American people. Is this sort of thing just ok on a personal basis? Or have the American people decided they won’t hear of this sort of confession anymore?

I find it somewhat troubling, to be honest (pun intended). :(

Hey i found something that Mike Farrell and I agree on. Hence his quote:

"These ugly-mouthed people like to think they are more powerful than they
are."


Only I think it applies to the hollywierd crowd at least as much as to the talk radio hosts.

Come on back Mike when you have some more advice for us. We will be sure to give it the full respect it deserves.

This ssems to follow the same silly logic that followed, "I’m against the war but I support the troops."

Why in heavens would you qualify this as "silly logic?" Regardless of what one’s opinion is in regard to the war, to suggest that it’s not possible to be against the war while still supporting those that must fight in it, seems a bit short-sighted. Can you not walk and chew gum at the same time?

Is consistency good independent of the act or issue in question?

I think I agree in part with Marc Lamb. It is worse that Mike Farrell has been consistent in opposing the war, even after liberating results. He shouldn’t get any points for this type of consistency. Perhaps it is only in legal reasoning and philosophy that one should get points for "consistency" despite consequences, and even this should be debateable.

The difficulty of the written word is that sometimes sarcasm doesn’t come through. The key to the what I said was not "points," but foolish.

This ssems to follow the same silly logic that followed, "I’m against the war but I support the troops."

Why in heavens would you qualify this as "silly logic?" Regardless of what one’s opinion is in regard to the war, to suggest that it’s not possible to be against the war while still supporting those that must fight in it, seems a bit short-sighted. Can you not walk and chew gum at the same time?

It’s silly because it claims to support the people without supporting what they’re doing. It’s the equivalent of saying, "I support firefighters, except when they, you know, fight fires."

The statement might have some validity if we were talking about a conscript army engaged in a cause that none of them actually supported. But based on what I know and have heard, the young men and women who fought the Iraq war were enthusiastic about what they were doing. I wonder how many of them put any credence in the idea that those who oppose the war "support the troops."

It’s silly because it claims to support the people without supporting what they’re doing. It’s the equivalent of saying, "I support firefighters, except when they, you know, fight fires."

With respect to Mr. Moser, this idea is a bit ridiculous. The firefighter analogy couldn’t be more off target. I think that what Mr. Bulson is trying to say (and he can correct me if I’m wrong) is that one can be against the idea of an unjust war. At the same time, once the US got involved, those of us against the war (and I’m not trying to put Mr. Bulson in that group as I don’t know where he stands on the war) can support our troops (nobody wants to see people being killed) and can hope for a quick resolution. How that is "silly" I do not know...

I suppose what it boils down to is how we define "support." If it means having generally warm feelings for someone as a person, and hoping that he or she does not die, there is no contradiction between supporting the troops and opposing the war.

However, I tend to think that "support" means a bit more. Indeed, by the above definition I could be said to "support" Mr. Little, in the sense that I have no personal animus against him and do not pray for his death. Yet, as my comments on this site have indicated, I disagree with him quite strongly on the issue of war with Iraq. I don’t think that I support him in any meaningful way, and I do not think he would disagree.

I guess I can’t help feeling that the whole "oppose the war but support the troops" line (which, by the way, was in use long before the war actually started) was developed by anti-war forces to assuage their guilt over backing a policy that amounted to de facto support for Saddam Hussein. This is why I doubt that few of those U.S. troops that are actually in Iraq are much moved by this argument, which boils down to: "I don’t think you should be there, doing what you are doing, but I hope you finish doing it quickly, and you do not die in the process." Quite a morale-booster, that.

"The difficulty of the written word is that sometimes sarcasm doesn’t come through."

There was a hint of it, but not enough I suppose. :)

I still think the larger issue is the political climate I’m sensing out there. I could be wrong, but this refusal to be candidly wrong (without all the sophmoric tears, hoop jumping and word dancing) may be indicative of how deep we remain mired in the culture wars. It seems to me that 9/11 has served to entrench those among the elite who are waging this war along the ideological divide.

Ideology can be a heavy taskmaster. He demands such things as "consistency," and tends to be unforgiving when errs and cracks are found one’s theology. I could be wrong, but there is something missing today which I found so refreshing when I read of Ike’s confession about the U2. Perhaps Bell’s End of Ideology really was real back then, huh?

C’mon Mr. Moser, the notion that the anti-war crowd - in their opposition to an unjust and illegal war - is somehow providing de facto support to Hussein is silly (not to mention overused!). The point is that there were alternatives to war, and GW elected to ignore those alternatives in favor of a policy that amounts to Middle Eastern Imperialism. To say that anti-war advocates are pro-Saddam is like saying that people who oppose the death penalty are pro-murder. And I know - from my own conversations with you regarding the war - that you know better.

Incidentally, I take it from your analysis of "support" that you are implying that people who really support the troops are doing so in some sort of hands-on fashion (apparently, praying for their well-being, and wishing for a quick end to the war doesn’t qualify as support). How have you supported the troops, then?

To say that anti-war advocates are pro-Saddam is like saying that people who oppose the death penalty are pro-murder.

The analogy is invalid. It cannot be definitively proven that the death penalty reduces the murder rate. On the other hand, the debate over the war was whether Saddam Hussein would remain in power. Even if we assume that he could have been "contained," or disarmed through inspections, no "peace activist" can claim that Saddam Hussein could have been removed from power by peaceful means. That means he would have remained in control of Iraq, complete with plastic shredders, torture chambers, and prisons for toddlers.

I understand that this sounds unfair, and is difficult for those who opposed the war to accept. I’m reasonably certain that Mr. Little is a decent human being, and a good American. In no way do I mean to suggest that he was a conscious supporter of Saddam Hussein. That’s why I used the term "de facto." He had a choice between supporting war and opposing it; that necessarily involved a choice between seeing the tyrant removed from power or letting him stay there. The argument made by Mr. Little was that because the war was "unjust," the latter alternative was preferable.

I take it from your analysis of "support" that you are implying that people who really support the troops are doing so in some sort of hands-on fashion (apparently, praying for their well-being, and wishing for a quick end to the war doesn’t qualify as support). How have you supported the troops, then?

Nothing I said has suggested that "support" means "hands-on." I merely suggested that any meaningful definition of "support" would have to include support for the cause in which someone is engaged. Simple logic suggests that one cannot give support to those who are engaged in activities to which one is opposed.

Moreover, what I may or may not be doing to support the troops is irrelevant, for I have not been announcing to all the world that I support them. My point was to say that when I hear people say that the war was unjust, but still claim that they support the troops who are fighting that war, I feel as though I have some grounds for skepticism. Moreover, I suspect that most service personnel share my sense of skepticism. It reminds me of the man who loudly proclaims his fidelity to his wife; if it’s true, why do we need to be reminded of that fact?

Oops, sorry, that last one was by me.

The analogy is invalid. It cannot be definitively proven that the death penalty reduces the murder rate. On the other hand, the debate over the war was whether Saddam Hussein would remain in power. Even if we assume that he could have been "contained," or disarmed through inspections, no "peace activist" can claim that Saddam Hussein could have been removed from power by peaceful means. That means he would have remained in control of Iraq, complete with plastic shredders, torture chambers, and prisons for toddlers.

You misunderstood my analogy. The analogy is that - according to the logic laid out in your argument - People who are anti death-penalty must be in favor of murder (or any violent crime that would be deserving of the death penalty).

He had a choice between supporting war and opposing it; that necessarily involved a choice between seeing the tyrant removed from power or letting him stay there. The argument made by Mr. Little was that because the war was "unjust," the latter alternative was preferable.

This is not at all what I’ve said. Your final sentence is particularly off-target. Few, if any, anti-war advocates have ever suggested that inaction was the solution to the problem. Numerous peaceful possibilities existed (many of which we’ve discussed in previous dialogues), but GW chose to ignore those possibilities.

Nothing I said has suggested that "support" means "hands-on." I merely suggested that any meaningful definition of "support" would have to include support for the cause in which someone is engaged. Simple logic suggests that one cannot give support to those who are engaged in activities to which one is opposed.

Simply not true. If we follow your argument to its logical conclusion, then, hypothetically, one could say that if you believed that a cause (a military conflict, for example) was unjust, that you wished for the death of US soldiers. You and I can both see the absurdity of that situation.

You misunderstood my analogy. The analogy is that - according to the logic laid out in your argument - People who are anti death-penalty must be in favor of murder (or any violent crime that would be deserving of the death penalty).

No, Mr. Little misunderstands my response. If it could be proven beyond doubt that the death penalty actually resulted in lower murder rates, then those who opposed the death penalty would be de facto supporters of murder. If one knows that action A will cause action B to occur, yet in spite of that knowledge refuses to support action A, then one knowingly prevents action B from taking place.

This is not at all what I’ve said. Your final sentence is particularly off-target. Few, if any, anti-war advocates have ever suggested that inaction was the solution to the problem. Numerous peaceful possibilities existed (many of which we’ve discussed in previous dialogues), but GW chose to ignore those possibilities.

It’s true; Mr. Little did not say it. He probably never even thought it, in the sense that he never considered the logical consequences of the position he was supporting. And yes, we did discuss other options, but these options all concerned "containing" Saddam Hussein. In other words, he would only be able to incarcerate Iraqi children and rape Iraqi women. None of the options that Mr. Little put forward would have removed Saddam from power, nor did Mr. Little claim this at the time. It is disingenuous of him to claim otherwise.

If we follow your argument to its logical conclusion, then, hypothetically, one could say that if you believed that a cause (a military conflict, for example) was unjust, that you wished for the death of US soldiers. You and I can both see the absurdity of that situation.

This reminds me of the old Chris Rock routine, in which the man wants praise because "I take care of my kids." Mr. Little, and presumably other antiwar activists, actually seems to demand credit for not wanting to see American soldiers die. I say that this does nothing more than make him not guilty of treason; it does not qualify him for any particular merit. Of course those who opposed the war shouldn’t wish for the death of Americans, but don’t insult our intelligence by then telling us that this means you "support the troops."

I want to make one more point clear. At no point did I mean to suggest that Matthew Little--or even most antiwar activists--were literally pro-Saddam Hussein. I said that they backed a policy that was de facto pro-Saddam. There is an important distinction between the two claims, and I do not want to give the impression that I think Mr. Little in any way condones the atrocities committed by the Butcher of Baghdad.

Mr. Little and I have differing opinions on the war, but this does not place him beyond the pale of morality. I do not want to hear that he has received hate mail from ignoramuses on the basis of anything I have written here.

No, Mr. Little misunderstands my response. If it could be proven beyond doubt that the death penalty actually resulted in lower murder rates, then those who opposed the death penalty would be de facto supporters of murder. If one knows that action A will cause action B to occur, yet in spite of that knowledge refuses to support action A, then one knowingly prevents action B from taking place.

My analogy has nothing to do with the murder rate. Nuff said.

Let’s get off the death penalty analogy. Clearly, it’s only served to confuse matters. Instead, let’s put this in terms that Mr. Moser can perhaps better understand. If he qualifies me as a de facto supporter for my support, then he and other pro-war people - by the logic he prescribed - are de facto supporters of killing Arab children. The logic being that Mr. Moser supports a cause for which hundreds (maybe thousands) of Iraqi civilians died, some of which were children. Now, don’t get me wrong - I don’t for a second believe that Mr. Moser (or most people for that matter) are in support of killing children for any reason. But it’s a fine example of the absurdity of this "de facto support" logic.

None of the options that Mr. Little put forward would have removed Saddam from power, nor did Mr. Little claim this at the time.

This is not true. I mentioned removing Saddam from power a number of times. My contention was - and remains - that going to war with Iraq wasn’t the way to do it. Perhaps Mr. Moser doesn’t recall that conversation because, at the time, he was citing WMD (which STILL haven’t been found) as our primary justification for going to war.

This reminds me of the old Chris Rock routine, in which the man wants praise because "I take care of my kids."

Ah, it’s good to see that Mr. Moser is also a fan of "Bigger and Blacker." It’s one of my favorite stand-up specials.

Mr. Little, and presumably other antiwar activists, actually seems to demand credit for not wanting to see American soldiers die.

And, as we’ve already established, you’ve done nothing more than "not want to see American soldiers die," yourself. You have yet to define any difference between your support of the troops and my own.

And finally, on a personal note, I appreciate Mr. Moser’s last message. Though I’m confident that I won’t receive any more "hate mail," from this board, I appreciate his clarification that we are discussing policy differences, hopefully in a gentlemanly manner. It’s the type of discussion that this blog was intended to support, and it’s nice to see it work that way every now and then.

This reminds me of the old Chris Rock routine, in which the man wants praise because "I take care of my kids."

One final note --- I am not asking (and have not asked) for credit for "supporting the troops." I - and others who are against this war - simply want the right to not be labelled as unsupportive.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/1733