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Old 01-24-2006, 03:56 PM   #1
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LA Times Reporter's view on Troops.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...mment-opinions

Joel Stein:

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.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

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.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.

Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren't really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of "Laguna Beach."

The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.

I understand the guilt. We know we're sending recruits to do our dirty work, and we want to seem grateful.

After we've decided that we made a mistake, we don't want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

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. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

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.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country. But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed in the phone book.

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.
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Old 01-24-2006, 04:05 PM   #2
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Eh, one man's opinion. I'm sure there are many that agree, and many that disagree.

One man's opinion will be another man's cage liner.

The beauty of free speech.
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Old 01-24-2006, 04:07 PM   #3
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it's a bit satirical, but i admire the honesty of it and agree with large chunks, though not all (he does overlook the fact that, while the military does appear to be voluntary, often it's the only way for some kids to get out of economically depressed areas ... you've got to wonder if the powers-that-be don't view it as in the nation's best interests to keep a large class of disenfranchised individuals who have little other choice than to enlist, or work in a coal mine, so there's always fresh blood).

this part was nicely trenchant:

[q]The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.

I understand the guilt. We know we're sending recruits to do our dirty work, and we want to seem grateful.

After we've decided that we made a mistake, we don't want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.
[/q]



which makes me want to ask, just how many soldiers-per-gallon does the SUV in front of you get?
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Old 01-24-2006, 04:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
which makes me want to ask, just how many soldiers-per-gallon does the SUV in front of you get?
Or caribou saved per gallon...
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Old 01-24-2006, 05:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Or caribou saved per gallon...


but you'd only be able to say that for a year and a half ...
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Old 01-24-2006, 05:15 PM   #6
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Re: LA Times Reporter's view on Troops.

Quote:
Originally posted by Justin24
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.
Anyone else find this part extremely condescending?

I wouldn't call this satire--there's a lot of bitter sarcasm in it all right, but that doesn't make it satirical.

There was a genuinely satirical piece in the Onion about a year back called something like "I Support The War--Just Not Our Troops" purportedly written by the ungrateful father of a serviceman, and basically saying that the troops themselves are a kind of necessary evil--no-good redneck ingrates who no one ought to feel bad not caring about, but oh well the cause is noble and they'll do. It was painful to read, though blackly funny, because of the obvious implications for what kind of horribly inadequate followup support that returning troops (and of course those abroad too, in different ways) can expect to get, which suggests anything but that we care about them.
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Old 01-24-2006, 05:17 PM   #7
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Re: Re: LA Times Reporter's view on Troops.

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Originally posted by yolland

I wouldn't call this satire--there's a lot of bitter sarcasm in it all right, but that doesn't make it satirical.



fair distinction.
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Old 01-24-2006, 08:17 PM   #8
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I think the piece does come off as a bit condescending. As the author himself admits, he comes from a comfortable background, so he has no idea what it's like to be faced with the choice of working at McDonalds after graduating from high school or joining the military. I wish he had thought things through a little bit more before he wrote this article, because otherwise it's pretty good.
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:06 AM   #9
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I agree to a point.

Should soliders have a moral compass that gives them the choice of killing people that they think should not be killed? I would hope so.

I think militaries are a neccesary evil within this world, but to be againist the war or againist wars in general but to use the scapcode of saying 'I support the troops' it seems artificial to me.

If i meet a solider who was in a war i thought was wrong I would say it to him (if I was asked my opinion on it, I wouldnt just start in on him/her, if it came up in converstation i'd let them know where I stand), not as disrespectfully as this author.

And the arguement that some soliders are there because of social and economic issues dont excuse them for being involved in a particular war you disagree with. If you are of the belief that soliders are to blame, and I cant say that I fully am, then you must also take the stance that their actions are inexcusable just as a murderers "crimes" are inexcusable.

I hope what I'm saying came out right, because I'm not saying soliders are criminal, but if you take that view you cannot excuse the poor solider and blame the average soliders.
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman
I agree to a point.

Should soliders have a moral compass that gives them the choice of killing people that they think should not be killed? I would hope so.

Between establish rules of engagement and a mandate of individual responsibility that civilians not be targeted, there is certainly a moral compass used by soldiers.
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:35 PM   #11
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Stein Stands by 'L.A. Times' Column on U.S. Troops That Drew Protest

Quote:
NEW YORK Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein says he stands by his Tuesday column after being what he called "bombarded" with email. Stein, the former Time magazine staff writer, had written a column that began, "I don't support our troops."

Stein tells Reuters he does not regret writing it and stands by the premise.

The Times online site has put up a poll on the subject, in its opinion sections, asking readers if someone can oppose the war but support the troops, yes or no? It also offers a third choice: "I don't know, Why did you hire Joel Stein again?"

The article, which ran on the Times opinion page on Tuesday, was quickly linked on conservative sites and others, and hundreds of letters poured in to Stein and the Times. Bruce Pyle of Las Vegas, Nev., wrote to E&P that "it is going to be hard to distinguish between Stein and Bin Laden when it comes to their views on America."

One man posted at the NewsBusters site, "Stein should be bowing his head in shame. Doubtful though." Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin quickly nominated Stein as "one of the most loathsome people in America."

Stein, whose columns are often humorous in nature, commented to Reuters that whenever a politician opposes the war but supports the troops "I just always think they are covering their ass." He appeared on the talk radio show of conservative Hugh Hewitt in Los Angeles on Tuesday and said, "I don't want empty sentiments prolonging the war."
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:37 PM   #12
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^ whether you agree with him or not, i'm happy to see he has cojones.
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