Tobacco Road Fogey

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Thursday, March 13, 2003
 

Standing for the troops

Dennis Rogers, a columnist for my local newspaper, in response to some antiwar protestors at one of our local universities, wrote the following:
As a recovering hippie with impeccable credentials -- I saw Jimi Hendrix perform in Charlotte and don't remember a bit of it -- let me say you modern war protesters are a pale imitation of the real deal.

You're like little kids playing dress up. You're trying hard to act grown, but mostly you're just cute and clumsy.

Part of your problem is that we don't know exactly what you're against, except for that Republican in the White House. You need to focus, baby, focus.

The rest of the column was similar in tone, poking fun at college students in general and their "priorities" in life.

Well, ol' Dennis received the predictable response of hate mail from the antiwar folks and here's his answer to them, in his next column:

'How does it feel to have reduced yourself to a sniveling sycophant for the right wing?" one e-mailer asked.

He deserves an answer.

He and others who wrote in outrage deserve to know why I am not protesting war in Iraq with them. They deserve to know why I used barbed humor Saturday to poke holes in the smug sense of moral and intellectual superiority I see enveloping the antiwar movement.

I should be standing beside them in protest of an immoral and illegal war, they tell me, not making fun of them. I should be smart enough to "see through the lies of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld," one reader wrote.

The reason I'm not is a promise I made to a little girl.

She looked to be about 5. On a springlike day, with her blond hair shining in the sun, she was the picture of sweet innocence.

But instead of a well-loved doll or a one-eyed teddy bear, she held a sad sign that read: "Please support my daddy."

That's why.

When I looked in that little girl's eyes, and in the eyes of the military wives, children and parents who thanked people for turning out at a Fayetteville rally supporting Fort Bragg's soldiers on Saturday, I knew that, right or wrong, I would make my stand beside them.

[...]

All jokes aside, as much as I respect some protesters and even share some of their doubts, I cannot stand with them. I was a soldier for eight years. I know how it hurts to be abandoned by your countrymen. I will not do that to these Americans.

So I stand beside a little girl and tell her that her country is as proud of her daddy as she is.

I stand beside lonely military spouses who must ease the midnight fears and kiss away the tears and find the courage to face their uncertain futures.

And I stand beside our soldiers so they'll know that if they must die, some of us believe it will be for something more worthy than presidential pique.

I'll tell the president what I think of him in a private voting booth on Election Day.

I don't always agree with Mr. Rogers on political matters, but I'm mighty proud of him right now.

God bless you, Dennis.

And may He look after all of the men and women who serve our nation.
  


Wednesday, March 12, 2003
 

Dear Tom Robbins

In this article in the Seattle Weekly, you are quoted as having said the following:
Quite probably the worst thing about the inevitable and totally unjustifiable war with Iraq is that there's no chance the U.S. might lose it. America is a young country, and intellectually, emotionally, and physically, it has been exhibiting all the characteristics of an adolescent bully, a pubescent punk who's too big for his britches and too strong for his age. Someday, perhaps, we may grow out of our mindless, pimple-faced arrogance, but in the meantime, it might do us a ton of good to have our butts kicked. Unfortunately, like most of the targets we pick on, Iraq is much too weak to give us the thrashing our continuously overbearing behavior deserves, while Saddam is even less deserving of victory than Bush.

Don't get me wrong?I don't want American soldiers killed. But I don't want Iraqis killed, either. I'm just not one of those people who believes that American lives are more valuable than the lives of others.

Let's take these remarks point-by-point, shall we?

Quite probably the worst thing about the inevitable and totally unjustifiable war with Iraq is that there's no chance the U.S. might lose it.

Although I am pleased to see that you have a realistic appraisal of American military power in comparison to that of the Hussein regime, it appears that you need to study some recent history concerning the termination of hostilities between Iraq and its opponents in the first Persian Gulf War, circa 1991. Violation of the terms of this ceasefire by the Hussein regime would justify the resumption of military action against Iraq by the members of the original U.N. coalition forces and the forces of any other countries who choose to join with the original members.

America is a young country, and intellectually, emotionally, and physically, it has been exhibiting all the characteristics of an adolescent bully, a pubescent punk who's too big for his britches and too strong for his age. Someday, perhaps, we may grow out of our mindless, pimple-faced arrogance, but in the meantime, it might do us a ton of good to have our butts kicked. Unfortunately, like most of the targets we pick on, Iraq is much too weak to give us the thrashing our continuously overbearing behavior deserves, while Saddam is even less deserving of victory than Bush.

Very colorful language, but logically unsupported. To what "characteristics of an adolescent bully" or a "pubescent punk" do you refer? What behavior do you call "arrogance"? How long is "continuously", and how do you define "overbearing"? Until we have a common definition of these terms, it's impossible to know what you are talking about.

It seems to me that you are exhibiting several of the characteristics of an intellectually lazy polemicist -- inflammatory language, lack of supporting evidence, logical inconsistencies.

Don't get me wrong?I don't want American soldiers killed.

A truly marvelous logical inconsistency. How do propose that we "have our butts kicked" in a war without having American soldiers killed? Do you prefer that American civilians be killed instead of American soldiers -- perhaps Saddam could attack the American homeland instead of our invading troops? Would that satisfy your desire that we get the "thrashing" you think we deserve?

But I don't want Iraqis killed, either.

I hate to be the one that breaks this to you, Mr. Robbins, but Iraqis are being killed every day. The Hussein regime executes many of its domestic political opponents, along with their familiies. Other Iraqis, especially the very young and the very old, die of the effects of malnutrition and disease because the Hussein regime will not abide by the U.N. resolutions governing the "oil for food" program. Instead of complying with the various U.N. resolutions currently in effect, which would lead to the lifting of U.N. sanctions against Iraq, the Hussein regime continues to defy the U.N., and the Iraqi people continue to suffer in their silent isolation from the rest of the world.

I'm just not one of those people who believes that American lives are more valuable than the lives of others.

I thnk it would be a safe bet that you believe that at least one American life is more valuable than the lives of others -- your own. You certainly appear to think that your opinions on the war with Iraq should be accepted without question, since you provide no evidence to support your eccentric conclusions, so it is logical to assume that you think that you are more valuable than the rest of us. After all, we need your enlightened guidance if we are to discover a path through these scary times in our history.

It's also very comforting to know that you think that the lives of your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your fellow American citizens are of no more value than the lives of "others." I'm sure that the "others" will be just as accepting of your eccentricities as those who know you so well now.

Thanks for producing such an entertaining short piece of fiction.

(link via Instapundit)
  





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