I’ve been doing some thinking since Morgan’s post on Joel “I don’t support the troops” Stein. While I still stand by my belief that Stein, whatever he really thinks, simply wrote that piece to gain notoriety his meager writing talents wouldn’t otherwise entitle him to, there are some ideas behind the column that bear further examination. As Josh suggested, Stein may have indeed earned some hate mail that says “you suck and here’s why,” but why? Because he expressed an opinion? Because he expressed an unpopular opinion?
Look at it this way: there are thousands, if not millions of Americans who believe that the war in Iraq was fought because the President deliberately lied and manipulated intelligence to make Iraq seem a greater threat than it was. They further believe that Bush is personally profiting from this war because Iraq is an oil-rich country, and that Vice-President Cheney is personally profiting from this war because of his ties to Halliburton. So, to put it in a nutshell, they really do believe that the war in Iraq is a war for oil, a war for money, a war for profit.
I’m not going to debate the merits of this belief system here, because that’s not what I’m getting at. Anyway, I think that we can all stand behind the idea that a war fought only to enrich other people is a truly despicable act. Wars should only be fought in order to make others free, or to defend one’s own country, or to defend an ally. That’s where you derive the moral authority to use such force. Anything else should be anathema to any civilized person or group of people.
Therefore, if you believe that the war in Iraq is immoral and is being fought to line the pockets of war profiteers, then you must believe that the people doing the actual fighting (i.e. the troops) are committing murder. How can you support a bunch of murderers? Or, failing that, the troops are a bunch of stupefied, ignorant dupes who are too stupid to see that what they’re doing is evil. How, then, can you support a bunch of idiots?
This is not to say that everyone who disagrees with what the U.S. is doing in Iraq is a frothing-at-the-mouth “No War for Oil” moonbat. Nevertheless, Joel Stein doesn’t strike me as a reasonable person who’s informed and willing to discuss, rationally, why he thinks the war was a mistake. What I’d like to know is, if President Bush didn’t go to war for oil, and if he manipulated the pre-war intelligence anyway, why did he do it? What could he possibly have had to gain?
As Stein himself implies, you can’t really support or honor the troops if you believe that what they’re doing is wrong. That’s like saying, “I don’t agree with murder, but I support Tookie Williams.” It doesn’t make logical sense.