My last post about "Peace" and "The Law" drew some of the usual suspects. I find that, the more I answer all of their (they think) trick questions, the more the right-wingers eventually raise the volume beyond 11 – all the way to shrill.
For instance, here’s some love from a regular commenter who regularly hides behind the Anonymous tag. It’s sometimes hard to tell one Anony from another, but this guy has a familiar aroma that I can smell a mile away:
Mike, why do you hate the military so much? Did they kick you out on a section 8 (a la Corp. Klingar)? My guess is that you successfully dodged the draft or else you wouldn't have the vitriol that you do. Please tell me a situation where our military action is warranted. You seem to be against all forms of intervention, attack, etc.
Here we see several characteristics of the right-winger with his back to the wall, desperate to score points. Note the groundless assertion that I "hate the military" and that I’m "against all forms of intervention". This is a regular game in all of wing-nuttydom – imputing to me words I’d never use and thoughts I never had. And, no comment thread (especially with this guy) is complete without the unwarranted the personal attack (how does he know I wear dresses? Sometimes, it’s just a lucky guess...).
Regardless of the fact that some of these folks do not approach the arguments in good faith and just want to do damage, I still ignore the personal asides and actually answer the factually-challenged questions. I wrote this in response, posting it here instead of on the comment thread:
In 1970, when I was 15, I wrote to Sen. Proxmeier and told him I would go to jail rather than submit to the draft. He wrote back and told me to calm down, the draft would be over by then. He was right. When I was 18, it was the first year of no-lottery and before mandatory registration, so I missed the whole thing. I know and respect people who went to Vietnam, went to Canada, went to jail. I also know all of the chicken hawks so bravely sending our sons and daughters to their deaths – from Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld to the media enablers Limbaugh, Kristol and the pathetic Newt Gingrich – never served a day during Vietnam or any other shooting war.
I don't hate the military. I love every soldier that has died or been maimed in this Stupid War. I want to prevent more such deaths. Why you want them to stay in harm's way for the neo-cons' grand designs is beyond me. If I were playing the same games, I would say: why do you "hate" them so much that you will allow 1,000 deaths and countless injuries for another year of this shit? I don't really think you hate them, Anony, but why so indifferent to the danger Bush has put – and kept – them in? I think the burden is on you, at this point.
Not that I have to anything to prove, but I wrote a song last year called "Shake a Hand, Make a Friend". Here's the last verse:
He takes off into the setting sun
Young soldier holding to his gun
Called to duty and he does it well
Free-fire in a living hell
In the airport I smile and wave
I give a shout out to the brave
I'll do my part I'll do my share
To beat the bastards that put him there.
There are lots of legitimate uses of the greatest military in the world, but one person's defense – especially this ridiculous "pre-emption" notion – is another person's imperialism. Are there threatening armies amassed at the Canadian or Mexican border (I mean soldiers, not immigrants)? That's easy. We have commitments to NATO, Israel, South Korea, whatever – if they are invaded, we honor our commitments.
It is quite another thing to say, if we don't like a country or its leaders, that we have the right to invade and depose just because they are blustering or because they don't have our version of "freedom". That this is madness – especially in the volatile Middle East – has been proven in spades in Iraq. But it’s nothing that anyone with any sense didn’t know ahead of time.
Another semi-regular is patrick, who can also be seen commenting on many of the right-wing blogs. This was a long one you can check out for yourself, but here are some excerpts:
Mike, As far as revisionist history goes, you're amazing. Look through all the statements of your democratic officials--the Clintons, Pelosi, all of them. Examine the UN record. Note the invasion of Kuwait, the use of poison gas on the Kurds, the mass graves discovered in Iraq in the first months of the war. That's not crap.
Those on the right like to pretend that, just because some Dems saw Hussein as a potential problem that they also advocated the same "solution". But it is one thing to identify problems and crimes in another country, as Clinton and others did with Hussein, and quite another to invade-and-depose. The goal for some was "regime change" but no Democrat (except Lieberman) ever advocated that. And they were right – now look at the mess we've gotten ourselves into in Iraq.
Whatever happened to the left I once celebrated--one that wanted to stand up for the terrified masses?...
Yeah, sure you did, patrick....that's what they all say. And they all lie.
As for Iran, consider the way they treat those who descent, the beatings of women who fail to cover themselves. the treatment of women in general. ...Consider their material support for the insurgents in Iraq today...Consider their pursuit of nuclear weapons and their holocaust denyer president....Finally, note how our cultures are opposed: we love freedom, debate, vicious debate, even; they value slavish conformity to brutal and repressive, patriarchal and fanatic religion. ...Maybe you need to read a little more about Iran. I'd recommend Michael Ledeen as found at NRO. Either way, Iran embodies everything we in the west find disgusting and low.
Now you want to invade "disgusting and low" Iran. Please.
One of the primary reasons the neo-cons invaded Iraq – although they won't admit it – was because Hussein was such a weak pushover. Iran and Syria are the real targets of the neo-cons, but they were (just barely) smart enough to know that both countries have the broad support of enough of its populace to put up a fierce resistance if the Bushies were foolish enough to try this stunt in either of those places.
So they knocked over Hussein, the paper tiger, immediately moved bin Laden’s hated military bases from Saudi Arabia and tried to occupy the Arab version of the Wild West. We have already ruined our relations with the Arab world for generations by invading Iraq. The dirty secret, despite our blustering, is that invading Iran is absolutely out of the question. It falls to neo-con Michael Ledeen to pollute the Iran bogey-man stories with the same sort of breathless hyperbole that gets Republican candidates saying stupid things and, not coincidentally, sells books for him. The rule of thumb should be: Don’t believe anything about Iran that comes from the administration or the National Review. No two institutions have ever been more consistently wrong. About everything.
So keep those comments coming, campers! The more we engage, the more we learn from each other. The comments section can be like a crowbar to create the open mind. Or, as another famous Clinton (George, he of Parliment/Funkadelic) once proclaimed: Free your mind, and your ass will follow!