Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Let he who is without...

A growing trend among administration supporters is the tactic of questioning the loyalty of former members of the military who speak out against Bush's War. This does not merely stop at the Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans who are already home and speaking out but are unable to fight back against the right-wing smears, but to senior members of government. James Wolcott leads some of them to water:
Let's review, shall we?
Chuck Hagel, two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his Vietnam War service.

Jimmy Carter, seven years in the Navy, including serving under Admiral Rickover in the development of the nuclear submarine program.

Michael Ledeen? Let's just say he won't be regaling them at the VFW lodge anytime soon. Indeed, the closest he's come to combat has been listening to Roger L. Simon's Hollywood war stories from his heroic screenwriting days.

Memo to Ledeen: There's a stature gap between you and Hagel/Carter that puts you in the pygmy shade.
Criticizing an individual's ideas or a statements would stray into the realm of dialogue, but many on the pro-war side prefer the old ad hominem attack, it's much easier than trying to pick apart a person's argument and refuting its reasoning.

Don't like the war? You must be a cheese-eating surrender monkey!
Already fought in the war, returned home, and are speaking out against the corrupt, inept and possibly criminal handling of the war? You must be a cheese-eating surrender monkey!
Then there's the always popular, "you were barely wounded in battle. What's with the purple heart?" attack.

These are, of course, most often delivered by folks who never did serve.

While service vs. non-service should not be the bar to determining whose criticism is valid, when defenders of the administration attack critics who have actually served in the military as unpatriotic, that does send the hypocrisy detectors into the red zone.

At the very least it is simply bad debate style. If you can not defend your policy on its merits, it is advisable that you rethink your policy.

- Murphy

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