« Joy Happens! | Main | Right-Wing History, Part 2 »

May 12, 2005

Comments

I know nothing about Prescott save what you put in your post. I still laughed out loud at the idea of fighting in Iraq. Not because I would want him in danger, but because it would never happen.

Now it must be said that some important Republicans, like Ledeen, did allow their kids to enter some level of danger zone, but they had their reasons, I am sure. And no Bush is half the man Ledeen is, anyway.

Edward: great title. Here's how not to solve our current readiness problems:

"Brushing aside opposition from top Army leaders, a House subcommittee approved a measure yesterday that would ban women from serving in certain support units in a bid to keep them out of "direct ground combat." (...)

The legislation, backed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), would require the Army to prohibit women from serving in any company-size unit that provides support to combat battalions or their subordinate companies. While not retroactive, the measure, if enacted, would block the assignment of women to thousands of positions that are now open to them, a committee staff member said.

"The American people have never wanted to have women in combat and this reaffirms that policy," Hunter said in a statement.

Army leaders strongly criticized the legislation in letters to Congress yesterday, saying women are performing "magnificently" in a wide range of units, working where battlefields have no clear front lines.

"The proposed amendment will cause confusion in the ranks, and will send the wrong signal to the brave young men and women fighting the Global War on Terrorism," Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, wrote in a letter delivered to the House yesterday. "This is not the time to create such confusion.""

great title, sure. Oh sure.

Now I won't get the damned song out of my head for the rest of the day!

("A will-of-the-whisp, a flibbertigit, --a clown!")

"This is not the time to create such confusion."

Master of understatment, the General, eh? Why would such a lunatic be permitted to serve as House Armed Services Committee Chairman? Can't the anti-mental-illness standard for recruitment be applied in the House somehow as well?

Tad,

does this help: "Bil-ly, don't be a he-ro...don't be a fooool with your l-i-i-i-i-fe...."

Edward,

"Can't the anti-mental-illness standard for recruitment be applied in the House somehow as well?"

Only if the threshold for a quorum to conduct House business is significantly lowered.

How do we solve a problem like recruitment? Let's see, same number of letters as "Maria," starts with a "D," it's coming to me slowly....

"But the staaars that we reeeached were just starfish in the beeeeach..."

"But the staaars that we reeeached were just starfish in the beeeeach..."

That's just cruel... ;-)

You're quoting the version from Too Much Joy, of course.

Let's see, same number of letters as "Maria," starts with a "D," it's coming to me slowly....

Dubya?

Watch out before I escalate to David Gates and Bread. Or Leo Sayer. Let's just stop this before someone gets hurt.

I suppose Edward would consider it vile and maybe it is, but one solution is to create a foreign legion.

Don't cry for me Fernando.

BTW, on a more serious note, I wonder if anyone remembers what Norman Mailer wrote in the NY Review of Books right before the Iraq war. I remember at the time how it was poo-poo'd by the usual suspects (many of them on the cruise missile left), but it strikes me as quite prescient.

That is a big statement, but I can offer this much immediately: At the root of flag conservatism is not madness, but an undisclosed logic. While I am hardly in accord, it is, nonetheless, logical if you accept its premises. From a militant Christian point of view, America is close to rotten. The entertainment media are loose. Bare belly-buttons pop onto every TV screen, as open in their statement as wild animals' eyes. The kids are getting to the point where they can't read, but they sure can screw. So one perk for the White House, should America become an international military machine huge enough to conquer all adversaries, is that American sexual freedom, all that gay, feminist, lesbian, transvestite hullabaloo, will be seen as too much of a luxury and will be put back into the closet again. Commitment, patriotism, and dedication will become all-pervasive national values once more (with all the hypocrisy attendant). Once we become a twenty-first-century embodiment of the old Roman Empire, moral reform can stride right back into the picture. The military is obviously more puritanical than the entertainment media. Soldiers are, of course, crazier than any average man when in and out of combat, but the overhead command is a major everyday pressure on soldiers and could become a species of most powerful censor over civilian life.

I suppose Edward would consider it vile and maybe it is,

Yes, I could consider that vile. The only thing that lends war honor, in my opinion, is the fact that people are willing to die for what they believe in. Outsourcing that risk is immoral.

And incredibly dangerous.

Tad: But I was preparing my piece de resistance: Run Joey Run ("Stop Daddy stop, we're gonna get maaaaaaaarried..."), and now you've gone and spoiled the fun. :(

Let's see, same number of letters as "Maria," starts with a "D," it's coming to me slowly....

Dubya?

You know, that's not a bad idea. With all the time he spends working out, he ought to be in pretty decent shape, and I don't think he's much, if any, older than a reservist friend of mine who just left for 18 months of active duty, 12 of which will be in Iraq. Forget the nephew, go for it.

But I think my original answer is likelier. It is far likelier that my 8-year-old will end up being drafted to serve against whatever Oceania we're after 10 years from now than that any member of the Bush family will be sent in harm's way.

I'm a little bitter about that.

Edward, #4 is already US policy. Shortly after 9/11, Bush signed an executive order expediting naturalization for immigrants who serve in the military.

That makes me sick to my stomach praktike...

this bit as well

Immigration officials say there are some 14,000 citizenship applications for immigrant servicemembers still pending. More than 2,000 servicemembers became U.S. citizens this year; 58 of those were awarded posthumously

Here's a better idea: don't involve the country in needless, incompetently-managed, open-ended wars of choice by engaging in a propaganda campaign that has a cavalier and careless acquaintance with the truth.

Just a thought. As far as I'm concerned, the current "problems" with recruiting are one of the self-correcting parts of our political system. The government /should/ have an incredibly hard time recruiting for wars like this--it's one of the built-in deterrents against pulling stupid crap like Gulf War 2 that exists in a volunteer army.

it's one of the built-in deterrents against pulling stupid crap like Gulf War 2 that exists in a volunteer army

The only problem being that after Bush and Rumsfeld get done [email protected]#$ing up the military for the next generation or so, we're not going to have it available if we actually need it, either.

The only problem being that after Bush and Rumsfeld get done [email protected]#$ing up the military for the next generation or so, we're not going to have it available if we actually need it, either.

In the near-term, that may be so--but I'm confident that if a /true/ critical threat emerged, we could and would pull out of Iraq and redeploy. We wouldn't be in very good shape, but I know that our soldiers would do whatever we asked them to 110%.

In the meantime, though, the dire shape of the military should serve as a cautionary tale to any future would-be Bush-like adventurists--and make it that much harder to send our people overseas on flimsy and ill-conceived whims.

I'm confused about #4. Maybe my history is way off, but hasn't it often been the case that the US offered citizenship to those willing to fight for us?

As for how do you solve the problem of recruitment, the current answer is probably: pay better now that the chances of being deployed in a dangerous area are much higher than in the 1990s.

hasn't it often been the case that the US offered citizenship to those willing to fight for us?

That's an interesting question. I don't think it has ever been a blanket policy and in earlier times, it was so easy to become a US citizen if you were white, a policy was not really necessary. I also think that there has been a general revulsion at the notion of enlisting to 'get' citizenship (current rules not only forbid the military from helping with immigration procedures, they also forbid the mailing of recruitment info overseas, even to US citizens, presumably on the notion that one wants to avoid the appearance of this kind of recruiting) I do think that a formation like the French Foreign Legion is an exception rather than the rule.

For non-whites, the situation gets more interesting. It is generally conceded that Native Americans were given citizenship by an Act of Congress in 1924 (previously they were not considered to be citizens, which provides the focus of James Welch's very interesting novel _The Heartsong of Charging Elk_) because of their service in WWI.

Asians who had served with the US military in WWI were not allowed to become citizens because of the SCOTUS decision that Asians were not 'free white persons' and therefore ineligible for citizenship.

After Pearl Harbor, some Japanese issei (first generation and therefore ineligible for citizenship) were not allowed to enlist, along with their children. This was a big problem for the intelligence services in WWII, because there was a dearth of linguistically able recruits. The rule that issei were prevented from enlisting was finally lifted in 1944. However, issei were still not permitted to apply for citizenship until the Walter-McCarran Immigration Act of 1952.

Also, there are positions/jobs in the military for which non-citizens are autmtomaically disqualified. I found a list of jobs that non-citizens are qualified for, but no list of what jobs they are not.

I would be very interested in any links about the history of non-citizen recruitment for the US military forces.

"In a nation where we're happy to let immigrants serve as our gardeners or nannies, but just as likely to start screaming the moment they want to send their children to our schools,"

Actually, the people who want them as gardeners and nannies are not the same people who don't want them to send their kids to our schools. The immigration restrictionists usually resent those who decide they want cheap labor for their lawns.

Sebastian, for what amount of money would you be willing to do 2-3 tours North of Baghdad?

Actually, the people who want them as gardeners and nannies are not the same people who don't want them to send their kids to our schools. The immigration restrictionists usually resent those who decide they want cheap labor for their lawns.

I'm not sure that dividing it up into two sides really gets to why the situation is so intractable. The fact remains that illegal immigrants have no power as a lobby. I think a large part of the problem is that there are many businesses that want cheap labor, so having a schizophrenic view on illegal immigrant labor (where the businesses employing such labor are not penalized) allows them to push down labor costs. The perfect example is Lou Dobbs, who rails about illegal immigration and waxes poetic about the Minutemen (through the device of selected reader email that he can then add some pithy comment at the end so as to not have to actually be accused of saying it but letting everyone know where his heart is) but tells subscribers to his investment newsletter that companies that have problems with the use of illegal immigrants and outsourcing are recommended buys on the stock market.

If I were the folks responsible for meeting these quotas, I'd go to Bush and ask him to encourage some high-profile member of his family to enlist. Perhaps his nephew, George Prescott Bush. He's about the right age, good looking, Hispanic, and famous...he has hero written all over him. He's perfect.

We could always get Jenna and not Jenna to enlist, I am sure that they would enjoy spending a few weeks in beautiful Ubaydi.

I am sure that there is no shortages of ChickenHawks who are willing to redeem themselves & join the Marine Corps, not to mention the numerous conservative supporters of the war that have posted in support of the war on the Blogosphere( Tacitus & Company), here is your chance to put your money where your mouth is!

Don
I'm really intrigued when you said that you were in the Marines. If it's not to much to ask (and I understand if you don't want to), I'd be interested in knowing about how you got to where you got, opinion wise, and what experiences moved you in that direction. Again, this is just a request, so please don't feel obliged.

Dubya?

i prefer "Dubyalta"

Or just "Duh" for short.

If military corporations send more of their own people into a battle than soldiers, how are we guaranteed US interests have priority over corporate interests?

What, pray tell, is the difference between 'US interests' and 'corporate interests?'

What, pray tell, is the difference between 'US interests' and 'corporate interests?'

profits vs. people.

What, pray tell, is the difference between 'US interests' and 'corporate interests?'

profits vs. people.

I'd like to put a word in for more rather than less influence by corporate interests in world affairs. Bad companies are much more easily put out of business than bad governments. Ordinary people can put your money where your mouth is, in many cases, and get results. On the other hand, I don't much like large hierachical corporations, and I like even less, monopolies.

LJ,

Good question, to be honest I am not sure that my views have changed all that much. It just happens that back then I was less cynical and actually believed that the US actually attempted to live up to it's rethoric. Reading about the actions of the US in Central America in the 80's completely destroyed any illusions that I may have had about US Foreign Policy.

I also missed a delightful trip to Lebanon in the early 80's. I was offered the opportunity to reenlist in 1983 with a guaranteed trip to Lebanon due to my language skills, I declined but I later found out that at least one acquaintance of mine left his life there. I can't think of a greater waste.

Last but not least I hate hypocrisy, people who call for war knowing damn well that they won't be going and that their children won't be going just plain piss me off.

I had a couple of belated, cranky, and typically tangential observations on this here, by the way.

Two comments on the thread:

I wonder if anyone remembers what Norman Mailer wrote in the NY Review of Books right before the Iraq war. I remember at the time how it was poo-poo'd by the usual suspects (many of them on the cruise missile left), but it strikes me as quite prescient.
So one perk for the White House, should America become an international military machine huge enough to conquer all adversaries, is that American sexual freedom, all that gay, feminist, lesbian, transvestite hullabaloo, will be seen as too much of a luxury and will be put back into the closet again.
This is "prescient"? Are, in fact, gays, feminists, lesbians, and transvestites being "put back into the closet again"? Despite the, of course, still rampant homophobia in America and the world, does anyone argue that it has, in fact, gotten worse in the last ten years, the last twenty years, the last forty years? That gay, bisexual, transgendered, and feminist-minded people are worse off now than in 1999, 1979, 1959?

Second point:

Yes, I could consider that vile. The only thing that lends war honor, in my opinion, is the fact that people are willing to die for what they believe in. Outsourcing that risk is immoral.
And:
That makes me sick to my stomach praktike...
I'm confused. The entire (valid) problematic point in the article's #4 is offering expedited citizenship to illegal immigrants. Good point. But what on earth is wrong with speeding up granting citizenship to legal immigrants who have taken it upon themselves to volunteer for service? Would we be helping them out more by slowing down granting them citizenship rights? This would be doing them a favor? It's vile to grant citizenship faster to those who risk their lives on our behalf?

Oh, for bonus points, and on an historical note:

Reading about the actions of the US in Central America in the 80's completely destroyed any illusions that I may have had about US Foreign Policy.
The U.S. in Central America has a history of doing that to U.S. Marines, who were there. Famously, Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, for instance.

It's vile to force people to risk their lives on our behalf if they want a speedy application processing.

I don't understand your point about Mailer's article. Without necessarily endorsing his thesis, he's talking about the future, not the past 40 years. The point he's making is that a militarised nation would force people who have been coming out of the closet back in. That their hard won freedoms would be considered luxuries or worse and discarded. Given that "the most liberal senator in Congress" now considers it expedient to criticise the Massachusetts gay marriage statute fo r being "divisive", I'd say he's got a point.

"It's vile to force people to risk their lives on our behalf if they want a speedy application processing."

Recognizing the conditional, how are immigrants "forced" to join the Armed Forces? And would you recommend that it would be more fair and just to slow down the granting of citizenship to those serving?

"I don't understand your point about Mailer's article. Without necessarily endorsing his thesis, he's talking about the future, not the past 40 years. The point he's making is that a militarised nation would force people who have been coming out of the closet back in."

So we're not militarized now, we're just expressing worry about eventuallying being a militarized nation?

It's a bit difficult to praise Mailer for his "precience," then, isn't it, without being ourselves prescient? I mean, if one wants to simply say, gosh, I think Normal Mailer will turn out to have been prescient when he said, etc., that would be a whole 'nother thing to say. (For another vision of militarization and homosexuality, see Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.)

"Given that 'the most liberal senator in Congress' now considers it expedient to criticise the Massachusetts gay marriage statute...."

I can't tell, by the way, if the use of the phrase in quotes is sarcastic or not, but it's certainly not a correct description of John Kerry, save by a hyper-tortured interpretation. But what, precisely, did you mean by "now"? Was there some earlier, more liberal, pre-militarized, time in the U.S. when either Senator Kerry or any U.S. Senator endorsed gay marriage? (Mind, I'd like to see all one hundred do it, but I missed the golden age before our current goose-stepping towards militarism when even one did.)

I will note that at the outbreak of the Mexican War, over half the US army was made of immigrants.

This led to some problems, as a fair number deserted to Mexico, and in fact, formed the San Patricio Brigade to fight for Mexico.

Damien Cave reported that the Pentagon and marketing experts are brainstorming on four central ideas:
(...)
Create a Military of One

I refrain from making the obvious joke.

As for getting someone high-profile to enlist, as Edward suggested - good idea. I think that happened anyway, right after 9/11, Pat Tillman. Then one of his squad mates shot him dead in Afghanistan. So that didn't work out so well in the end.

But I like "service guarantees citizenship." Just think of all the people who would be immediately disenfranchised.

am sure that there is no shortages of ChickenHawks who are willing to redeem themselves & join the Marine Corps, not to mention the numerous conservative supporters of the war that have posted in support of the war on the Blogosphere( Tacitus & Company),

I'm not going to get into arguing about the chickenhawk stuff again, but I will note that whatever anyone else thinks of him, Tacitus did in fact try to re-up after 9/11 and was told he wasn't needed. So I give him major props for that -- he, nearly uniquely among pro-war civilian bloggers, has the courage of his convictions.

I have a vague memory form reading about the Civil WAr that Irish men were either conscripted or offered citizenship in exchange for service in the Union Army.
Also a little factiod I picked up from a museum in an old Indian wars fort (Fort Kearney?): the Army at that particular fort had so many non-English speaking immigrant soldiers that the officers had to be accompanied everywhere by five or six interpeters who would shout the orders out in five or six languages. I don't know what the recruitment or enlistment policies were at the time.

I'd like to put a word in for more rather than less influence by corporate interests in world affairs.

No, no, no, no no, no...(ad infinitum)...

Let's be clear about this. Governments exist for one reason: people. Without people, there's no reason for governments to exist. Corporations exist for one reason: profit Without profit, there's no reason for corporations to exist. The influence of corporate interests is the influence of profits over people.

Corporations exist for one reason: profit Without profit, there's no reason for corporations to exist.

I feel strangely unsatisfied by this particular piece of dogma, given the existence of 501(c)(3) corporations.

given the existence of 501(c)(3) corporations.

Are not-for-profits the sort of corporations generally in the mercenary business though?

I think Normal Mailer will turn out to have been prescient when he said, etc., that would be a whole 'nother thing to say.

Where's those time-traveler verb tenses when you willen haven needed them?

BTW, Edward, were you thinking of the title of this post to be sung to the tune of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"

lily
Perhaps that's true (apparently, Lincoln had the Copperhead legislators in Maryland arrested by German speaking soldiers who couldn't understand anything they said about habeus corpus), but I believe that the process to become a US citizen was so simple and basically unnecessary that the only reason would be to have the right to vote (as foreign travel was not a real possibility) Here is a timeline that seems to suggest that citizenship really only meant the right to vote. I believe that our notions of the necessity of citizenship are tied to the notion of being issued a passport and the first US law requiring a passport for leaving and entering the country only came about in 1915. link

"BTW, Edward, were you thinking of the title of this post to be sung to the tune of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?""

It's better than using the title for a post on the issues regarding filibustering judges. That would be "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Miranda?"

BTW, Edward, were you thinking of the title of this post to be sung to the tune of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"

uh huh...and I'm still waiting for someone to take the hint and parody the lyrics on topic. I'd do it, but my damn job is making ridiculous demands of my time today.

Are not-for-profits the sort of corporations generally in the mercenary business though?

No, but that wasn't what you said in that particular post.

The overall context was why corporations don't make better governments than governments, though, Phil, and more than that the overall overall context was building a military, so although not-for-profit corporations by definition are not focussed on profits, I had assumed the context was clear enough to generalize...my bad, if that was not clear.

Mostly I'm just yanking your chain, Edward . . . but I think a less tendentious statement would be, "Corporations exist for the benefit of their shareholders." They're a tool, and like all tools they can be wielded correctly or incorrectly, safely or harmfully.

Admittedly, though, it would be nice if all the former C-level execs running the White House actually did bring some honest corporate philosophy into the thing. Handling your company's books like they handle the US budget gets people investigated by the SEC and DoJ, and sued by their shareholders for malfeasance.

Edward_
here's a start:

how do you solve a problem like recruit-ment?
how do you find a way to fill the ranks?
how should the imm-i-grant have known what "shoot" meant?
or "ICBM"?
or "WMD"?
(--or "tanks").

I agree with Gary on the issue of expediting citizenship to legal immigrants who volunteer for the armed forces. If you object to speeding up the citizenship process shouldn't you also object to other sorts of benefits available to veterans?

So long as immigrants who do not enlist are not subject to extra delays I don't see the problem with this incentive

I'm not going to get into arguing about the chickenhawk stuff again, but I will note that whatever anyone else thinks of him, Tacitus did in fact try to re-up after 9/11 and was told he wasn't needed. So I give him major props for that -- he, nearly uniquely among pro-war civilian bloggers, has the courage of his convictions.

Whatever our personal differences, I agree: Tacitus is deserving of serious respect for that courage.

I have a subsidiary question, though, but please do not interpret this as a coded request or an underhanded gibe because it isn't in any way, shape or form. Given the problems alluded to above and elsewhere, if Tac were to try to re-up now, would he still be told that he wasn't needed?

"So I give him major props for that -- he, nearly uniquely among pro-war civilian bloggers, has the courage of his convictions."

Scott Koenig, "Lt. Smash," had been blogging for a couple of years as "The Indepundit," (who was generally on the Republican side of things, but never mind) before, at the time, he slightly mysteriously put his blog on hiatus, and lo, and behold, "Lt. Smash" appeared blogging from Kuwait. (Although it's my impression that his general optimism about Iraq is rather affected by the fact that his service was entirely in the pre-insurgency period; I'm not quite sure he'd be so sanguine if he'd been there in the past year, though that might be all wrong, of course.)

Uh, there's lots of pro-war blogging going on by those in or recently out of service. Scott's probably the most visible of these, but Blackfive is another and he sort of keeps up with the rest of the "milblogging" community, like this.

Oh, and Scott Koenig is now "Citizen Smash", blogging from indepundit.com

I should have been more clear in my terminology -- by "civilian" I meant to say, "never served, never will."

Anarch, I have no opinion on whether a renewed attempt by Tacitus to re-enlist would yield different results now. I don't know enough about him. Maybe his MOS isn't highly valued, maybe they have enough people at his rank and skillset, who knows? Not my place to say.

Nice start Tad...made my day.

"So I give him major props for that -- he, nearly uniquely among pro-war civilian bloggers, has the courage of his convictions."

And: "I should have been more clear in my terminology -- by 'civilian' I meant to say, 'never served, never will.'"

A trivial point, but I'm certainly confused: you congratulate Tacitus for having demonstrated the courage of his convictions as a pro-war civilian because of his willingness to re-up in the military, which makes him unlike almost any other pro-war civilians, but any other pro-war civilians who did re-up, or sign up for the first time are excluded from the possiblity of being equally in the same category?

Well, yes, Tacitus certainly would be unique, then.

I presume you're familiar with what a "tautology" is?

Gary, can you ask your question a second time? Because, as phrased, it makes no sense to me. I'm not even sure what you're confused about, unless it's that, given the definition I was trying to use, I shouldn't have used "civilian" to refer to Tacitus. I should have used "veteran."

I thought I was pretty clear in the point that I was attempting to make, which was that "any other pro-war civilians who did re-up, or sign up for the first time" would, to me, be in the same category as Tacitus, were there any significant number of them. If you'd like to point them all out to me, I'll happily provide them with the same praise.

I presume you're familiar with what a "tautology" is?

Please skip the snarky pedantry, unless you have reason to believe it's going to get you a more polite answer.

"I thought I was pretty clear in the point that I was attempting to make, which was that 'any other pro-war civilians who did re-up, or sign up for the first time' would, to me, be in the same category as Tacitus, were there any significant number of them."

How could they join or rejoin the service and remain civilians?

"I should have been more clear in my terminology -- by 'civilian" I meant to say, 'never served, never will.'"

How do you "never serve, never will" after you've re-uped or signed up?

"If you'd like to point them all out to me, I'll happily provide them with the same praise."

I certainly don't have a list (although USA Today just did a five-part series on milbloggers).

"Please skip the snarky pedantry, unless you have reason to believe it's going to get you a more polite answer."

I wasn't trying to be snarky, and I absolutely fail to understand what's "pedantic" about asking about an apparent complete contradiction that appears to be a simple tautology(through presumably not after you unpack more).

I linked to a whole bunch of milbloggers above, indirectly. Do I need to do so more directly?

OK, Gary, either you're being purposefully obtuse, or I can't write in English, or some combination, or some option I haven't thought of.

Let's try this a different way: Tacitus does not deserve to be lumped in with Don Quijote's [sic] group of "ChickenHawks" who he challenged to "put your money where your mouth is!" since he has, in fact, served in the military and attempted to do so again following 9/11. He is to be distinguished from the group of pro-war bloggers who have never served, never attempted to enlist, and never intend to, but are nonetheless relatively cavalier about where they intend to get US soldiers and foreign civilians killed. Of which said group vastly outnumbers the group of pro-war bloggers who are actively serving now, or who have otherwise attempted to join up to fight the "War On Terror" on the front lines. I'm sure there are more of them than just Tacitus, hence "nearly uniquely."

Does that clear up your confusion?

Slarti, I would hope that actual active-duty or recently active-duty milbloggers would be by definition excluded from DQ's "chickenhawk" formulation, but when it comes to him, I take little for granted.

but are nonetheless relatively cavalier about where they intend to get US soldiers and foreign civilians killed

supposes facts not currently in evidence.

Slarti, I have to disagree with you on the evidence. I give you Donald Rumsfeld:

Q: Given what we know about Saddam Hussein's willingness to use his own people as human shields, to place military facilities next to hospitals, to schools, do you need to be preparing the American people for the possibility of large Iraqi casualties, civilian casualties in a war?

Rumsfeld: I think that not just the American people, but people across the globe need -- -- to know the truth, and the truth is that war is unpredictable; that it, that people die and that its dangerous.

Or do you object to the word "cavalier"?

Odd, ral, it seemed to ME as if DQ was talking about pro-war bloggers. Who knew he was making a covert jab at Rumsfeld?

I presume you're familiar with what a "tautology" is?

Only if we believe that /all/ of the thousands of pro-war bloggers and chickenhawk pundits who have not yet heeded their country's call have attempted to do so and been rebuffed due to one disqualification or another.

Given the lengths to which Army recruiters have been going to shoehorn people in, believing this would require me to enter Red Queen territory.

I presume you're familiar with what a "tautology" is?

Only if we believe that /all/ of the thousands of pro-war bloggers...

Catsy doesn't know what a tautology is, in this context. Anyone else not know?

"Does that clear up your confusion?"

Partially, but it leaves one completely trivial usage nitpick, and one actually substantive point. The trivial is that "nearly uniquely" is oxymoronic. The substantive is that, of course, the percentage of citizenry serving in the Armed Forces is always going to be tiny, and therefore it is inevitable that people of any political view are going to have far smaller numbers serving than not, so observing that this is so in any given specific ends up making no visibly useful point whatever. But perhaps I'm just missing it. ("Neener, neener, I'm going to insult the other side" isn't a substantive point, but if you wound up with something else, I welcome elucidation, and will provide apologies for not seeing it if I should have.)

On Ral's point, I deeply hate having to say anything that seems "supportive" of Donald Rumsfeld, but I don't see how his anodyne statement that war is unpredictable translates into being "cavalier." Perhaps he is cavalier, but that doesn't seem to demonstrate it in the slightest.

As a card carrying Dubya hater I understand why people want to see recruitment as a major problem, but I don't think it is. By the time a soldier has served a term of enlistment the military has spent several hundred thousand dollars on his or her training. If the military really needs the personnel they can offer recruitment bonuses of $100,000 or more. Pay and bonuses would still be a relatively small fraction of their costs.

supposes facts not currently in evidence.

It's not like I haven't read their blogs, Slarti, or I wouldn't know that they exist. Or are you claiming they don't? Guys like du Toit, or Mischa, guys like that, don't exhibit a certain cavalierness about the matter? If you don't think so, you're far more gracious than I can ever hope to be.

I'm not in the mood to indulge your tendentiousness, Gary, so I'll let you remain under whatever confusion you imagine still remains. Anarch seemed able to discern the point, as did Slarti, so mayhap you can ask them. In any case, you seem prepared to labor under the delusion that I support the "chickenhawk" slur, which I don't, and wanted to point out that Tacitus is not an example of it in any case.

(cough) Jonah Goldberg (cough, cough)

"In any case, you seem prepared to labor under the delusion that I support the 'chickenhawk' slur...."

No, I have no opinion on the matter, and no impression from you.

"Guys like du Toit, or Mischa, guys like that, don't exhibit a certain cavalierness about the matter?"

Needless to say, that's obviously true. I just don't see how it follows that the fact that there are more pro-war supporters (who blog, although that's not really the relevant point) out of the military than in the military. As I said, the latter is obviously so, but so what? It should be obvious that the validity of opinions about political issues isn't determined by whether there are more people in the military who hold them than people not in the military.

"Anarch seemed able to discern the point, as did Slarti, so mayhap you can ask them."

Am I missing something, guys?

Digressing just faintly, it seems to be clearly implied by many -- or stated outright -- that political opinions regarding war are rendered more valid by coming from someone in the military than any mere non-military citizen. I don't know if that's what you're saying, Phil, although you seem to me to be implying it; it's up to you, of course, whether you want to clarify if you do or do not feel military service is relevant to the validity of one's opinions being pro or con a particular war or military action. Myself, I think it's a notion utterly antithetical to the tradition of the United States, since we don't live in the world of Starship Troopers (this is not the first time this issue has arisen on this blog).

Hilzoy, perhaps I'm the only one who found your coughing about Goldberg (whom I don't pay enough attention to to have a terribly strong grasp of the range of his opinions) unclear. I can't tell if you were suggesting you thought he was a "chickenhawk" (I can't help thinking of another usage of that term when I hear it, but never mind), "cavalier," or what, I'm afraid (quoting what it was response to might have helped).

"I just don't see how it follows that the fact that there are more pro-war supporters (who blog, although that's not really the relevant point) out of the military than in the military."

Bad Gary. Careless. That should be: "I just don't see how it follows that the fact that there are more pro-war supporters (who blog, although that's not really the relevant point) out of the military than in the military is significant."

one way to solve the recruitment problem is to shorten the tour of duty. This, according to NPR this am, is now an available option.

another way is to hold out the prize of citizenship to those who don't have it. There are a number of problems with janissaries, though. The ethical problem that I have with the use of janissaries is that the citizenry doesn't bear the burden of its decision to launch war.

Guys like du Toit, or Mischa, guys like that, don't exhibit a certain cavalierness about the matter? If you don't think so, you're far more gracious than I can ever hope to be.

I haven't read either of them in some time, but Misha did in fact attempt to enlist, while du Toit is too old. You are aware of age limitations, no?

Gary, I didn't mean to imply that Donald Rumsfeld's remark indicated he (Rumsfeld) was being cavalier. I cited the quote as support for the likelihood of soldiers and civilians dying, possibly in large numbers, in wars, and in particular in Iraq. Perhaps "in wars, people die" is obvious and doesn't need a citation, in which case I must have misunderstood Slarti.

This is what I get for coming into the middle of an argument. Sorry.

well, since GF wants to take the discussion in this direction, i might as well reiterate my views.

1. All citizens have an equal right to express their views on going to war.

2. There is something unseemly about healthy young men advocating for war, but refusing to enlist. Death is different, and one important aspect of leadership is being willing to do what you ask others to do for you.

3. yes, we have an all-volunteer army. they knew or should have known what they were getting into. the fact that it's an all-volunteer system affects the debate about using the army to fight wars in important ways, including on issues of consent. but we also have an educational and economic system that gives very little hope or opportunity to far too many people. and the army has imposed stop-loss orders. And the Army and especially the Guard are not meeting recruitment goals.

4. given that our military leaders are talking openly about an overstretched, even broken, guard and reserve (and that these discussions are supported by evidence), it seems to me that the argument becomes even stronger that those who support the war need to do more than type about it. They should lead by example.

Catsy doesn't know what a tautology is, in this context. Anyone else not know?

I know what one is, I'm disagreeing with the assertion that it applies.

They should lead by example.

Well, you had me up until this point. Not all leadership is best done by example, and the idea that blogging in favor of something constitutes "leadership" in any nontrivial way doesn't have any compelling arguments behind it, to date. Being in favor of something doesn't imply in any way that one ought to rush out and personally engage in that thing. If we're understaffed for the military tasks we've set out to do, then we ought to rectify that, certainly. Meanwhile, I'll still be ineligible, so any profession of willingness/unwillingness to serve on my part would be without meaning.

Slarti: NRO purports to be a policy magazine. Jonah Goldberg is actively trying to affect Administration policy at the highest level. He's hardly a pseudonymous blogger.

There's a big difference, i think, between supporting the war and advocating for it. As soon as i can figure out a way to articulate that difference in a way that makes sense to me, i'll write another post.

Just dropping in here for a movie note. The movie version of Starship Troopers contained subtle and not-so-subtle negative commentary on fascism, so anyone citing it as a model should be a little embarassed.

Heinlein's original book, by contrast, did not portray its government of the future in a negative light.

Sorry about the tangent, and please carry on.

Gary: Cavalier. I wrote it after Phil's first list of cavalier people; but his next comment got in before me.

Phil,
Slarti, I would hope that actual active-duty or recently active-duty milbloggers would be by definition excluded from DQ's "chickenhawk" formulation, but when it comes to him, I take little for granted.

Chickenhawk n. A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person’s youth.

Not being anywhere near as nice as Hilzoy, I present to you the perfect ChickenHawk. His picture should be in the dictionnary right next to the definition of the word.


ON AND ON [Jonah Goldberg ]

Of all the emails Cole has received because of this silly brouhaha this is the one the great scholar sees fit to post:

"I wouldn't rush to pack your bags. But if you actually do get an oppurtunity to verbally castrate this weasel, ask him if he truly meant "In the weeks prior to the war to liberate Afghanistan, a good friend of mine would ask me almost every day, "Why aren't we killing people yet?" And I never had a good answer for him. Because one of the most important and vital things the United States could do after 9/11 was to kill people." '

He looks to be of military age. Ask him why his sorry a** isn't in the kill zone."]

For the record, I did in fact mean it. I wrote it here. As for why my sorry a** isn't in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give -- I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few -- ever seem to suffice. But this chicken-hawk nonsense is something that's been batted around too many times to get into again here. What I do think is interesting is that out of the thousands upon thousands of emails I've gotten from people in the military over the years, maybe a dozen have ever asked this question. Invariably, it's anti-war leftists who believe that their personally defined notions of hypocrisy trump any argument and any position. Meanwhile, the military guys have been overwhelmingly friendly and very often grateful for the support we offer around here.

So Goldberg is personally a coward but doesn't like to talk about it? Is that a fair summary?

"The trivial is that "nearly uniquely" is oxymoronic."

No, but it's nearly oxymoronic. Near-A is not required to be a subset of A, and in fact if it were so, it'd screw up the meaning of 'Near'. "One of the unique features. . ." is oxymoronic.

Are we having the 'war supporters who don't serve are hypocrites' argument? Not a bad one, but it seems weird that there's such a finite set of arguments to have.

I don't think it's hypocritical to support the war and not serve, but I think there's potential for hypocricy. . or at least dishonest rhetoric. If one advocates for the war on the argument that the nation is under dire threat, as many have, but with no intention on the part of the advocate to serve in the military, then there's a bind. Either the advocate isn't interested in defending his or her country even under dire threat, or he or she really doesn't think the threat is all that dire. Of course, there's a middle you can carve out. . you can argue that the threat is dire enough that volunteer militants should be risked against it, but not yet so dire that people should be otherwise inconvenienced. It doesn't have that same 'mushroom cloud' ring to it, though.

In Starship Troopers, anyone could sign up for the military -- that is, anyone intelligent enough and sane enough to understand the oath they were taking. Which is probably not what the person who referred to that book had in mind.

And: Not being a veteran didn't deprive anyone of government benefits. Veterans were the only ones who could vote; and only veterans could teach History and Moral Philosophy; those were the only privileges they got.

Jonah Goldberg is actively trying to affect Administration policy at the highest level.

As are you. And me, for all that. Does it give you or I any special status? Goldberg's where he is because for some reason or another his writing skills are in demand there. If you think you can do better and have some desire to do better, I suggest you give it a try. The part I'd have bolded from Goldberg's column is this:

Invariably, it's anti-war leftists who believe that their personally defined notions of hypocrisy trump any argument and any position.

Which is not to say I agree with it, but it sort of underscores my point: it ain't hypocrisy if the other guy isn't behaving consistently with your values.

Besides which, arguments for (or against) the war don't lose anything if the utterer of said arguments is a hypocrite.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad