The Tenth Crusade
August 26, 2005 10:28 AM   Subscribe

The American Legion calls for an end to all anti-war public protests. "The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples."
posted by The Jesse Helms (121 comments total)
 
Is it wrong to find the honesty of National Socialism refreshing?
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2005


Meh, seeing that there is a new AP poll (warning: pdf results) that states that 87 percent of Americans support people's right to publically oppose the war... they are way in the minority.
posted by tittergrrl at 10:36 AM on August 26, 2005


Billmon pretty much nails the hypocrisy on this one.
Democrat wars doubleplusbad; Republican wars doubleplusgood.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:37 AM on August 26, 2005


6. Do you think it is OK for people who oppose the war in Iraq to express their opposition publicly, or not?

—Yes, 87 percent

—No, 12 percent

—Not sure, 1 percent
posted by punishinglemur at 10:37 AM on August 26, 2005


Is it wrong to find the honesty of National Socialism refreshing?

Only if you forget that Hitler was a vegetarian.
posted by OmieWise at 10:38 AM on August 26, 2005


"We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens."

And many of your fellow citizens had hoped they'd be clear to our government.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:38 AM on August 26, 2005


US democracy is in trouble. It is eating itself due to a lack of decent public education.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:40 AM on August 26, 2005


So wait, you mean before this they were supporting the antiwar protests? Jeez, what flip-floppers those old guys turned out to be.
posted by scratch at 10:40 AM on August 26, 2005


What the hell is the American Legion?
posted by funambulist at 10:43 AM on August 26, 2005


The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

*shudder*
posted by gwint at 10:44 AM on August 26, 2005


Does anyone have a problem with this action by the American Legion beyond a substantive disagreement on the propreity of the war?

Isn't this just the obverse side of the Sheehan coin?

What the hell is the American Legion?
posted by funambulist at 10:43 AM PST on August 26


A long standing veteran's group, which would indicate why it would oppose people it views as undermining the troops.
posted by dios at 10:45 AM on August 26, 2005


I love that people are getting more angry about people protesting against this poorly run and completely illegitimate war rather than the poorly run and completely illegitimate war.

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." - Thoreau.

dios, funny, I'd think they'd be more inclined to be upset about the misuse of those troops.
posted by fenriq at 10:46 AM on August 26, 2005


-->
"An overwhelming number of Americans say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections - a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines."

Yeah, d00ds. American Legion Hall's comments are like important and stuff. It's like, facism. And stuff.
posted by dhoyt at 10:47 AM on August 26, 2005


dios, I think the article said it pretty well:

This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.
posted by gwint at 10:48 AM on August 26, 2005


Is the irony of this wasted on the American Legion I wonder?

America starts a war. They justify it, in part; by saying it is to grant people freedom. Then the American Legion launch a vitriolic attack on 'free' people exercising their freedom of speech and their freedom to demonstrate.
posted by DrDoberman at 10:49 AM on August 26, 2005


I'm beginning to belive that GW Bush's ultimate goal with this war wasn't oil, but to create complete polarization and/or balkanization at home (aka divide & conquer). Shame on the Legion (and us) for swallowing the bait.
posted by jonmc at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2005


It's nice to see that people who no doubt pride themselves strongly on having fought to preserve freedom, are now taking a strong and official stand against it.
posted by clevershark at 10:51 AM on August 26, 2005


dios: A long standing veteran's group, which would indicate why it would oppose people it views as undermining the troops.

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
posted by jperkins at 10:51 AM on August 26, 2005


The Legion is pissing me off again. I'm tempted to go out and burn another flag. "Take that, American Legion!"

I'm not sure if we can call them hypocrites though; they're blindly and stupidly partisan, but I'll bet most of them really believe in what they're doing and saying.

DrDoberman, ain't you caught on yet? "Every American is free to agree with the American Legion; freedom is for OUR side and nobody else!"
posted by davy at 10:54 AM on August 26, 2005


dios: Does anyone have a problem with this action by the American Legion beyond a substantive disagreement on the propreity of the war? Isn't this just the obverse side of the Sheehan coin?

No, but thanks for the attempt at false equivalence.

Surely you can see the difference between:

"I am against X and so I am protesting against it," and

"I am for X and so I am against people being allowed to protest against it".
posted by fleacircus at 10:54 AM on August 26, 2005


dios writes "Isn't this just the obverse side of the Sheehan coin?"

No one's standing against their right to demonstrate in favor of the war, if they wish to do so. However they are pretty explicitly saying that they will take action against those who protest against the war.

If I weren't already sure that you're just being disingenuous (as per...), I'd say your reading skills were slippin', dios.
posted by clevershark at 10:54 AM on August 26, 2005


davy writes "The Legion is pissing me off again. I'm tempted to go out and burn another flag."

Ironically you can drop off a used flag at the legion in order to have it burned. Turns out that's the way it's supposed to be disposed of...
posted by clevershark at 10:55 AM on August 26, 2005


US democracy is in trouble. It is eating itself due to a lack of decent public education.

Yeah, um, back when it was created the handful of people that could actually read in America were the ones that wrote the Constitution. The compulsory public education system is a product of progressivist reforms in the 20th century, before that what a child learned was to watch out for the moving parts when working a massive industrial machine.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:55 AM on August 26, 2005


The real issue here is: is this going to affect weekly Steak Night at the local AL?
posted by NationalKato at 10:56 AM on August 26, 2005


A letter from the American Legion to Clinton during the Balkan conflict shows their hypocrisy.

President William J. Clinton
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The American Legion, a wartime veterans organization of nearly three-million members, urges the immediate withdrawal of American troops participating in “Operation Allied Force.”

The National Executive Committee of The American Legion, meeting in Indianapolis today, adopted Resolution 44, titled “The American Legion’s Statement on Yugoslavia.” This resolution was debated and adopted unanimously.

Mr. President, the United States Armed Forces should never be committed to wartime operations unless the following conditions are fulfilled:

That there be a clear statement by the President of why it is in our vital national interests to be engaged in hostilities;
Guidelines be established for the mission, including a clear exit strategy;
That there be support of the mission by the U.S. Congress and the American people; and
That it be made clear that U.S. Forces will be commanded only by U.S. officers which we acknowledge are superior military leaders.
It is the position of The American Legion, which I am sure is shared by the majority of Americans, that three of the above listed conditions have not been met in the current joint operation with NATO (“Operation Allied Force”).

In no case should America commit its Armed Forces in the absence of clearly defined objectives agreed upon by the U.S. Congress in accordance with Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States.

Sincerely,
HAROLD L. “BUTCH” MILLER
National Commander



posted by tirebouchon at 10:58 AM on August 26, 2005


This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.

Totally the most important sentence in that article. They're way too late with this--the majority of the American people are against Iraq and already think we've lost and that it was a bad idea in the first place. Furthermore, these veterans should realize that an failed elective war based on lies is not what our soldiers should be used for. The Islamic State Iraq has become is in no way a valid goal of our military and is actually about the opposite of freedom, especially for millions of Iraqi women.


This article could have been dated 1968, or 72, etc. Pathetic, and smells of Rove/Mehlman talking points. Blame Americans for Bush's historically monumental failure? Not likely. This is all Bush and the GOP. They broke Iraq, and they failed to fix it.
posted by amberglow at 11:02 AM on August 26, 2005


excellent, tirebouchon! They're allowing themselves to be used by the GOP.
posted by amberglow at 11:03 AM on August 26, 2005


Pollomacho, P_G was talking about "DECENT public education" [emphasis added], presumably the kind where kids are taught to think as well as stand in line. Instead of the mushroomization Americans get, i.e. "being kept in the dark and fed bullshit".
posted by davy at 11:04 AM on August 26, 2005


In summary:

We fought, we bled, and we died to protect your freedom of speech.

Now shut up.
posted by ToasT at 11:04 AM on August 26, 2005


For the record, one of the approved methods of disposing of an American flag is, according to Boy Scout guidelines:

When the national flag is worn beyond repair, burn it thoroughly and completely on a modest, but blazing, fire.

This should be done in a simple manner with dignity and respect. Be sure the flag is reduced to ashes unrecognizable as a former flag.

posted by NationalKato at 11:05 AM on August 26, 2005


Look: the American Legion is a group of people who might think differently than you. In their mind, undermining support for the war means undermining support for the troops because the troops safety relies on robust support from the government. The American Legion may view Cindy Sheehan, et. al. as people who undermine support of the troops by perhaps dampening recruitment or funding for the troops or whatever. Thus, it is entirely plausible that they view this Sheehan type of a thing as one danger that is unnecessary and thus oppose it. They aren't advocating a federal law banning protesting. They are stating they will "stand against" people they feel are hurting support of the troops and morale. They are counteracting political speech of the people with whom they disagree with more political speech. Seems to me be a fair thing.

To those who think they should be protesting the war: can't you admit that people can reasonably support the war without assuming bad motivations in them?

Is is perfectly fair to question whether their views are correct at a substantive level. But criticizing their motivations for those views, calling them names, questioning their committment to liberty, equating them with Nazis, etc. seems pretty bad. What you are telling me is that political speech from Sheehan is good; political speech from American Legion is bad.
posted by dios at 11:07 AM on August 26, 2005


We fought, we bled, and we died to protect your freedom of speech.

Now shut up.
posted by ToasT at 11:04 AM PST on August 26


I think you are viewing this from a different perspective. From my reading of it, they are advocating counter-protests which is more political speech, not less. They don't appear to be advocating outlawing political speech based on content.

Thus, they might be saying: We fought, we bled, and we died to protect your freedom of speech. Now, while you are using yours, we will use ours to oppose your rhetoric.
posted by dios at 11:08 AM on August 26, 2005


I think an important issue here is that aside from those trying to silence protesters for blatantly political reasons (i.e. Cadmus) there are some people who honestly believe that anti-war protests will more or less directly result in the deaths of American soldiers. How do you deal with that?
posted by Espy Gillespie at 11:08 AM on August 26, 2005


or, sort of what dios said above.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 11:10 AM on August 26, 2005


I think this is absolute bullshit and the legion will be getting a big fuck you letter from me. But, come on people, rtfa. They aren't opposed to letters of opposition to the war, just large rallies that are used as propoganda by the - um - well whomever it is we are fighting.
posted by jmgorman at 11:11 AM on August 26, 2005


Where I grew up the AL was a bunch of oddly smelling old men. I think Sheehan and Co. could take 'em in a fair fight. Now that's my kind of reality television...
posted by ewkpates at 11:12 AM on August 26, 2005


Espy Gillespie, how exactly do protests directly result in deaths of soldiers? More to the point, how do they do so to a larger degree than actually declaring war and sending soldiers to fight?

Because, that sounds like a load of shit to me.
posted by jmgorman at 11:14 AM on August 26, 2005


To those who think they should be protesting the war: can't you admit that people can reasonably support the war without assuming bad motivations in them?

Not anymore. I used to support the war, but the OVERWHELMING evidence of fraud, deception, and negligence on the part of this administration have FORCED me to change my position.

There is NO tenable position an informed person can hold that does not find the administration culpable of intentional deception and negligence.

You are fooling yourself if you tell yourself otherwise. You are betraying the highest ideals of our republic in the process. All war supporters are falling into specious "good intentions" and "greater good" arguments to excuse the impeachable behavior of our elected public servants.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:16 AM on August 26, 2005


there are some people who honestly believe that anti-war protests will more or less directly result in the deaths of American soldiers.

I reserve the right to make fun of people that honestly believe things that I think are stupid.

Especially if they plan to take action based on those beliefs.

Also, I think the most substantive argument here is that they're being hypocritical - they've protested a "war" that they didn't agree with.
posted by flaterik at 11:16 AM on August 26, 2005


American Legion: The First Amendment Is Too Precious To Use!
posted by scody at 11:17 AM on August 26, 2005


Maybe the American Legion should download more of these.
posted by three blind mice at 11:17 AM on August 26, 2005


jmgorman, I don't think protest directly result in much of anything. I'm saying there are people who do, and if you did believe that for whatever reason, you'd be against protests. So I'm asking, how do you argue with people like that?
posted by Espy Gillespie at 11:18 AM on August 26, 2005


Aside from just calling them stupid, which I imagine is a popular response.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2005


How do you argue with one of the most tenuous causal chains imaginable, you mean?
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2005


dios, they're stating they support letter writing and other private, quiet types of protest, but not anything public that the media might pick up and show the world.

in my opinion, you don't fight for 50% of freedom, you fight for 100% - even the parts you don't agree with.
posted by NationalKato at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2005


jmgorman, right or wrong, one can at least concieve of ways vocal opposition might be dangerous for the troops. For instance, say Sheehan is successful in undermining public support. So say some congressman decide that we have to get out now because the public doesn't support the war anymore. So, say that these congressmen decide that since we are leaving, we aren't going to approve that next multi-billion dollar armor purchase because we will be gone soon. Troops might be at danger. Another hypo, say that Zarqawi guy knows that public opposition is at at X% and he knows that if he can just get to Y%, then Americans will leave. He might make a push to target troops in large groups to get enough deaths to get American to the pulling out point because he knows that the deaths will be use as a tool to force our politicians hands.

There are ways to concieve that loud opposition might embolden our enemies or weaken our governments resolve, both of which would be a danger of troops who need 100% support from their government.

Right or wrong, it is not impossible to appreciate that the American Legion might be acting in good faith, here.
posted by dios at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2005


Once again, right-wing 'patriots' are proving that they either do not understand the First Amendment, or are openly contemptuous of it. Criticism and protest are a duty, not just a right, when one believes that our government has made a serious mistake. "My country, right or wrong" is a recipe for disaster.

It is the President who has dishonored and endangered the troops, not the protesters. And he still hasn't given us a reason that makes sense.
posted by wadefranklin at 11:22 AM on August 26, 2005


dios, they're stating they support letter writing and other private, quiet types of protest, but not anything public that the media might pick up and show the world.
posted by NationalKato at 11:20 AM PST on August 26


Right. They are making a statement of belief. They are excercising their First Amendment rights. They have no power. They aren't taking away Sheehan's free speech.
posted by dios at 11:26 AM on August 26, 2005


There are some people who honestly believe that anti-war protests will more or less directly result in the deaths of American soldiers. How do you deal with that?

By saying that this wacky "free speech" thing that may have heard about is an extremely important safeguard that protects the people from a government that tries to force things on them. Things like misguided, open-sore war. It could be the case that such a war is necessary or will eventually bear fruit but if you can't convince enough of the American people of that, you frankly should rethink your strategy.

If you can't stand the free speech heat, then you shouldn't be in the kitchen.
posted by fleacircus at 11:28 AM on August 26, 2005


dios: " They aren't taking away Sheehan's free speech."

They are attacking it though. They are ignoring her message and attacking her free speech. Cindy Sheehan isn't saying that the American Legion should stop making press releases, is she?
posted by fleacircus at 11:30 AM on August 26, 2005


Dios, your (entirely plausible) scenarios suggest that any action that is not fully in support of the war puts the soldiers in danger. The Legion's actions therefore may be a good-faith effort to protect the soldiers from danger.

That being said, most protesters aren't suggesting that the soldier's safety in war be compromised, only that they be removed from the war (which is a somewhat safer scenario). It seems that anti-war protests are also in good faith and seek to achieve similar goals.
posted by jmgorman at 11:31 AM on August 26, 2005


war is a form of free speech.
posted by cloeburner at 11:33 AM on August 26, 2005


dios your logic makes the suppression of free speech a fait accompli. Bush could invade Canada and no one could speak out about it, because it might endanger "the troops."

Well let me echo the Right back at you: the troops signed up for this. They knew the risks that free speech entails and they accepted them when they signed on the dotted line and took the money.
posted by three blind mice at 11:35 AM on August 26, 2005


Am I the only one who finds it disquieting that about 10 percent of those polled don't think you should hav the right to protest the war? Who are these people and how did they miss the whole freedom of speech part of American society?

I mean, I've heard people try and claim Bill of Rights protection for making racist comments on Craig's List. When people don't understand freedom of speech, they tend to overapply it, rather than deny it.
posted by maxsparber at 11:37 AM on August 26, 2005


Many of the same people who are protesting the war now are the same ones who, before any troops were ever sent to Iraq, were strongly and publicly opposed to the very idea of starting this war. It is sick and ironic that they are now accused of endangering the troops. If they had been listened to back then, not one single American soldier would have been maimed or killed in Iraq. So now that the war has degenerated into the nightmare that they warned the President about, they're supposed to just shut up?
posted by wadefranklin at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2005


So, say that these congressmen decide that since we are leaving, we aren't going to approve that next multi-billion dollar armor purchase because we will be gone soon.

If you're concerned about body armor for the troops, dios, ask your Republican-controlled legislative and executive branches why they've been sent into combat without it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2005


In his speech, Cadmus declared: "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.

Is that good faith? That seems almost entirely contradictory to me. It's been said a few different ways above, but why did, as they claim, generations of Americans perish in bloody conflict to protect these "freedoms", if they don't actually get to use them?

Like the handgun that my dad keeps locked up in a safety deposit box at the bank, it its value only in knowing that it's there?
posted by psmealey at 11:39 AM on August 26, 2005


Before I am asked to defend the AL (I won't because I don't think what they said is worthy of support), please what my point is:

The more speech the better. Sheehan and the AL are obverse of each other. Some here are criticizing the AL and suggesting that they shouldn't be criticizing Sheehan. It's all speech. Oppose their rhetoric by arguing that protests don't threaten troops. Don't call them names, question their motives, suggest they are Nazis, suggest they don't care about freedoms, etc.

Political Speech: "war is bad" - sheehan
Political Speech: "you are endangering troops" - AL
Political Speech: "no she isn't" - you

That is a good and robust use of political speech. The AL telling Sheehan she should never be allowed to say what she is (they don't say that) would be wrong. You telling the AL they should never be allowed to say what they are saying would be equally wrong.
posted by dios at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2005


I don't have a problem with being critical of anti-war demonstrations if you support the war. It makes some sense that if someone supports a war and think it's a necessary action they could logically view vocal criticism of that war as harmful. That's fine.

However I question why they support this war if they didn't support Operation Allied Force. I have to come down on the side of the AL being a partisan, hypocritical organization. That's a problem, and they deserve to be called on it.
posted by I Foody at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2005


If they hated freedom so much, why did they bother to fight it?
posted by Bag Man at 11:43 AM on August 26, 2005


If they hated freedom so much, why did they bother to fight it?

If they hated freedom so much, why did they bother to fight for it?
posted by Bag Man at 11:44 AM on August 26, 2005


Is that good faith? That seems almost entirely contradictory to me. It's been said a few different ways above, but why did, as they claim, generations of Americans perish in bloody conflict to protect these "freedoms", if they don't actually get to use them?

It's not contradictory if you take the time to understand their point. They aren't asking Sheehan to lose her freedom of speech. They are suggesting that she shouldn't be on every news story giving our soundbites that they believe my threaten troops. They are asking her to go about her free speech in other forms. They are asking her to use her free speech in a manner that won't jeopardize the troops.

Thus, it is not contradictory they they support the right, but they oppose a particular of that right. This a nuanced point. For instance, I can support the right to sodomy, but that doesn't mean I want a person to be sodomize while sitting on my face.

If you understand their point, then you can see why they aren't being contradictory. They may be wrong, sure. But that doesn't make them hypocrits, etc.
posted by dios at 11:47 AM on August 26, 2005


I oppose the freedom to proofread.... obviously.
posted by dios at 11:48 AM on August 26, 2005


"I can support the right to sodomy, but that doesn't mean I want a person to be sodomize while sitting on my face."

Wow, that was a slick bit of association. War protesters are trying to have buttsex all over the faces of freedom loving americans everywhere. te-he!
posted by jmgorman at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2005


"[T]here are some people who honestly believe that anti-war protests will more or less directly result in the deaths of American soldiers. How do you deal with that?"

The same way you deal with people who believe the Earth is flat.

Anyway, interested parties can find the recent American Legion resolutions here; the one we're discussing seems to be here.

By publicizing this resolution, what the American Legion has done is issued a thinly- veiled call for beating up protesters. I don't know dios could've missed that, seeing that he clearly viewed five_fresh_fish's controversial comment as a threat against ParisParamus. If you threaten somebody's safety and well-being because they say something, are you not acting against their freedom of speech?

The Legion resolution also endorses a long constant global war of "retribution" and conquest abroad (again the familiar rhetoric -- to quote them quoting -- of "a war against all those who seek to export terror, and a war against those governments that support or shelter them"). I predict that it won't be long before the Legion openly calls for outright dictatorship here in the U.S.A., though I'm sure they won't call it that.

And by the way, I'm convinced that the American Legion is indeed practicing hypocrisy. So what they sincerely believe is that their side is always right.
posted by davy at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2005


They are suggesting that she shouldn't be on every news story giving out soundbites that they believe may threaten troops...

Thus, it is not contradictory that they support the right, but they oppose a particular expression of that right.

(Hopefully that helps. I'm just trying to make it harder to read my messages so you can't argue with me....)
posted by dios at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2005



President George W. Bush talks with U.S. Army veteran Tom Cadmus, the National Commander
of the American Legion, in the Oval Office Thursday, March 17, 2005.
White House photo by Eric Draper

posted by cenoxo at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2005


I don't know dios could've missed that, seeing that he clearly viewed five_fresh_fish's controversial comment as a threat against ParisParamus.

I took no position on that. I would not have banned fff. I didn't think it was a threat. Please don't fabricate my positions. I'll be honest about them if you just ask.
posted by dios at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2005


The American Legion:

"You can't worry about civil rights when the American way of life is at stake!"

The national commander says "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction."

Well, guess what? Those freedoms are MEANT to be used. Freedom of speech isn't worth a tinker's damn if it's not used!

If they oppose the free and peaceful excercise of speech then they have no right to invoke the memory of veterans who fought for that same right to speak.

What the national commander seems to mean: "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used."
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:58 AM on August 26, 2005


All right, let's keep it above the table. What do you say, dios, was the AL making a threat towards protesters?
posted by jmgorman at 11:59 AM on August 26, 2005


Thus, it is not contradictory that they support the right, but they oppose a particular expression of that right.

Dios, I don't mean any disrespect (and I think the way you have kept the debate civil in this thread is admirable), but I think you're splitting hairs here to try to defend the AL's point. Freedom of speech (short of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, etc.) is mostly an all or nothing proposition. If you cannot protest an issue of general concern in a public or visible way, then you right to free speech has been abridged. And no, I don't think the AL has the power to take away Mrs. Sheehan's freedom of speech, but they are definitely advocating it in a very public way.

I do think there are good reasons for requiring organized protests to get permits, most of which have to do with public health and safety, but the line seems to keep sliding every year.
posted by psmealey at 12:03 PM on August 26, 2005


A long standing veteran's group, which would indicate why it would oppose people it views as undermining the troops.

So why did they do just that when Clinton went into the former Yugoslavia?
It is the position of The American Legion, which I am sure is shared by the majority of Americans, that three of the above listed conditions have not been met in the current joint operation with NATO (“Operation Allied Force”).
Three of the same conditions clearly aren't met this time, but now the same kind of opposition they expressed before is "undermining the troops". Give me a break.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2005


Dios, this is one of the most thoughtful discussions I've seen you make. I hope it doesn't sound too condescending to say that I listen to you much more when you take the tone you've been taking here than when you descend to level of folks who use the cheap Nazi-analolgy in a FPP (this means you, Jesse). Kudos.

All of that said, I think the AL should be pissed upon for their hypocrisy -- as Billmon and others have pointed out. BTW, I went to Boys State in the 1980's. An odd, odd experience I still wonder about.
posted by Cassford at 12:07 PM on August 26, 2005


dios: "Thus, it is not contradictory that they support the right, but they oppose a particular expression of that right."

So you admit they would like to abridge Cindy Sheehan's freedom of speech beyond legal limits? I think all the arguments still apply about this being America and such, so you've not answered anything about their argument being groundless.

You're correct that they AL is trying to make some kind of argument. Despite your contortions to say that somehow this might be taken as a good faith argument bv a generrous reading, totally independent of the current political climate and the AL's political bent — well come on now dios, don't make us play stupid.
posted by fleacircus at 12:08 PM on August 26, 2005


American Legion equals Teh New Irony.
posted by fenriq at 12:08 PM on August 26, 2005


The American Legion is neither American *or* Legion. Quite simply they can go screw themselves.
posted by mk1gti at 12:09 PM on August 26, 2005


They are counteracting political speech of the people with whom they disagree with more political speech

True, but Cadmus' stated goal is a shift of public speech critical of the "global war on terrorism" to private channels (like private correspondence to elected officials), leaving his version of political speech as the only one represented in the media. It's clear that if he had the power to silence public dissenters, he would use it.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2005


Another hypo, say that Zarqawi guy knows that public opposition is at at X% and he knows that if he can just get to Y%, then Americans will leave.

I thought that scenario was already in play.

Anyway, keep in mind that the anti-war protestors AREN'T the people who are
a) slashing veterans benefits
b) and the troop's pay,
c) undersupplying the troops,
d) sending them into harms way unnecessarily,
e) without an exit strategy,
f) while extending their contracts,
g) and entrenching them in a hostile, nearly civil war environment where they're expected to behave like police, making them obvious and easy targets to an elusive and dangerous guerilla movement.

I don't know of any anti-war protesters who think that troops should be endangered, underappreciated, underpaid, or treated negligently by the government. Like wadefranklin said, above, if they'd listened to the anti-war movement before the war, there wouldn't be thousands of maimed soldiers and the death toll wouldn't be skyrocketing past 1,860.
The "support the troops" chorus should be shitting bricks about lies that got us into this war and the way the troops are being abused by the government. They should be clamoring to bring them home, with full benefits and pay, rather than telling the anti-war movement that we're responsible for the wellbeing of the troops, or that we could possibly do any more harm than this administration has done already.
Remember, it's not the motives of the troops that we question. We know fully that they serve this country and that they signed up for the armed forces to protect and serve our nation. We do, however, question the motives of the people who send the troops into harms way.
posted by Jon-o at 12:12 PM on August 26, 2005


A point about the American Legion-- membership in groups like "Veterans of Foreign Wars" requires you to have served in the military, during a foreign war, in the place where that foreign war occurred. For a while, undeclared wars like Korea and Vietnam didn't count (they do now, I believe).

So, for example, if you were deployed in Germany during Gulf War I, you do not qualify for membership in the VFW. To give a place for the rest of the veterans to go, the American Legion was created.

This resolution was clearly hijacked for political purposes, and their earlier history about all of this exposes them as hypocrites, which is clear for all expect the most blinded pro-bush partisans to see.

Also, I would not be surprised if this resolution contained an amendment for those damn kinds to get off their lawns, as well.
posted by deanc at 12:14 PM on August 26, 2005


Regarding my earlier comment about the Legion resolution, picture this: "Hey commies! You're supposed to be writing to your congressman, not protesting in the streets, so we're gonna hafta kick yer asses now!"

Now to answer dios, who said in response to my comment above, "I didn't think it was a threat."

But dios, what you said then seems to contradict that. To quote you [bolding mine]:

"If you want opposing viewpoints, don't be so openly threatening to them and insulting to them. A person with opposing views can't possibly be vocal without heaps of scorn. I submit no one with an opposing viewpoint can be respectful and vocal here. Because eventually the sheer amount of bad faith, scorn, insults and the like that the person has to deal with would eventually cause anyone to break down to more base rhetoric.

I know this has been pointed out by many people before me and the mob mentality isn't likely to change. But I am just flabbergasted by people who hate PP because he isn't congenial, but then threaten him and joke about him to the point he is turned into a monster. As if he could be anything else by the way he is treated."


You seemed to think somebody had threatened Paris, in a thread discussing fishy's alleged threat against him. Who did you think had threatened PP if it was not FFF?
posted by davy at 12:16 PM on August 26, 2005


It's not as if the government is supporting the troops adequately as it is now. The leaders of the troops wanted more of them, the troops desperately need body armor and heavy vehicles, the families of the troops aren't doing so hot with their cut stipends and benefits. So... where's the support, other than rhetoric? Must be that darn protestor with the No Blood for Oil sign.

Honestly, who's the kind of person to sign a letter to the President requesting cessation of military actives with their damn meathead nickname? Oh Butch said I should withdraw the troops, right then!
posted by Talanvor at 12:29 PM on August 26, 2005


It is eating itself due to a lack of decent public education

Yeah. Smart educated people never do anything immoral, short-sighted or jingo-istic. [rolls eyes]

Instead of the mushroomization Americans
It's the lazy-ass parents that are fucking up everything.
posted by tkchrist at 12:36 PM on August 26, 2005


I had no idea the American Legion were such jerks! And to think I liked Aquaman! AND I always thought The Green Lantern was a voice of reason who firmly supported free speech.

Oh. That's the Superfriends. Sorry.
posted by tkchrist at 12:40 PM on August 26, 2005


Right or wrong, it is not impossible to appreciate that the American Legion might be acting in good faith, here.

John Wilkes Booth acted in good faith, too. he was actually genuinely appalled that the American people weren't considering him a hero for what he had done. after all, he was genuinely convinced that Lincoln, with his idea of (in Booth's own horrible words, and please excuse me for the direct quote, "nigger citizenship", would provoke the annihilation of the republic).

Booth acted in good faith, too -- listen to his own words: "Now, by God, I'll put him through". a fine Christian man.

see, dios, at this point it's mostly an IQ test of sorts. where are the wmd's? the imminent danger? the mushroom cloud? all the reasons why that commie Hans Blix couldn't go on with the inspections but we needed to attack now?

where's the exit strategy? why are the troops so undertrained and badly equipped, in a war that's costing billions? why Saddam's torture and rape rooms are still there, only with American torturers now?
and where's Osama, by the way?

etc etc. I could go on and onit's not about good faith. it's about using one's brain, dios, at this point.
posted by matteo at 12:40 PM on August 26, 2005


Several points directed to me, I'll try to answer. Sorry if I miss one.

Regarding the billomon point: to properly evaluate it, we have to make some assumptions about the AL's view that we don't know. One can say that there is an exit strategy in Iraq; when we stabilized and helped established the government we are leaving. One can say that the American troops are answering only to American generals in Iraq. One can say that there was a clear reason to go to Iraq. All of these positions can be fairly made by the AL. They may be wrong. You might think there isn't a clear reason. But its their beliefs. In Bosnia, the troops weren't only answering to generals. It was a UN action. In Bosnia, one can say there wasn't a clear exit strategy: we didn't have a goal. But however the AL analyzed these two wars, one's analysis of a supposed "hypocrisy" on the part of the AL hinges on one's own analysis of the substance of the issues. That is, is it hypocritical to support the Bosnia operation but not the Iraq war? To call AL's opinion hypocritical, one has to hold the opposing views in both instances.

One can be wrong, without being hypocritical or lying.

____
Regarding the absoluteness of freedom of speech: freedom of speech is not lost if one doesn't appear on CNN every night. One can choose to do only private whistle-stop tours and still have full freedom of speech. One can choose how to exercise their rights. Again, I'm not sure there is anything "anti-speech" about saying "use your freedom of speech, but please use it in a manner that minimizes threats."

It is a logical problem to suggest that the AL shouldn't use its political speech in a manner calling for someone else to use their political speech in a particular manner. That way, a hall of mirrors exists.

___
davy, I can see where you would get that impression. To the extent that I used the word threaten, it was my fault for misstating my point and I can see why you would have assumed my point to be as you characterized it. The two uses of the word that you highlighted would have been consistent with my view if I used "hostile." By way of explanation: I think fff's comment is openly hostile. I don't think it is a threat in the sense of the word that I would use: that is, I don't think fff would actually endeavor to hurt PP. Nor, I'm sure, did PP think FFF would. So it wasn't a threat, and I wouldn't have banned him. It was, however, hostile. And my comment, that you pointed out above, was meant to convey that being hostile and insulting. When you show hostitliy to people, they aren't likely to be congenial back. That was my point. I didn't mean to convey that I threw myself in the lot of people who were calling for action against FFF. To the extent I did, it was my own fault for not being clear.

As that discussion applies here, I don't think AL is threatening violence on protesters. My grandfather was in the VFW. I remember his friends. They would have likely agreed with the AL's sentiment. But they certainly wouldn't have ever been violent. So I think the interpretation of "by any means necessary" is colored by assumptions about the group.

____
Ok, sorry if I missed something, but I got to get back to work for a bit.
posted by dios at 12:43 PM on August 26, 2005


It's not just speech counteracting speech when you use terms like "whatever means necessary". That puts it in a whole other realm, and it is a threat.

This is not he said; she said, but clear restrictions on free speech, and in addition and most troublingly, they'll use "whatever means necessary" to prevent others from using their rights to free speech against Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 12:48 PM on August 26, 2005


When someone says "by any means necessary" leaves them pretty open to a very specific assumption. Just the same as if you said we need to "take him out".

Now if they had said any legal means necessary, then I imagine most people wouldn't wonder if it was a mortal threat. Maybe a counter protest, filing a lawsuit, inquiring if the local police force could be utilized to stifle the dissent.

But when a person says "by any means necessary" almost all of us have the same cultural connotation that it could include pretty much anything, including murder and terrorism.
posted by Talanvor at 12:51 PM on August 26, 2005


I had no idea the American Legion were such jerks! And to think I liked Aquaman! AND I always thought The Green Lantern was a voice of reason who firmly supported free speech.

The Green Lantern is center-right, I'd say (that's Hal Jordan, anyway; I'm guessing Kyle Raynor leans left, and Guy Gardner is somewhere to the right of Reagan), and probably as interested in law and order as he is free speech (the Green Lantern Corps are cops, after all).

Aquaman, King of Atlantis, is a friggin' monarchist who will find his back against the wall when the glorious tuna revolution finally succeeds.
posted by COBRA! at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2005


American Legion & VFW halls used to really serve a cultural purpose: All the punk shows were at these musty old mostly-abandoned halls! Always cracked me up to see the political punk groups of the early Reagan years howling their anti-imperialist lyrics in a vets' club.

I was pretty sure at the time that these AL/VFW old guys were very close to being gone. The ones I knew were truly ancient, and it sure didn't seem like the Vietnam vets were replenishing the ranks. (I vagely remember a "King of the Hill" episode about hippie 'Nam vets trying to join an old right-wing VFW or AL lodge.) Where is the new membership coming from? Do they let the 101st Fighting Keyboarders join these days?

Anyway, as ewkpates said, the Soccer Moms could surely kick the fat asses of these old fools. And that would almost make it worth watching CNN for a few minutes ...
posted by kenlayne at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2005


Let's not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on Sept. 11, 2001

Wait, September 11th? Our armed forces are in Iraq. What does Iraq have to do with September 11th?
posted by darkness at 1:03 PM on August 26, 2005


Wow-What a discussion. The AL has always been, in my opinion, a group of men and women verrans who love their country and truely believe that their sacrifices during wartime made a difference. People certainly have the right to protest the War.

Some body mentioned something about no exit strategy. What war in recent memory ever had an exit strategy? WWI--no that caused WWII-WWII there was no exit strategy till well after the fighting was over. You could make the case that we never really came home-not only did we rebuild Europe and Japan, we still have troops in both places.

Korea-No exit straegy their-we went in as the UN--some good that did-we are still in Korea. Vietnam-we just up quit there. We sent troops to Yugoslavia etc- yup troops are still. You could make a very good case that is more of an exit strategy going in Iraq that we have had anywhere. Just because you cant have an exact troop withdrawl deadline, does mean there is no exit strategy.

I say God Bless the AL and Salute their right to support the war.....
posted by Daddisamm at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2005


darkness, well, we've been in Iraq on subsequent 9/11's but somehow I don't think that counts.

Do you mean to say the constant repition of Saddam and 9/11 hasn't affected your consciousness to link the two? Then its back to Fox News with you then and don't come back until you can say "Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and its a good thing we caught him before he was able to use those invisible weapons on mass destruction against us," without those annoying brainwashing "tells" like a facial tick or inability to think for yourself.
posted by fenriq at 1:08 PM on August 26, 2005


What war in recent memory ever had an exit strategy?

If you recall, this was a principe tenet of the so-called Powell Doctrine. I believe that was a reaction against the Vietnam experience. The first Gulf Was largely adhered to it, but it pretty much went right out the window in the Spring of 2003.
posted by psmealey at 1:12 PM on August 26, 2005


dios wrote: Does anyone have a problem with this action by the American Legion beyond a substantive disagreement on the propreity of the war?

I'm jumping in way late here, but I do have a problem with this action. Especially the creepy "by any means necessary" part. The American Legion has, in the past, used violence and murder to surpress those they disagree with. Admittedly the only incident I know of off the top of my head was back in 1919, but yeah, it makes me nervous that a group with a history of using murder and violence says it intends to surpress protesters "by any means necessary".

If they were just saying they wanted to organize counter-protests I'd have no problem at all. But that isn't what they're saying.
posted by sotonohito at 1:13 PM on August 26, 2005


The notion that protesting "emboldens our enemies" is just absurd.

The counterargument is that our enemies are currently doing all they can to oppose us; protests don't give them any additional resources. However, displaying our freedoms in action may spur some Iraqis now on the fence to support the US in order to gain access to the freedoms we can exercise every day. "look, you will even be able to protest freely and in public when your government is taking a course of action of which you don't approve!"

And that's more inspiring than a "unified America behind the president," which, frankly, would scare everybody outside of the US even more thoroughly than they are being scared now.
posted by Pliskie at 1:26 PM on August 26, 2005


Can the members of the American Legion be called up? If not, why do they need a commander?
posted by aaronetc at 1:33 PM on August 26, 2005


Aquaman, King of Atlantis, is a friggin' monarchist

With Prince Charles style hippy leanings.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on August 26, 2005


It isn't the job of American people to get behind the president, it's the job of the president to get behind the American people.

A majority of Americans don't believe in this war. If that wasn't true when it started it's because they were lied to.

The president isn't our king, he is our employee. It is not our job to get behind him, it is his job to serve us. And he should long since have been fired for cause.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:37 PM on August 26, 2005


dios: "I can see where you would get that impression. To the extent that I used the word threaten, it was my fault for misstating my point and I can see why you would have assumed my point to be as you characterized it. The two uses of the word that you highlighted would have been consistent with my view if I used "hostile."

But you said "threatening", in a thread where fishy's expression of hostility was taken by many as a threat, without saying then that you don't think it's a threat. In fact, what you said was, again, "I am just flabbergasted by people who hate PP because he isn't congenial, but then threaten him." So why would I be wrong to think you've "flip-flopped" about that?

Maybe you didn't know the difference between "hostile" and "threatening" then but do now? Or maybe you changed your mind about fishy's remark in the past few days but didn't register it as such? Or maybe a lot depends on the context?

So anyway, what do you think about the American Legion denouncing Clinton's war but backing Bush's? Does it seem to you like they didn't understand what they were saying then but do now? Or that they changed their minds? Or maybe that their understanding of a supportable war depends on who the President is? Or maybe the American Legion is a bunch of flip-floppers?

By the way, I never went to a punk show at a Legion or VFW hall, but I have been to crab feasts at at one of the latter; so I didn't spend money to reimburse the punks for renting the halls, I gave it directly to the VFW chapter for steaming sea-bugs for me. Mind you this was back in the early '80s when the VFW, or that bunch of 'em anyway, was a bunch of beer-bellied WW2 and Korean War vets whose wives and kids were happy to have them out of the house for a while. That is, by eating crabs there I was supporting my then-girlfriend's mother's stated wish that her husband be drunk and abusive among other old guys instead of being home punching her in the face.

And yes to what George Spiggot said.
posted by davy at 1:58 PM on August 26, 2005


davy, I explained that I misused the word and explained what I meant to say and what I think about the comment. Now if you want to persist on making accusations and ill-founded assumptions about what I think now or thought then, be my guest. It just makes you look like a supreme ass considering I already explained myself. And since I already explained myself, I'm not wasting any more time repeating it again if you are going to just ignore my explanation.

Furthermore, I already explained what I thought about Billmon's point.

Did you even read my post?
posted by dios at 2:04 PM on August 26, 2005


Isn't this just the obverse side of the Sheehan coin?


This is, perhaps, the single dumbest string of text I have ever read.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2005


It seems like an obvious conflation of two distinct ideas to me; one that dios has labored under the entire thread, despite several posters pointing it out.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2005


Methinks more and more that the Taliban really should have been quite popular in America.
posted by dreamsign at 2:23 PM on August 26, 2005


The argument that public protests endanger troops forgets that in war the loss of life is certain. People that protest are betting that getting troops out ASAP will result in fewer deaths than leaving them in harm's way for an unknown period of time. This is a reasonable position based on the lack of progress towards any reduction in the scale of the combat. Counter to that is the argument that pulling out will embolden the enemy, but it's impossible to know for sure.

I did watch Bill Maher's show last week and one of the guests said that Iraq is in a better situation than the USA during the creation of its constitution. If that were true, then there is no reason for us to be there. Of course, the same person claimed that Iraqi women had to wear burkas, etc. under Saddam so she's not exactly well informed.
posted by john at 2:25 PM on August 26, 2005


Some of you are making the AL and VFW members out to be some kind of drunken thugs. Most of the arguements turned out rather silly. If you are going to be against the War, make an arguement, that makes since.
posted by Daddisamm at 2:28 PM on August 26, 2005


Hah! The American Stahlhelm!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:31 PM on August 26, 2005


Daddi, the AL themselves called for an exit strategy when Clinton was president.

and what George Spiggott said--Bush works for us and if he doesn't remember that pretty soon there'll be a lot of GOP Congressmen out of work come Nov. 06. It's not just Democrats who are unhappy with Iraq, by any means.
posted by amberglow at 4:16 PM on August 26, 2005


dios writes "There are ways to concieve that loud opposition might embolden our enemies or weaken our governments resolve"

Just as there are ways to conceive that lack of opposition in the face of overwhelming evidence that the war was started on false premises might also embolden the enemies of your country.
posted by clevershark at 4:16 PM on August 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


Regarding the absoluteness of freedom of speech: freedom of speech is not lost if one doesn't appear on CNN every night. One can choose to do only private whistle-stop tours and still have full freedom of speech. One can choose how to exercise their rights. Again, I'm not sure there is anything "anti-speech" about saying "use your freedom of speech, but please use it in a manner that minimizes threats." posted by dios at 12:43 PM

Use all the free speech you want--just say it very, very quietly to minimize threats. Preferably when you are alone and behind a locked door. Whisper it.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:14 PM on August 26, 2005


Putting that Kent State photo up there was pretty lame.
posted by shoos at 6:23 PM on August 26, 2005


Oops, my bad. I just remembered since that girl's friend was killed by a guardsman, she's got absolute moral authority to have her picture put up anywhere to make the point that GWB is the greatest terrorist on earth.
posted by shoos at 6:26 PM on August 26, 2005


The AL has been going downhill ever since they instituted the designated hitter.
posted by greasepig at 7:53 PM on August 26, 2005


Dios: "one's analysis of a supposed "hypocrisy" on the part of the AL hinges on one's own analysis of the substance of the issues"

Well, no. It isn't the substance of whether or not Operation Iraqi Freedom meets their list of requirements for war while Operation Allied Force did not. The hypocrisy is that they say now that we shouldn't protest the war with troops in harms way, but back then they protested the war with troops in harms way. They tried to weasel out of it by basically saying that Sheehan and others should just write letters (the way they did). But, they didn't just write letters -- they got media attention for their protests, just like today's protestors.

That's hypocrisy, right?
posted by Cassford at 10:03 PM on August 26, 2005


Their early days of supporting Mussolini (and possibly plotting to overthrow the government) are behind them, right?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:15 PM on August 26, 2005


dios, denying you've flip-flopped when you clearly and publicly did is okay. Really. It's no skin off my teeth. If right-wingers didn't flip-flop right and left they wouldn't know it when not-so-right-wingers did it, and if they didn't misconstrue their own remarks so often they wouldn't be so good at misconstruing others'. Not that either takes "meaning to", mind you; indeed, it's hard to prove anyone is dishonest when "unconscious" fits just as well.

And you said what you thought about what others might think about "the Billomon point", I just gave you the benefit of doubting you were expressing your own views. My apologies. I personally think the American Legion has every right to change its mind and/or pursue a nakedly partisan agenda; what riles me is that so many Rightists don't own up to it, pretending instead to be "objective" and calling everybody else "partisan" and "biased". (Note that I am proudly partisan and biased against both "major" U.S political parties and quite a few "minor" ones, as well as the interests and agendae behind them.)

As for my view of "the Billomon point", Cassford made a good start. As for the Legion itself, thank you kirkaracha.
posted by davy at 10:23 PM on August 26, 2005


The argument that public protests endanger troops forgets that in war the loss of life is certain.

Yeah but they're also forgetting that the Iraqi insurgents/terrorists/bombers/kidnappers don't really give a shit what the public opinion in the US is. Or in Iraq for that matter. It's delusional at best to think they care.

(Which is one thing they have in common to the US government, more or less...)
posted by funambulist at 4:20 AM on August 27, 2005


davy you caught that guy red handed!! He said "billomon." Ha ha. The smart guys here know it's spelled b-i-l-l-m-o-n. Man, you are good. I mean, you probably didn't even need a spellchecker to notice that - I mean since "billmon" probably isn't in any of the spellcheckers anyways (unless you got some fancy custom one you concocted. heh. LOL).

Anyways, keep up the good work!!
posted by shoos at 5:51 AM on August 27, 2005


Well, I'm sorry I saw this thread so late [in MeFi terms, late is anything more than 12 hours after it was posted]. But I feel a big point is being missed or misused here:

It's nice to see that people who no doubt pride themselves strongly on having fought to preserve freedom, are now taking a strong and official stand against it.

Please, don't even acknowledge their POV that all veterans have fought for Americans' freedom. When was the last time the US was involved in a war that truly related to a threat to American's liberty? With the possible exception of Afghanistan (remember that one, where we were actually going after people who attacked us?), I'd say the last war that related to fighting a true threat to liberty at home was my father's - WWII, 60 years ago.

The US military in Iraq is not fighting for my freedom. And neither did the ones involved in all of Ronald Reagans' little excursions, nor Gulf WarI, nor Vietnam.

So anytime people start yapping about "the troops are fighting for our freedom" I tune it out. Because it's the essence of the propaganda.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:34 AM on August 27, 2005


Exactly, Northern, and their previous actions regarding Bosnia also show it for what it is.
posted by amberglow at 9:14 AM on August 27, 2005


"It isn't the job of American people to get behind the president, it's the job of the president to get behind the American people."

Actually, it's his job to defend the Constitution and the country. If the country doesn't understand what is going on in a situation, even with all the polls saying they're oppossed, if he thinks its the right thing to do to defend the country, then it is his job to do it. Please do not construe this as support for the war in Iraq or that I'm saying the country doesn't understand what is really going on. I'm just saying he shouldn't react to kneejerk public polls every time they come out.

"A majority of Americans don't believe in this war. If that wasn't true when it started it's because they were lied to."

This must be a very gratifying argument for antiwar people today. But we know that if tomorrow, Bin Laden were caught, the polls showing support for the war in Iraq, regardless of how unrelated the two are, would go up. Would that mean that at that point, we should continue the war because the latest poll says so? Polls catch the public mood at a given instance in reaction to stimuli and lack of stimuli, but the shifts of the American people due to whatever the media is stating (pro or anti war) for the given month shouldn't decide national policy. If this antiwar sentiment majority is sustained, then the government should reconsider in as much as it jives with my earlier statement about the President trying to do the right thing for the good of the country.

"The president isn't our king, he is our employee. It is not our job to get behind him, it is his job to serve us. And he should long since have been fired for cause."

Wow, you love the hyperbole. Fact is, he *shouldn't* react to monthly swings in public support or kneejerk reactions from the public. He *should* react to the ever larger problem of a war with no end in sight and goals that are nebulous at best.
posted by Drylnn at 2:42 PM on August 27, 2005


"Yeah but they're also forgetting that the Iraqi insurgents/terrorists/bombers/kidnappers don't really give a shit what the public opinion in the US is. Or in Iraq for that matter. It's delusional at best to think they care."

Look, I'm not arguing that the war is justified, but picture this scenario:

You're an insurgent/terrorist/whatever. You're being pounded on by American forces, on the run. In some ways, it would be easier for you to give in or surrender. You consider doing so under the wave of American soldiers descending on your position. Maybe you can slip back home. Maybe this new government won't be so bad.

But then you hear that an antiwar movement is building in the United States. You remember or hear from a fellow insurgent that during Vietnam, this kind of movement caused the United States to pull out there in a "loss". It's possible you just have to hold out a few more months to let the antiwar movement ferment rather than hold out for an endless span of time (which is what you had to do before you heard about the movement).

This all makes assumptions on the education levels and such of insurgents, but surely one man can make that kind of link and pass it on. It doesn't require each insurgent to have a history education... in fact, it's better off if they don't and hear it from other people.

I can see why people don't like the antiwar sentiment and believe it does endanger the lives of the troops, because the scenario above is one possibility (but not the only possibility.. for instance, some insurgents won't give a damn, as the quote points out) That said, it shouldn't trump the right of Americans to exercise their free speech rights to protest the war. And that's something the American Legion apparently forgot.
posted by Drylnn at 2:52 PM on August 27, 2005


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