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"I don’t support the troops": words from an intellectually honest war protester
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Seriously. Joel Stein makes a point I've been trying to make to the anti-war crowd who morally oppose the war and want to have it both ways (or said another way, to rhetorically cover their @ss):
I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.
Right. It is indeed not a popular position in which to stand. However, as Stein points out, it's the only honest position, if you are morally against the war in Iraq that is:
But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.
The anti-war crowd was at least honest about their cause during Vietnam. How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the instrument of the war? You can't fight a war without warriors. Why do such war protesters want it both ways? Because, over the years, it is the Vietnam protestors, not the soldiers, who've come to be vilified for their attitudes and actions against soldiers of the time. So they prefer to suspend their intellectual honesty in favor of an easier and more popular approach ... pretending to love the warrior fighting the war to which they morally object.

Make sense to you?
The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying.
So given Stein's formulation here, how, morally, can someone who claims moral opposition to the war also claim a love for those who enable it?
I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.
I completely, totally, unequivocally and thoroughly reject Stein's argument, but I respect the fact that he is at least intellectually honest about his moral opposition to the war in Iraq. Too bad the same can't be said for the majority of the war protesters.

If you're one of the "I support the troops but not the war" types, do everyone, including yourself a favor ... quit insulting the intelligence of both the soldiers and yourself. Try intellectual honesty and, as a dues-paying member of the "reality based community", try actual reality for a change.

HT: News Linker

UPDATE: To echo Jon's point of distinction in the comments, this is addressed to those who morally oppose the war, not to those who, as Jon says, "don’t support the war because they think it’s a bad foreign policy choice or being run poorly."
 
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I think it’s important to make a distinction between people who don’t support the war because they think it’s just completely immoral, and those who don’t support the war because they think it’s a bad foreign policy choice or being run poorly.

A good case can be made that the former shouldn’t say they "support the troops", but the latter can certainly say that without any intellectual dishonesty.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
A good case can be made that the former shouldn’t say they "support the troops", but the latter can certainly say that without any intellectual dishonesty.
I can agree to that distinction, Jon. And the case I’m citing is that of moral opposition.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
In fact, I’ve so updated the post to make that clear.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The problem, as is typical, is that McQ is sloppy with language.

What does "support" mean, anyway? It is an abused, vague, bumper-sticker type phrase. More to the point, it is the tail wagging the dog. It merely invites the question.

Again, assume for purposes of argument that the Iraq war is a venture doomed to failure, both because it was ill-conceived in the first place and because the civilian leadership is incompetent. To call for the withdrawal of the troops would be the only way to "support" them. After all, calling for the troops to stay in a situation in which they cannot possibly win cannot in any way be viewed as "support," if that term is to have any meaning.

Now, those against my position would take issue with my assumption that the war cannot be won. But that is not the point. Indeed, it merely invites the question. If you believe that the war cannot be won, and that the reason that it cannot be won has nothing to do with the valor, courage or committment of the troops, then the only way to "support" the troops is to call for them to come home immediately. (Unless you are of the opinion that Americans must continue to die in a hopeless cause simply for the purpose of not making the cause look hopeless - which is an immoral position.)

If, on the other hand, you believe that the war can be won, then calling for the troops to stay is one way of "supporting" them, I suppose.

I really don’t think McQ is capable of processing this argument, in that he is so locked into the belief that the war was not ill-conceived, that it is not being prosecuted incompetently, and that Bush is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Therefore, I do not believe that he could assume that the war could not be won, even for purposes of argument. He is simply intellectually incapable of conceiving of such a thing. Accordingly, anything he has to say on the subject is meaningless.

Again, I return to Pickett’s charge, because it is such a useful analogy. Would one be "supporting" the troops if one encouraged the charge, or would be "supporting" the troops if one called for the troops not to be sent.

I don’t think any person with any sense of decency wouldn’t want our troops to have the best equipment possible, regardless of when we would want them to come home. In that sense, we all "support" the troops. But only the demagogues among us would argue that one cannot be against the war but for the troops. It is a silly argument, a childish one, but one totally consistent with other childish arguments made by Bush supporters.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Try intellectual honesty and, as a dues-paying member of the "reality based community", try actual reality for a change.
They can’t do that, for the same reason Lenin couldn’t be honest about the true face of Communism and Mohammed couldn’t be honest about the truce he offered the Quraysh. They have a cause, and furtherance of that cause outweighs honesty or consistency.

Today’s leftists are especially wont to use rhetorical tactics such as this because of their post-modernist orientation, which I’ve discussed before. To them, the statement "I support the troops" is as semantically null as "War is not the answer." It is intended to put a certain image in the mind of the listener regarding the morals and motives of the speaker - it need bear no relation to reality.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I think the distinction McQ added to the post covers all of your objections, MK.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Interesting post.

The question of the morality of war in general, and/or wars individually... this war or that war... takes on an interesting dimension, however, when one considers the logical question that if one doesn’t support the war in question, does that also mean they want us to LOSE said war, with all the moral ramifications of that loss.

That’s an angle that I note Stein avoids altogether.

Also, I note he avoids the question of, since he doesn’t suport our people, whom DOES he support? A lot of moral ramifications there, as well, regardless how that gets answered.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the instrument of the war?

Turning your logic in a way you won’t like...

How can you be against murder, but for guns?

Personally, I’m for the war, for the troops, for guns, and against murder. However, I don’t see why there should be any logical difficulty in separating the instrument from the activity. The only premise you need to make that work is that there exists some other activity you support for which the instrument would be useful.
 
Written By: Jody
URL: polyscifi.blogspot.com
I really dont buy the entire premise. Being ’against the troops’ would imply that some sort of malice or hatred is directed towards them, which is not a neccesary position to hold simply because one thinks that the war in question is immoral.

Although it appears that Joel Stein is framing it in a somewhat unusual way:
I’m not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn’t be celebrating people for doing something we don’t think was a good idea. All I’m asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.
It dosent sound so much like he is ’against the troops’ so much as he is against what it is they are partaking in. I dont see that as neccesarily the same thing, but if you are unable to make that distinction, I can understand why someone would arrive at that conclusion.

By my reasoning, to be against an individual or a group of individuals is to wish some sort of ill will or malice towards them. It does not appear that Stein is ’against the troops’ by that line of reasoning.

The problem is, what the hell does being "for the troops" or "against the troops" really mean? Mkultra accurately points out tha the phrase, by itself, carries little meaning.

The people who cheer when more soldiers get killed by an IED can be legitimatly be described as being ’against the troops’. Those who simply disagree with the actions that they are participating in and wish to see that situation ended, but otherwise only wish the best for the people in question, would not accurately be described as ’against the troops’.
I think it’s important to make a distinction between people who don’t support the war because they think it’s just completely immoral, and those who don’t support the war because they think it’s a bad foreign policy choice or being run poorly.

A good case can be made that the former shouldn’t say they "support the troops", but the latter can certainly say that without any intellectual dishonesty.
Excellent point, Jon.

 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
How can you be against murder, but for guns?

Not all murders are committed with guns. Not all guns are used for murder.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the instrument of the war?

Turning your logic in a way you won’t like...

How can you be against murder, but for guns?

Personally, I’m for the war, for the troops, for guns, and against murder. However, I don’t see why there should be any logical difficulty in separating the instrument from the activity. The only premise you need to make that work is that there exists some other activity you support for which the instrument would be useful.
You posted this while I was producing my previous comment, so I did not get to see this before my initial comment. I would like to add a big ++ to this statement, though.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
How can you be against murder, but for guns?
Quite easily ... guns aren’t moral agents.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Let’s not leave out of the distinctions those who are against the war merely because it is a Republican who is doing it, but who were all Rah-Rah for Slick Willie’s wag-the-dog military actions.

There’s a word for them. And I don’t think Henke et al want it repeated on their site, so I will forbear.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
I really dont buy the entire premise. Being ’against the troops’ would imply that some sort of malice or hatred is directed towards them, which is not a neccesary position to hold simply because one thinks that the war in question is immoral.
Rose, do you think our Vietnam experience, and particularly the dastardly treatment the troops received (from some) after returning home from there, has anything to say to your point? While I agree, it’s not a lock, malice and/or hatred does seem a fairly safe bet, given that history.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
What does "support" mean, anyway? It is an abused, vague, bumper-sticker type phrase. More to the point, it is the tail wagging the dog. It merely invites the question.
Yeah, you’re a lawyer. When you have not argument, substitute parsing and question the meaning of words. Oh, and bloviate.

Brilliant.
Again, I return to Pickett’s charge,
Frankly, it’s a pity you weren’t a part of Pickett’s charge. But I digress ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Sure a person can oppose a war for moral reasons and still support the troops.

So long as the person doesn’t oppose ALL war on moral grounds.

It’s possible to say that "I believe that the United States must vigorously defend itself, and our troops should be praised for helping us do so. However, this particular mission is misguided and immoral. I, do, however recognize the courage and sacrifice of those who enlist because they believe they’re protecting this country."

 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
I received We Were Soldiers for Christmas. I like the movie and I especially liked the commentary from Col. Moore. He said the story of the war was one of a dramatic dichotomy.

The American fighting man is one of the bravest, most gallant images in existence. He (and now perhaps she) is an embodiment of self-sacrifice, brotherhood, determination, and victory in the face of daunting odds. He is the hero and anyone who has served counts themselves in a proud company and a noble tradition.

But there is a counterbalance to that symbol of heroism. War is hell. It is dirty, disgusting, bloody, and costly. It exacts a physical, mental, and spiritual toll. It is not something to be praised. Because of the battle for landing zone X-ray, 79 families didn’t have their sons, husbands, and/or fathers return to them. War is an awful thing.

I think many protestors have really latched onto this concept. Perhaps Joel Stein is intellectually honest. Perhaps the other war protesters are presenting an ideology that isn’t exactly rationally coherent. Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean those "oppose the war, support the troops" protestors are being dishonest with themselves.

I think there has been a real push from the right to impose a version of what the protestors believe onto the protestors themselves. Lets redefine the protestors as dishonest because the stance they hold is logically untenable. If my experience has taught me nothing, it is that people aren’t necessarily reasonable or logical. Some people really do believe six impossible things before breakfast. Most of these people are acting on their feelings and emotion rather than their reason. They feel the war is wrong and that war is hell, but they also feel that a grudging respect for the military fighting for what they, the soldiers, believe is right. War is still hell, but soldiers are still the heroes of their own narrative.

I suppose we might be entitled to some smugness because our stance is on a sounder philosophical footing. But I don’t think we are entitled to call those other people liars just because they haven’t worked out the incoherency of their own beliefs. Joel Stein might admit he doesn’t respect the troops, but I don’t think it necessarily follows that everyone else also believes the same and are attempting to deceive us.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
However, this particular mission is misguided and immoral.
Immoral? In the context of your presentation, tell me what would constitute immorality.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean those "oppose the war, support the troops" protestors are being dishonest with themselves.

I think there has been a real push from the right to impose a version of what the protestors believe onto the protestors themselves.
I’m not sure of your point Jeff. I’ve gone out of my way to make it clear that this is addressed to those who find the war to be morally wrong.

Not those who oppose it because the believe it to be the wrong policy or that it’s not going well, but the real moral opponents who say without equivocation "war is morally wrong".

So I’m not trying to "impose a version" of anything on a good portion of the anti-war movment who fit the excepted categories. I’m asking those who are morally against the war how they can intellectually square that moral opposition with a declaration that they support moral agents (soldiers) conducting the war?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"Immoral? In the context of your presentation, tell me what would constitute immorality."

There are many moral theories/systems of values out there. The Catholic Church doesn’t view the war as a "just war." Utilitarians could find that it simply has created more death and destruction than it could ever have prevented. Etc etc.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Well Geek, the Catholic Church hasn’t held the war to be "immoral" or "unjust"...at least in any meaningful way. I say this as a disappointed, but believing Catholic. Disappointed that my church is sinking into a mire of foolish/hypocritical pacifism.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There are many moral theories/systems of values out there. The Catholic Church doesn’t view the war as a "just war." Utilitarians could find that it simply has created more death and destruction than it could ever have prevented. Etc etc.
Alright, assuming the first, do you suppose the Catholic Church would support the moral agents who were waging an immoral war?

For instance, do you suppose the Catholic Church hated the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan but supported the Soviet soldiers conducting the war?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Alright, assuming the first, do you suppose the Catholic Church would support the moral agents who were waging an immoral war?
The answer to that, in a theoretical sense, is an unqualified, "Yes." That we may oppose the sin, but support the sinner is the challenge of the Christian.

The Church would be expected, as would Catholics, to do the opposite, to NOT SUPPORT the wicked acts of those prescecuting a just war.

It does depend on what you mean by support, too. In you rexample of the Soviet troops, yes a Catholic SHOULD love them, and oppose them too.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
To use another example:

It would be difficult to find anyone to deem the conduct of World War I to be moral. One could support the troops in the trenches and hope they achieve victory, but oppose the absolute waste of their lives.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
The answer to that, in a theoretical sense, is an unqualified, "Yes." That we may oppose the sin, but support the sinner is the challenge of the Christian.
Whoa ... no one supports the sinner when he’s committing the sin. We may lend our support and forgiveness afterward, but we work toward stopping the commission of a sin.
It would be difficult to find anyone to deem the conduct of World War I to be moral. One could support the troops in the trenches and hope they achieve victory, but oppose the absolute waste of their lives.
Huh uh. You can’t "hope the achieve victory" which entails killing people on the one hand and "oppose the absolute waste of their lives" on the other. It’s a morally incompatible position.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Not those who oppose it because the believe it to be the wrong policy or that it’s not going well, but the real moral opponents who say without equivocation "war is morally wrong".
What about those who simply beleive that this war was morally wrong, but that war in general can be a neccesary evil, just not in this case? There is certainly a difference between those two levels of thought.
Yeah, you’re a lawyer. When you have not argument, substitute parsing and question the meaning of words. Oh, and bloviat
Object all you wish, but I think this is one of the few times where mkultra may have a point. "Supporting the troops" is a vague and relatively meaningless phrase that is up for a wide array of interpretation.

It is very much a legitimate point.
Rose, do you think our Vietnam experience, and particularly the dastardly treatment the troops received (from some) after returning home from there, has anything to say to your point? While I agree, it’s not a lock, malice and/or hatred does seem a fairly safe bet, given that history.
I take it as a given that during Vietnam there was a signifigant number of people who genuinely were ’against the troops’. I’m just not sure that mindset is as prevalent among those who are against this particular war as some would like to beleive.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
McQ we may be having a semantic difference here, but to support the sinner does not mean to agree with the action or abet the act, merely that we love and wish the sinner the best. Support does NOT equal sending bullets to the Wehrmacht.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I take it as a given that during Vietnam there was a signifigant number of people who genuinely were ’against the troops’. I’m just not sure that mindset is as prevalent among those who are against this particular war as some would like to beleive.
Well, that’s exactly why I ask the question... because I see so much linkage to ’another Vietnam’ coming from the opponants to Iraq, at least when the usual suspects are talking. Certainly, given Kerry, that linkage was unavoidable. And as certainly, there is a ’nam-like hate focused on our troops by some. But like you, I wonder if we’re getting a good feel for what the rank and file left is about on these matters, in using such as Kerry/Dean, etc. etc., as a measure.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
A response to a number of points:
What about those who simply beleive that this war was morally wrong, but that war in general can be a neccesary evil, just not in this case?
Then they’re more opposed to it on a policy level than a moral level.

Look, I’ve been very clear about who this is addressed too ... those who find war to be immoral.

Not just this war, but any war.
"Supporting the troops" is a vague and relatively meaningless phrase that is up for a wide array of interpretation.
Not if you’ve read this blog it’s not (and that’s something MK does selectively at best). It means you are behind them and what they do. You support them and their mission. That is certainly what they consider to be ’support’.
Support does NOT equal sending bullets to the Wehrmacht.
In this case it does, because that is the support I’m talking about and have always talked about.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
How can you be against murder, but for guns?
Quite easily ... guns aren’t moral agents.
Neither are militaries viz a viz the decision to go to war.

The moral agents involved in the decision to go to war are the President, Congress, and in an indirect sense, the American public. Because civilians make that decision, the military is denied that choice and does not make a moral judgement. Ergo, they are not moral agents in that decision.

Now, the military is a moral agent with respect to how a war is run, e.g., My Lai versus civilian food drops. However, McQ has agreed with Jon’s assertion that the point of this post doesn’t apply to those that don’t support the war because they think it’s a bad foreign policy choice or being run poorly".

If that clarifier had not been offered, then the guns are not moral agents would be an effective handling of my guns/murder analogy (at least for those who oppose the war for the way it has been run).

If we instead permit the separation of the instrument from the activity in determining morality, then there is no problem with supporting guns but opposing murder.

But then we have to permit that it is not illogical to oppose the war, yet support the troops.
 
Written By: Jody
URL: polyscifi.blogspot.com
Neither are militaries viz a viz the decision to go to war.
Oh they absolutely are. No soldier is required to follow an immoral or unlawful order.
The moral agents involved in the decision to go to war are the President, Congress, and in an indirect sense, the American public.
Unless you think people are mindless robots, each individual is a moral agent.
If that clarifier had not been offered, then the guns are not moral agents would be an effective handling of my guns/murder analogy (at least for those who oppose the war for the way it has been run).
What do you mean if? It’s been there the entire time. I agreed with Jon’s point and said I’d ensure it was clear in the post, which I did. The original post was addressed exclusively to moral objection. It just didn’t make clear enought that was to whom the post was exclusively pointed.

Gun can never be ’moral agents’. They’re inanimate objects. They’re incapable of making moral choices. Moral agents, of course, are capable of such choices. Thus soldiers who fight in a war make the moral choice to do so (or they refuse to do so and pay the penalty for such a choice).
If we instead permit the separation of the instrument from the activity in determining morality, then there is no problem with supporting guns but opposing murder.
Uh no. You can’t conflate an inanimate object and a moral agent. Moral agents make choices concerning morality. Guns don’t make choices.
But then we have to permit that it is not illogical to oppose the war, yet support the troops.
False premise, false conclusion, but entirely logical.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Huh uh. You can’t "hope the achieve victory" which entails killing people on the one hand and "oppose the absolute waste of their lives" on the other. It’s a morally incompatible position.
Sure you can.

In the case of WWI, it would be perfectly consistent for Brits to hope that their lads could break through the German lines and end the war, while at the same time deploring the generals and politicians for squandering their lives in a giant meat grinder.

Seriously, it would take a strange person to not oppose something like WWI on moral grounds.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Ok, a soldier is indeed a moral agent (the military, however is not a moral agent wrt the decision to go to war).

I guess I was confused by the following wording (or I am a fool for not inferring from other context).
How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the instrument of the war?
An instrument is not a decision making entity nor a moral agent, hence my belief that you were using "the troops" as shorthand for "the military".

I think I would’ve been less confused with
How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the executors of the war?
 
Written By: Jody
URL: polyscifi.blogspot.com
An instrument is not a decision making entity nor a moral agent, hence my belief that you were using "the troops" as shorthand for "the military".
OK, that’s a fair point, but since I was talking about a column that said "I don’t support the soldiers" I assumed it was obvious they were the ’instrument’ of war I was talking about.
I think I would’ve been less confused with

How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the executors of the war?
Fair enough. My apologies for the confusion.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
In the case of WWI, it would be perfectly consistent for Brits to hope that their lads could break through the German lines and end the war, while at the same time deploring the generals and politicians for squandering their lives in a giant meat grinder.
Not morally it wouldn’t have. The giant meat grinder works on both sides and you can’t morally oppose death and destruction only on one side. You either oppose it morally or you don’t.

Again, what you’re talking about is a policy difference, not a moral objection to war. You’re blaming the general and politicians for the war and wasting lives. That’s a political objection. I’m talking about people that consider all war on all sides to be morally wrong.
Seriously, it would take a strange person to not oppose something like WWI on moral grounds.
Really? An interesting assertion given that millions of strange people fought it without considering it morally wrong. But there were many who opposed it on political grounds as the wrong war for America to fight.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/


I don’t support the troops either.
I was waiting to see if there were
other people like me out there.
It’s a bit odd to say you support the
troops if you don’t accept the rationale for
war. What if we invaded New Zealand
because they have funny accents.
Would I be expected to "support the troops"
in such a war as well?
Bravo to Stein for shooting from the hip.
Now it’s time for everyone else to start getting
real as well. Let’s get the troops home.
This war was a mistake.
 
Written By: Yizmo Gizmo
URL: http://riotstories.com
Dear Mr Y Gizmo,

The New Zealand accent is cultured, spoken by refined and civilised people - it is not funny.

Kindest Regards U Closp
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
From previous articles it looks like this guy’s satire cuts pretty deep. To me it seams he is trying to be funny and failing miserably. Although the moonbats have taken it as a battle cry, so that is a good thing. They need to stand up and be counted. Out in the light of day.

Off topic do you think Cindy will join the Iranian summit on the Holocaust (Can the left attach to a smaller minded person?)

 
Written By: coaster1
URL: http://
What about those who simply beleive that this war was morally wrong, but that war in general can be a neccesary evil, just not in this case?

Then they’re more opposed to it on a policy level than a moral level.
I fail to see the distinction here. What if, for example, someone beleives that we were intentionally lied to regarding the justifications for the war. Would it not therefore follow that one could be opposed to the war on moral grounds, as we would be talking about agressive war on false pretenses? That is more than just a political argument, it is a moral one as well.

To extend this to murder and killing, the person who kills in self-defense is different than the one who murders. There is certainly more than a simply policy (legal) difference between the two, there is also an important moral difference as well.

Was German invasion during World War 2 not only wrong on a policy level, Germany was acting as an unprovoked agressor afterall, but also wrong on a moral level as well? I would think that would be self-evidently true, regardless of ones position as an anti-war pacifist or a proponent of just and neccesary war.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
I fail to see the distinction here.
If you are morally opposed to war, you are opposed to all war. Not just this war or some wars. You are morally opposed to the concept, nature and execution of war. Such moral opposition must then entail objecting to all that enables war. That would include soldiers.

If you object to this war, but not other wars you aren’t morally opposed to war.

If you object to this war because you were lied to but not because you find war morally wrong, then you don’t morally oppose war.

This is addressed to those who morally oppose war ... all wars, with no exception and can find no moral reason, ever, to engage in war.

I don’t know how to make it any clearer ... really.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
If you are morally opposed to war, you are opposed to all war. Not just this war or some wars. You are morally opposed to the concept, nature and execution of war. Such moral opposition must then entail objecting to all that enables war. That would include soldiers.
Were is that written?

In general, killing people is a bad thing. Immoral, according to just about anyone with a conscience.

However, in some circumstances it is necessary to kill people. Sad but true.

Just as a person can hold SOME killings immoral and other necessary, so can a person hold SOME wars immoral and others necessary.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Man talk about splitting hairs. It’s not that difficult people.

Supporting the troops means you want them to succeed in their mission and make
it home safely.

All this crap about moral agents and instruments, and whether the invasion was immoral or not is irrelevant and a different discussion. The current mission of our troops as defined by the president is to help build a stable democratic Iraq, and kill terrorists in the process.

So it boils down to this: If you want: 1)the US to stick it out and try to stand up the new Iraqi democracy, 2) our troops to kill as many terrorist psychopaths as possible, and 3) our troops to make it home safely, then you support the troops. The realities of war are such that in some instances we will fail at #3 in order to achieve #1 & 2.

If you want to ditch Iraq now and let them fend for themselves, you don’t support the troops.

If you don’t want our troops to kill terrorist nutjobs, you don’t support the troops.

If you want our troops to die to teach Bush a lesson, you don’t support the troops.

If you want any of these, that’s fine, it’s a free country. By all means come out and say it publicly, I can at least respect that. Just don’t say you support the troops. You either do or you don’t.
 
Written By: SteveS
URL: http://
Were is that written?
Right above your question.

*sigh*

I’m the author of the post. That is the group to whom the post was addressed.
Just as a person can hold SOME killings immoral and other necessary, so can a person hold SOME wars immoral and others necessary.
Well then THEY aren’t the people to whom this is addressed for heaven sake because they don’t fit the description I’ve given.

I mean, this really isn’that hard to understand.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
It’s not that difficult people.

And it’s not that simple, either.

No offense, SteveS, but you don’t get to dictate how one supports the troops.

As expressed by others, the term “support the troops” is rather void. And it can be filled with any number of definitions. To say that one “doesn’t support the troops” is rather hollow as well.
If one believes that to support the troops, one has to believe in the President and his current foreign policy and the mission assigned by the president, then what were to happen if, hypothetically, the President were to be voted out of office tomorrow and another president with a different outlook on foreign policy assigned the troops a different mission one disagrees with; does that mean that one would no longer support the troops? I don’t think so. Using that simple equation, it’s easy to suggest that one can support the troops but not support the mission.

What bothers me is that some “support” for the troops can be palaver.
Does “support” for the troops include something so simple as a yellow ribbon bumpersticker? Or can it be more substantive as driving a hybrid vehicle to reduce demand on Mid-East oil?
Does “support” for the troops include something so simple as raising a flag in the front lawn? Or can it be more substantive as involving yourself in the political process?
Does “support” for the troops involve railing against those who disagree? Or can it be less slanderous and involve reasoned debate and persuasion?

There are of course less inane ways to support the troops.

One could give a gift basket.
One could donate frequent flyer miles. (As I do)
Or
One could always “adopt a soldier”. (Yeah, right.)
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
I’m not sure of your point Jeff. I’ve gone out of my way to make it clear that this is addressed to those who find the war to be morally wrong.

Not those who oppose it because the believe it to be the wrong policy or that it’s not going well, but the real moral opponents who say without equivocation "war is morally wrong".

So I’m not trying to "impose a version" of anything on a good portion of the anti-war movment who fit the excepted categories. I’m asking those who are morally against the war how they can intellectually square that moral opposition with a declaration that they support moral agents (soldiers) conducting the war?
Correct you aren’t trying to do that. You’re being very good about addressing only what needs to be addressed. But I’ve already seen posts popping up on other blogs which essentially state "Joel Stein has the guts to say what all the anti-war types really believe." I think that sort of statement is very short sighting and is putting unfitting words in a lot of people’s mouths. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to slur you with my previous comment. You are doing an excellent job as usual.
Then they’re more opposed to it on a policy level than a moral level.
Agreed. These people can’t be pacifists. But it is important that some of these folks are advocates of Just War theory. I suppose their position reduces to policy concerns, but those concerns can be objectively philosophical instead of just subjectively (Bush Lied!) political.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Well then THEY aren’t the people to whom this is addressed for heaven sake because they don’t fit the description I’ve given.
Okay then. You were addressing it to pacifists, not to all people who think the Iraq invasion was immoral.

As Jon Henke noted and you have acknowledged, such distinctions are important. There are a lot of people who thought Iraq was a terrible idea (immoral, if you’re a hardcore Utilitarian) but are not pacifists by any stretch of the imagination.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
It’s not that difficult people.
The initial comments here regarding morality failed to make any distinction between those who are morally opposed to this war, and those who are morally opposed to all war.

Do you at least concede that a person can be morally opposed to war in general, but can also be morally opposed to a specific war as well? I’m pretty sure that those who beleive that war can be a neccesary evil would tend to view German and Japanese agression in WW2 as not only bad policy, but also as immoral.

Moral opposition to the notion of war is not the only method of moral disagreement. Policy and morality are not entirely seperate.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Do you at least concede that a person can be morally opposed to war in general, but can also be morally opposed to a specific war as well? I’m pretty sure that those who beleive that war can be a neccesary evil would tend to view German and Japanese agression in WW2 as not only bad policy, but also as immoral.
Excellent, so far. But your point however brings up another aspect that even you don’t mention. I’m willing to bet that there were a number of people fighting on the German side who believed that their actions were moral. We can, under the shelter of history, discuss whether not that is objectively true.

I tend to think that it was not. Then again, that kind of judgment...including the definition of "objective"... tend to get made by the victors.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Do you at least concede that a person can be morally opposed to war in general, but can also be morally opposed to a specific war as well?
Uh, how could he not be?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Bravo Mr. Stein! Soldiers are not bound to obey immoral or illegal orders...I think the Nuremberg trials made it clear that "I was just following orders" defense, does not absolve guilt. Just remember, Germans supported their troops too!

"It is the first responsiblity of every citizen to question authority."- Benjamin Franklin
 
Written By: Jason
URL: http://
How can one claim to be against the war for moral reasons and yet be for the instrument of the war?
How can one claim to be for the war for moral reasons yet fund it by immoral means?
 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: http://no-treason.com
I don’t believe it matters what you mean near as much as the effect of those words on the persons to whom you make it. It’s a bit like sex harassment—it doesn’t matter if you think you were flirting, it matters whether the receiver thinks it was flirting...

How much is the soldier going to believe you when you say, "You shouldn’t be in this war. You shouldn’t be doing what you are doing. You are blindly following someone I don’t believe in, and doing things I cannot abide. But I support you." And when that man or woman is sitting in a foxhole the next time, if he or she for one second thinks about that, it could cost him or her their life. Yes, overdramatic. But at least if you say, "I don’t agree with you or anything you are doing," the soldier knows precisely where he or she stands. There is no ambiguity.

I think Mr. Stein is being honest. I cannot think of another moral issue—or even non-moral issue—in which we would try to state that we support the individual and not the cause.

How about your job... Your boss comes to you and says, "That project you are on—its stupid, you’re wasting your time, we shouldn’t even be working on it...Keep up the good work." Yeah, right...and I’m supposed to feel "supported" by this person?

How about abortion??? "I really disagree with Abortion. It’s wrong, immoral, and evil. But I support your decision—it’s your life." Right. That’s a friend you no longer have—if you ever had one.

How would the Dixie Chicks have felt—and I mean their emotions, not their personal beliefs—if President Bush have responded with, "The women of the Dixie Chicks have every right to their opinion, and I applaud them for expressing their disagreement with the war. I support their right to have this opinion and express it without fear. Of course, I’m embarassed that they are Americans, but I support their right to their opinion." Can you imagine how horriblly they would have felt treated, yet they said almost precisely the same thing about Mr. Bush.

So sorry—I can’t buy it that you can have your cake and eat it too—not on the moral issue. Mr. Stein is right—you either support the war and the troops...or you don’t. You can’t have it half and half. If your "support" creates an ambiguity in the mind of the person receiving it, then you’ve contradicted yourself, and they no longer are going to "feel" your support.

All that said, withdrawing support is ENTIRELY different than actively wishing the person ill-will. Add the statement, "So I wish you would just shut up and die," to any of the statements I made above, and it becomes what I think Stein was saying at the end of his column—"No parades, please."
 
Written By: spirit
URL: http://

 
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