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June 15, 2005

Live from Iraq

Michael Yon practically draws a flowchart of how the news usually gets from there to here. Then --

But news of a baby girl with a circulatory condition who needed surgery getting medical help from U.S. soldiers and a concerned nurse did not become a SIGACT, nor will it be included in a media release. So, unless a reporter was embedded with that unit at that time--and decides to tell the story--no one will ever know this one small, but powerfully important detail. There are a thousand such details falling like trees in a forest, but no one is listening for those kinds of sounds.

I write about them when I can, but there's an irony to all of this that is hard to escape. Most of the acts of kindness I witness are done from an instinctive altruism that almost always seeks anonymity. And there is that other problem with catching people doing good--the cynical media is quick to ascribe cheap motivations to soldiers who reveal their humanity through their decency. And does anyone really care about the soldiers who, after having arrested a suspected insurgent, then spent the next twenty minutes trying to find a home for the two little puppies he was keeping?

What can I add? So much of the American elite are so steeped in Europhile nihilism that they know in their bones that American military is made up of yahoos, knuckledraggers, gangbangers and NASCAR lovers who do nothing more than blow up things and beat "people of color." They believe any news of good coming from an area they have deemed "illegal" and a "failure" has got to a Rovian conspiracy.

Posted by Darleen at June 15, 2005 06:47 AM


Speaking as a member of the hated "American elite," allow me to say that of all the people I knew at Harvard, none would fit your stereotype, as far as hatred of the military goes. This stereotype of the snobbish anti-military elitist may have been true back in the '60s. I wasn't there at that time, so I don't know.

On the left in general, there's serious hatred of Bush, but a fairly high level of sympathy towards the soldiers. Liberals see soldiers sort of like they see exploited workers. They have to do a deadly and unpleasant job that takes them far away from home for meager pay. On this view, Bush and Rumsfeld take on an evil CEO kind of characterization.

Now, some people are (apparently) confused about how to express their Bush-hatred and take it out on the soldiers. I've seen two or three diaries like this on Daily Kos. The diaries were followed by a large number of comments yelling at the diarist for being an idiot, and usually a few comments suggesting that the diarist is actually a freeper trying to cause a scandal.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf at June 15, 2005 03:28 PM

First, to see American soldiers as "exploited workers" is on a par with that creature who posts "Abandon the Troops". Add to that the supercilious presumption of the "evil CEO" is to reinforce the collectivist cant that belies the "hate Bush, support the troops", morally vacant excuse for an ethical stance.

If you didn't know anyone like that at Harvard, you lived in a hermetically sealed closet.

This veteran will still fight and die to protect your right to express these opinions, anyway.

ps. You might check out the fact that, in the last four+ years, the most visceral, gut-roar of welcome and approval for President Bush, has come from the very individuals that he sent into harm's way.

You can not order that behaviour. I know. I was there.

Posted by: Mr.Kurtz at June 16, 2005 12:37 AM

Mr. Kurtz

Thank you.

Posted by: Darleen at June 16, 2005 06:24 AM

First, to see American soldiers as "exploited workers" is on a par with that creature who posts "Abandon the Troops".
Why is this? Someone who wants to abandon the troops doesn't care about them. I'd say that allowing people to return home, reuniting them with their families, and protecting them from bankruptcy in case their job disappeared when they were away counts as caring about them.

On Kos you'll see a lot of people upset about the stop loss policies that keep people in Iraq after their enlistment runs out, and as long as their units are deployed. These policies seem like a pretty clear case of exploitation.

If you didn't know anyone like that at Harvard, you lived in a hermetically sealed closet.
Actually, I lived in Kirkland House, where a friend of mine was in ROTC. Do you know any number of my classmates who had negative opinions of the military? I suppose if you knew people at Yale who had negative opinions, that would count too, even though it's an inferior school. *G*

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf at June 16, 2005 09:14 AM