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A "revered" troop is an endangered (and dangerous) troop

vastleft's picture

On "Meet the Press":

President-elect Barack Obama has selected retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, telling NBC News in an exclusive interview that "he and I share a reverence for those who serve."

How many times do I have to push back on this dangerous bullshit, and will anybody join me?

On Obama's apologies for saying troops' lives were wasted in Iraq:

“Their sacrifices are never wasted,” he said.

Why not? This politically correct talking around the realities of sending people to kill and die is a big part of the problem. Why can't someone stand up and say, "these people risk everything to defend the country, and we fucking wasted their lives — and it has to stop!"? Because when you can't admit the last guy died in vain, you're condemning the next one to that very same fate.

From our interview with anti-war activist Mimi Evans:

In some ways, isn't there a kind of untouchable "sacredness" applied to the troops — putting them up on a pedestal — that's really a disservice to them? They become an abstraction, something people use like a cudgel in platitudes and slogans, instead of talking about them as real people about whom life and death decisions are being made. You can keep them in a quagmire hellhole, because you're not talking about young men and women. To me that seems a very dangerous thing.

Mimi Evans:

Indeed. It is very dangerous. There's an ideology here that underlies the whole thing. It's like the struggle between good and evil, it's literally like the Crusades were. It's almost identical. It's us vs. them and all of that, that's been built up in the minds of all the people who get their news in soundbites. They think there's us and them, and they are going to come over here and rape our women and steal our children. They won't ask a question like "who's them?"

I hate to think that the troops are in the middle of any of our political talk. But they are. You know, it's all so sacrosanct: "Let's support the troops, let's make sure they have the armor they need." Most of the people I know and work with on this say "they don't need the armor if they're coming home." So, let's not kid ourselves.

Et je répété, encore:

When people and memes become sacred, everything goes to hell. Like "support our troops." Sacred cows make people shut down their critical faculties and accept whatever the status quo feeds them. If those awful bickering partisans of the 60s had acted that way, we certainly wouldn't have an historic president-elect right now, would we? If we weren't being whacked with the "support our troops" cudgel, we might have been able to support our troops.

Fuck sacredness, and bless timely profanity, I say.

Our troops need not your reverence, President-Elect Obama, nor do the people we send them to kill in ill-considered and ill-motivated wars.

They need your good judgment and humane treatment. And the more our "leaders" huff on platitudes, the less of those they can count on.

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Presidents cannot say their lives were stolen from them. (Stolen, not wasted, big rhetorical difference), it is just something a sitting politician cannot say. This is something for pundits, think tanks, academia, retired military, ministers, and others. But Presidents cannot say stuff like that.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

And who said anything about "stolen"?

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

For many years, it was because both Northern and Southern politicians danced around calling slavery for the dehumanizing and brutal thing that it was that so many more Americans were born into, and died within, the confines of slavery.

No, presidents can (and should) admit mistakes, and it's even easier to admit the mistakes of a past administration, so there really is no excuse, here.

No, if Obama truly believes in the speech he made back in 2002 against this war, then he has the power and thus the obligation to speak for what is right. If he is truly the change he claims himself to be, he can end this. If he is truly historic, than the confines of a normal politician do not apply to him.

You see, isn't it funny that this guy brings himself and the rest of us up to the very brink of empowerment, and then walks us back every. single. time? Sorry, but I'm not accepting that. I'm going to hold him to the high bar he set for both himself and the country.

So, he's the history-making, unbound, son of change, is he? Damnit, it's time to show it.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Obama isn't known for his oratory gifts, and the country is deeply opposed to progressive reform, honest politics, and change from the boundlessly admirable and successful orthodoxies of recent years.

Therefore, it's necessary for him to bullshit non-stop and play to rightwing memes that lead to pointless killing and endless authoritarianism. Cut the guy some slack, willya?