Check Out This Comment
In my post about a letter opposing the war from a Captain in Iraq that appeared this week in Stars & Stripes, a commenter had this to say about my attempt to mock and belittle the letter writer's logic, and my linking to letters from Soldiers on the ground who disagreed with said Captain (spelling and capitalization as written):
"I'll Respond to those letters and save DU the trouble. I notice you put dissenting officers under the microscope , but offer no scrutiny of their critics so let's take the first letter from a 2lt Martinson and examine it for a minute:
"the letter is all but calling Pirozzi a coward or at least a REMF, when anyone with even a passing knowledge of the situation on the ground knows there IS no Such thing as a rear area.
"Its also massively hypocritical because Camp Taqaddum Where Capt. Pirozzi is serving, is a hell of a lot more exposed and forward than The massive and Plush (by US Army standards Camp Liberty that Lt. Martinson is writing from.
"Secondly, notice that the writer is a a 2Lt (the Officer corps equivalent of a buck private) who thinks he has earned the right to lecture a Captain about leadership and military discipline. According to this Lt. Martinson is a brand new officer who only graduated from the "infantry officer basic course" 6 months ago, which means he's likely been "in-country" less than 3 months.
"I'd love to check in on him in a year an see what's become of his shiny optimism and comfortable self righteousness."
Then he offers me some advice:
"I'll say the same to you our dear host. You serve comfortably in a relic of an earlier time, secure in the knowledge that no country in the world has a navy left that poses a credible threat to our submarine forces.
"There are no IED's and car bombs underwater. Don't be so quick to judge someone who has seen the larceny and imcompetence of our current military leaders up close and personal."
I have to admit that this is a first -- someone basically saying that 21 years in submarines doesn't qualify me to question the logic of a fellow officer. Who knew that submarine service was so easy?
I'll leave aside my amazement at this line of thinking and see if I can follow Magorn's train of thought to the logical conclusion. Since I didn't actually serve in Iraq (six months on the CENTCOM staff in Tampa in 2003-2004 is the closest I got -- granted, that was a legitimate military target, but we weren't attacked, so that doesn't count) I apparently shouldn't judge the logic of someone who was on the ground in Iraq. Fair enough. But if I'm not qualified to judge him, who is? Apparently, newly minted college graduates with only a few months in country aren't. How about those who never served in the military? By Magorn's logic, I would guess not.
So, how about judging those who support the war? Is there a lower standard? Quickly looking around Magorn's website, I don't see any evidence that he was in the military. Has he faced danger? Should he be so quick to judge 2LT Martinson?
Obviously, the answer is that he certainly has the right to question Lieutenant Martinson's political speech, just as he has the right to support Captain Pirozzi's speech, and I have the right to mock it. Of more interest to me, though, is a sense I've had since early last year that the Democrats, in their lionization of Congressman Murtha and Senator Kerry's military records, and humorous pokes at Republicans who didn't serve in the military, are making it tougher for someone without a military record to be an effective spokesman for their cause. If this trend continues, we'll see more and more soldiers returning from Iraq entering public service. Despite the hopes and dreams of the more "progressive" element of our population, I'd guess that a substantial majority of them will be glad we took a risk for the freedom of Iraqis, and will gravitate towards the political party that took that risk.
It'll be interesting to see if Lieutenant Martinson or Captain Pirozzi will be a more viable candidate for office in 20 years...
Update 2010 02 Dec: I had almost forgotten that the main point of my initial post, in addition to questioning the Captain's use of facts, was a disapproving attitude towards active duty officers publicly expressing overtly political thought. I still don't much like that. It's their right, obviously, but I think it's just "bad form".