Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

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".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offense, BH, but the guy does have a point. I still think the CAPT. is a troll.

12/02/2005 7:57 PM

Blogger Chap said...

What the guy's trying to do to you is called a "no true Scotsman" argument, a logical fallacy.

And that's a fallacy whether or not you were right or wrong.

12/02/2005 10:25 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Whether or not I was right?!? Of course I was right... the guy's "fact" about algebra, quadratic equations, and tree-swinging was laughable.
Now, because I'm not a sua-vey and de-boner blogger like chap (who has Steven den Beste casually hanging out in his comments -- lucky!) I didn't know what the "no true Scotsman" argument was until I looked it up. Now that I read it, I still don't get it... I thought I was just supposed to mock and belittle general foolishness, not have to actually think about political discussions.

12/02/2005 11:55 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

In a slightly larger picture, two points I have been making for some time seem appropriate:

+ Taxpayers are being gamed when military academy grads are "in it" for other than military careers. Subsunk provides more by way of examples. The service commitment for undergraduate tuition programs could be raised a year or two to solve that problem.

+ This is Magorn's complete profile: "Mens Rea Latin for 'The Evil Mind'. A term of art in Law and my paricular cyberspace home to Rant about the state of Law and life"
Reading as much of his blog as I could stand, it appears entirely political, always anti-Bush, and anti-war. Since he wishes us to suspect he is a law school student or lawyer wannabe, there is no surprise in learning where his bread has been buttered. He is no EagleSpeak. By the way, Mens Rea, or “guilty mind,” marks a central distinguishing feature of criminal law.

12/03/2005 12:46 AM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

A couple of points if I may,

Not sure I understand what vigillis is talking about with reference to the service academies, its not game to the tax payers if a guys serves his commitment and then gets out. The real question about the academies why they are still worth it when their "systems" (plebe system and class system) are no so watered down by the PC nonsense and the presence of women they bear no resemblence of what an Academy is supposed to be.

Second, I think there will be a good amount of Iraqi vets who will enter politics, this could very well be the 21'st century's "greatest generation". I think that actually there will be more of a split between the parties especially where folks realize they can become a mover and a shaker in the Democratic party because they will far outclass the current crop of Dems. That might actually be a good thing for the country, because they will take both parties away from the wacko extremes and back to the things that built the Democratic party. A budding Scoop Jackson or Carl Vinson is out there somewhere.

Finally, anti Bush or no, Magorn has a point about Bush always talking in front of controlled audiences. I'll ask the question again, why did he not deliver his plan for victory in front of the Congress, which is the audience he should have addressed.........

12/03/2005 3:40 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Skippy -- In this case I agree with you. While the academy hopes that their graduates go on to serve full careers, there are obviously those who won't, and I don't hold it against them. Lessons learned in the academies make the graduates useful to the country as private citizens as well. (Since my oldest son is thinking of applying to Annapolis in three years, I might be a little biased.)

I also agree that a lot of the more politically-ambitious Iraq vets coming home will see quicker room for advancement as a Democrat; the few who have run so far have tended to be more extreme (you had the one in Ohio who couldn't even beat that silly Jean Schmidt). The more moderate ones, who recognize that the U.S. isn't inherently bad, but rather didn't understand the Arab mindset, will move into positions of power. And they'll have a year or more of experience 'understanding the Arab mindset'.

For any progressives reading this, note that having leaders who "understand the Arab mindset" isn't a good thing for the progressive cause; it means they'll know that they respect power, and that only by continually demonstrating resolve can we come to an "understanding" with them: If you don't attack us, we won't attack you. If you do attack us, we'll make sure you don't have the power to effectively attack us again.

I had thought that President Bush understood that, but the last year has shown that, if he did, he didn't have the right strategy to convince the American people that we had to fight this war in a different way to be successful on the ground.

12/03/2005 8:11 AM

Blogger Chap said...

I ain't sooavay and deboner--gotta catch up to the infamous Bubblehead traffic numbers, and it just ain't gonna happen! If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance...

Yeah, the guy was a fool but the logic of your critic was foolish whether or not he was right, too.

It's kinda related to the "chickenhawk" thing and equally silly...

12/03/2005 6:47 PM


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