Tuesday, January 24, 2006

LA Times Column: "I Do Not Support the Troops"

Joel Stein's column in this morning's LA Times has caused a fire-storm of criticism. All I need to do is print a few paragraphs and you will see why:

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...

But blaming the president is a little too easy. 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. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel...

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.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.

Personally I have little to say although many are asking folks who take the LA Times to cancel their subscriptions.

The LA Times may or may not endorse what Stein has written but they were under no obligation to print it. That they chose to publish and distribute this column at their expense, however, is perhaps one of the most dishonorable things I have ever seen in a major American newspaper.

Astonishingly, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt today, Stein acknowledged that he did not know anyone in the U.S. Military. As Hugh summarized,

Mr. Stein really doesn't know anyone on active duty, hasn't been to any bases or any of the service academies, hasn't met with wounded or returning troops, and generally admits to being blissfully ignorant of the military. He could not recount a single book he has read about the military, and doesn't even know how big it is. He thinks the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have died in the GWOT have died in vain. He does not feel grateful for their service.

These are not illegal opinions, of course, but they are deeply repulsive ones.
How sad to think that Stein's opinions may represent those of many in our country. Clearly, the LA Times would do better to publish columns written by those who have some credible idea of what they are talking about. Perhaps a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine?

I won't hold my breath either.