UPDATE: Welcome Mudville readers! We've fixed some minor typos. Hopefully this reads a little smoother.
Yesterday's post reminded the Posse of how many lies are necessary to sustain the anti-war movement.
For example, the notion that more US soldiers are "waking up" to their evil/incompetent leadership and refusing to fight/deserting is false. Desertions have gone down since the brutal Clinton years.
Then there are the alleged heroes of the anti-war movement - soldiers and sailors who chicken out and refuse to fulfill their oaths and do the duties they have undertaken.
Before we continue, we must examine what constitutes being a hero.
One of the things that makes a hero "heroic" is the notion of sacrifice.
Heroes give something up for the benefit of others. It can be comfort, safety or health. In extreme cases, they give their lives to save those of others.
Captain Sean Grimes gave up more than any of the "heroes" of the anti-war movement. His family, his love, his comrades - all of this he sacrificed for the good of others. Read through the comments to sense the man's great goodness.
When we read of his death, the Posse felt a pang of loss because we had missed seeing what our old friend had become.
Speaking to his friends and family, it was obvious that here was a man, a good man. He was fallible, he sinned and had his own selection of faults.
But he was someone we were glad we knew and someone we wished we could have known again.
The Posse's greatest regret was that we never got the chance to buy him a beer and talk over all the things that had happened since we last spoke. In another world, in another time, he could have been happily married to his wonderful girlfriend and our conversation would have been over the delightful chattering of children romping around the back yard whilst steaks cook on the barbecue.
Capt. Grimes was willing to put all of his tomorrows on the line to help others. This is what makes him a hero.
He is not unique. Every day, men and women just like him stake their tomorrows for the sake of a better today. This is heroism.
And this is where the wheels fall of the anti-war cart. These people are not dupes. They are not dim-witted victims of slick advertising campaigns.
Nor are they destitute peasants, eagerly accepting their first pair of boots and an ill-fitting uniform for a cup of warm gruel.
To maintain either fiction denigrates them and their sacrifices - which is why these are so prevalent.
If our military members are too stupid to know the danger they face, they cannot be truly brave.
If they are too poor to eat, they are likewise unable to accomplish anything with their miserable lives other than being homeless beggars.
To put it another way, both of these lies attempt to prove that the tomorrows these people risk aren't worth anything.
Taken together, they paint a picture of military people too dumb to duck and too pathetic to do anything but stop bullets.
But what of our anti-war heroes? What do they give up?
Exposure to danger.
The burden of their freely given service.
In some cases, they spend a few months in prison.
And then they move forward with their lives trying to convince themselves that betraying their own sworn word was a moral act.
Meet a new deserter, Joshua Key.
According to this article, Key thought all he would ever do in the Army was build bridges. He was shocked, shocked to find that combat engineers do something other than road construction.
After a short tour in Iraq, he deserted and now has fled to Canada, where of course his actions are being lionized.
Here is a typical example of wishful thinking and spin:
The decision, although disappointing to anti-war groups, has not stemmed the trickle of war refugees to Canada. About one individual or family per month has arrived since January 2005, said Michelle Robidoux, of the Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign. [emphasis added]
How does one "stem" a trickle?
Surely given the size of Canada, one can find just about one of anything that enters the country per month. The term that immediately comes to mind is "statistically insignificant."
Except that the anti-war movement wants to make it significant.
How can they do this? By glorifying those that flee and denigrating the ones that stay and fulfill their obligations.
There are other aspects of this propaganda campaign as well.
For exmple, this delightful bucket of bile is chock full of classic logical inversions. It blames the United States for all the deaths in the Korean War - which, given the fact that it was the product of unquestioned Communist aggression, seems a singularly rediculous position to take. (Note the lack of attention to the continued tyranny of Kim Jong Il's brutal regime.)
Like most anti-war rants, it ignores that there are two sides to a conflict - apparently the Soviet Union was a place of peace, plenty and pacifism.
Then again, the entire article is rife with hatred for the United States, attempting to paint our country as a nation awash in hatred, so consumed with bloodlust that if we can't kill foreigners, we turn our guns on each other.
Here's another one of their heroes, favorably quoted in the piece, Jim Talib. Talib's story fits with the traditional template [emphasis added throughout]:
I originally enlisted in the Army National Guard back around 1993. A lot of the people in my family had been in, and I knew it was the only way for me to get money for college. The reserve GI Bill as well as the tuition waiver for state schools that is offered through the National Guard in New Jersey was an offer that was hard to refuse. When I joined I don't think I, or anybody at the time, would have imagined that we would be involved in an occupation where nearly half of the deployed force was reservists and national guard (OIF3 rotation will be 43%). So I figured, for one weekend a month, it's not a bad deal. I also wanted to get out of my neighborhood, and make a little money, so the chance to go away for training and travel while getting paid was a plus. In the winter of 2002, I transferred from the Army National Guard into the Navy Reserves, where I am still serving as a Corpsman. I switched over to get out of my former position as an 'Infantryman' because I could not do that job anymore. I had grown too much personally and politically in the time since I had first enlisted, I could not see myself carrying a rifle and being an occupier. I did not want to guard checkpoints, search homes and shoot at people. My plan did not work out.[...]
In the end, I found myself not in a hospital somewhere, but on the frontlines of an occupation doing exactly what I had tried to avoid.
Here we have a man who has obviously re-enlisted at least once, but doesn't want to deploy or do anything other than work in rear areas.
He didn't want to be in the military, he wanted a weekend job with good benefits. So, apparently, did his fellow soldiers.
When I was in the National Guard it was certainly true that most of the people were there for the college money, and that’s tragic since many working class kids trying to get an education are now forward deployed in Iraq, in combat, not in college.
It was a little different with the Marines, certainly a few were lured by the G.I. Bill, but I found they were more likely to really believe in what we were doing and to want to be in combat.
Ah those stupid Marines.
This interview confirms both of the anti-war war stereotypes: the poverty-stricken peasants yearning for some pocket money and of course the Cro-Magnon thugs who are too dumb to know any better.
His anti-war career was simplicity itself:
I started by going to anti-war vigils, with a sign that said ‘Iraq War Veteran Against the War’, and just standing there. It was great because it gave me a chance to be visible and send a message about how I felt, without having to talk to people about stuff, the first month or so I really didn’t talk to anyone about it except close friends.
The best thing about this gig is that it is pretty safe:
As far as consequences, I have not suffered any yet.
Heroism without risk or consequences. Great work if one can get it.
Actually there have been consequences. Talib has gone from a faceless servicemember into a bona-fide hero.
Last time I went to the Saturday vigil, one of the organizers came up and thanked me for attending. She then proceeded to tell me that I was, in effect, the crowning jewel of their vigil… I think there’s some truth in this.
Indeed there is.
There's more to the interview, which is worth reading, particularly the claim that war crimes aren't investigated and that those who report them are punished by their chain of command.
We're pretty sure most of the milbloggers would take some issue with that.