Saturday, February 02, 2013

Hagel hearings remind that opposition to Bush was partisan not principled

I've been avoiding politics, too upsetting, but some things get in. Neo-neocon's post on the Senator Hagel, Secretary of Defense nomination hearings makes my patriotic liberal idealist heart clench in anger.

Senator Hagel based his defeatist opposition to the counterinsurgency 'surge' in Iraq on his traumatized memory of the Vietnam War. Hagel believed because his generation failed at something a long time ago in a land far away, it couldn't be accomplished anytime anywhere else, rather than allow that another American generation could engineer a solution. I don't understand why such a narrow-minded defeatist should be in charge of the military. More upsetting is Hagel's admission of self-interested partisan motivation for undermining the US mission in Iraq.

It's not a surprise anymore, but it's still frustrating. Hagel's naked admissions are just one more reminder that President Bush reacted to 9/11 as a principled leader simply trying to do his duty as America’s Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world – following liberal principles no less. He gave his countrymen the opportunity to reaffirm that we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, & our sacred Honor in order to battle the regressive challenge to our hegemony and make the world a better place. Instead, Bush's detractors seized the opportunity to grab power and advance their own agenda of parochial partisan self-interests at the expense of the nation and a progressive world order. They succeeded and, rather than object, the Cathedral was complicit, and the majority of the West accepted the betrayal as the new political normal. We fractured and shrank where we should have united and grown.

My recent attempt at bigWOWO to set the record straight on our Iraq intervention reinforced to me, sadly, that their point of view originates from partisanship, not principle. Their truth is thus defined. It's far enough gone that Byron, bigWOWO's proprietor, even fought the basic language necessary to understand my explanation, and I was not being esoteric. As I observed in recent thoughts, they don't want truth; they want their narrative. They don't want peace; they want allegiance. And, it's a tough (red) pill for an idealist to swallow, but morality is plastic, as plastic as the narrative.

My countrymen let me down.

Thus I turn my focus towards MGTOW even as my INFP heart continues to tug me towards the good fight of the idealist. My gut still wants to wade into the arena, champion a worthy cause, and do what I can to set things right, an impulse I embraced as a student activist with mixed results. I tried, but the serial of pettiness, debased sacredness, exposed shibboleths, betrayed trust, even senseless evil, have roiled the ground under my feet. What's wrong is too much and amorphous for my simple ethical prescriptions; I'm feeling (fellow INFP) Yeats. I'm disappointed and disillusioned. I need to save myself before I again consider saving anyone else, let alone my country and the world.


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Anonymous bigWOWO said...

Hey Eric,

Just thought you might find this interesting (and ironically, you brought up Iraq too): I've got a dude on my blog defending Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq:

I'm actually on the other side of the argument with this guy! Even though I didn't think the war was justified, I don't think a person in an all-volunteer army ought to be able to decide that he's just not fighting. It's not up to soldiers to decide when and when they won't fight. A good soldier works in a team and takes orders from his command.

2/07/2013 12:38 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Hi Byron,

I'll take a look.

2/07/2013 5:12 AM  
Anonymous bigWOWO said...

Cool. Glad we agree on this.

BTW, my own personal stake in this is that I DO support our military. I personally know guys who served during both parts of the Iraq War, risking their lives, and I absolutely HATE the idea of some enlisted man turning around and saying he refuses to support his men.

2/07/2013 11:02 AM  
Blogger Eric said...


I understand 'enlisted man' is a matter of semantics - Watada volunteered like any enlistee. But what Watada did is distinctly worse than the same action by an enlisted man because Watada was an officer, although the same action by a sergeant (ie, non-commissioned officer) would have been almost as bad.

An officer is given authority over his men, but by the same token of that power, the officer's personal needs and wants take a backseat to his responsibility for the needs of his men and the unit - whether it's a platoon or division - he commands. The ethic ingrained in all soldiers of 'mission first, soldiers always' goes [insert multiple] for officers. The trust of soldiers in their commanding officer cuts deeper than a paycheck or job title. It is rooted in their fundaments as men. Watada revealed his quality as a man when he betrayed his responsibility and violated that trust.

When I was the MC of a friend's commissioning ceremony in college, I put it this way:

"Leading Marines as an officer, bearing direct responsibility for their lives and well-being, and by extension, the lives and well-being of their families - it is the highest of responsibilities. It is a sacred responsibility. And it is a responsibility I value deeply as a former enlisted Soldier."

2/07/2013 3:09 PM  

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