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February 16, 2009

Blistering Open Letter from a Lefty Embed to Lefty Military Critic: You're a Coward

Ignore the stuff about the war being an imperial adventure.* The rest is scorching good fun.

As a journalist, criticizing military policy without talking to the military is completely incompetent. But with you, it goes deeper. You hide behind political artifice to lob your mines of pre-conclusion, like a craven wretch. And really, I think that goes to the solid core of the dregs of the problem. You're not a coward merely because you're afraid to seek the truth when it might not conform to your views ... rather your chickenshit views are shaped by the fact you're a coward.

I bet you were one of those kids in high school who got the shit kicked out of him by bullies. You probably developed some deeply seated complex for power and aggression by the time you were a sophomore, and now you rail out blindly against all exhibitions of it. The irony here is that you and I probably agree on some overarching premises. This war has ultimately been waged for the same reasons all wars are waged--natural resources and geopolitical advantage; we probably see eye-to-eye there. But grow some balls, Dahr; be more honest--and brave--in the future.

Nearly every American soldier on the ground--no matter how misguided vis--vis the underlying motivations that brought the U.S. to Iraq--is here because of a sincere and genuine desire to help; none of them, I wager, have come to further an empire. Whether it be to fight against terrorism so people back home feel a little safer in skyscrapers, or to relieve a weary Iraqi population of a dictator, they're here for honorable reasons; just as is the case with the majority of those Iraqi soldiers (who still have targets on their foreheads). Which makes your fink agenda a slap in the face to about a million people who have fought and died and lost legs, brothers, and lots of blood in the hope of making something as simple as a secure place to live.

The military has been surprisingly forthcoming with me and all I had to do was ask. Marine Corps Colonel Patrick Malay sat with me on three different occasions, for long discussions about security in his area of operation in Anbar. One thing I learned quickly is that the military's officer corps is filled with the best of America's minds--kids that aced their college entrance exams, were the captains of their ball teams, and had to be nominated by senators to go to the schools they did. These are the guys (along with their much more experienced superiors) that are deciding strategy--and they're fucking smart. I was allowed to sit in on a couple of their high level briefings--again, all I had to do was show some kind of aptitude for objectivity--and I can tell you their comprehension of the situation on the ground is apt, their thinking clever, and their intentions centrally wrapped up with the Iraqi people.

At the heart of it all, they're smart enough to be pragmatic.....

The military's policy is designed from the bottom-up on security. The plan is simple--so simple (in theory), it can't fail. Security will bring outside investment, which will thereby enhance existing security, which will bring more investment, further enhancing security, and so on. It's uncomplicated and it's already working. The lynchpin is security....

I'm phobically allergic to the conservative Republican types the military is rife with, but I've only been in country four months and already I hate liberals. There's plenty of ugliness to report in Iraq (as there are thousands of stories of hope and headway)--and the U.S. military certainly isn't beyond reproach. Nobody's telling you to report on one side or the other. But manipulating the truth because of your own personal biases is wretched and works in the face of progress. The other end of the political spectrum disregards you, Dahr, and now I know why. I thought it was because you're a liar--but you aren't. You don't have enough backbone to be a liar. You're a craven obfuscationist, intent on promoting your agenda at the cost of a menagerie of much braver men and women.


* Actually, don't ignore it; it makes this attack all the more remarkable.


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posted by Ace at 12:35 PM

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