What was liberal LA Times Columnist, Joel Stein, thinking when he admitted recently in his article, "Warriors & Wussies", what conservatives have been saying all along - that you can't say you support the troops and be against the war? Did he not know the ammunition he would be placing in their hands when he said:
"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 I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition....But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam."
While there are no words to describe how egregious (conspicuously bad or offensive, blatant or ridiculous to an extraordinary degree, outrageously bad or reprehensible) Stein's comments are, at least they're honest, more honest than the great majority of liberals who say they support the troops but not the war in Iraq.
This wasn't always the case. Following the attacks of 9/11 and prior to the campaigning of the 2004 elections, liberals were saying the same things about Saddam Hussein as conservatives were. Even if they changed their position on the war, for whatever reason, they need to be intellectually honest about what it means to 'support our troops.' For the record, remember? ...
"Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities" - From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter, July 18, 2002.
"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." - Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002.
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." - Robert Byrd, October 2002.
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." - Wesley Clark, September 26, 2002.
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." - Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002.
"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." - John Edwards, October 10, 2002.
"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." - John Kerry, October 9, 2002.
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." - Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002.
Everyone knows what they and other liberals are saying about the war now. But. it will be interesting to watch the 'flip-flops' that occur leading up to the 2008 elections when things continue to improve in Iraq and Afghanistan, and surveys such as the following mount between now and then...
A recent BBC survey shows:
While Italians, people of the Congo and 90% of the people of Zimbabwe are the most pessimistic about their future...
The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are among the most optimistic people in the world in regards to their personal and national future.
70% of Afghans say their personal circumstances are improving, and 57% are positive about their country's future.
In Iraq 65% believe their personal circumstances are getting better, and 56% are optimistic about their country's economy.
Bear in mind, a war is still being waged on their soil.
In regards to the prospects of our troops coming home, the Associated Press reported on January 26, 2006 that "Iraq's Army is emerging as a lightly armed counter-insurgency force that may control more of the country than the U.S.-led coalition by this spring," quoting U.S. Army Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, spokesman for the military transition command in Baghdad , "They're not going to be the 101st Airborne anytime soon. But in 2006, this is the year that the majority of Iraq will be secured by Iraqis."
War is hell, but so is the reign of ruthless dictators who kill their own people, fix their eyes on conquering other nations, or riding the world of 'the Great Satan' (America) or 'the infidels' (Jews and Christians).
Supporting our troops means : "We stand with you as you risk your lives to prevent further attacks on our nation, and equip nations that have been set free from the Talibans and Saddam Hussein's of the world to stand on their own. We honor you and what you are doing."
Powerful video: I Am an American Soldier
Hugh Hewitt's interview with Joel Stein
More liberal quotes on WMD
Sharon Hughes - Sharon is the President of The Center for Changing Worldviews, and hosts Changing Worldviews TALK Radio which is heard
on KDIA AM1640 San Francisco; KGDP AM660 Santa Maria, CA and WITA AM1490 Knoxville, TN, as well as online daily at Oneplace.com. Her column appears on several online news sites including CaliforniaRepublic.org, ChronWatch.com, Ediblog.com, chNews.com, NewsWithviews.com, RenewAmerica.us and others. For further information visit her: Website www.changingworldviews.com