It’s Easy Being Right

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Bush Administration

Whenever I see Dean Barnett’s byline, I know whatever verbiage is dribbled under it will be raging, five-alarm, neon-lit stupid. And I have to look; it’s so ghastly it’s compelling. Sorta like three-day-old road kill.

Here; you can look for yourself, if you dare. You might want to keep some Pepto-Bismol handy.

The basic premise of this monstrosity is that the “9/11 generation” is more patriotic than their dirty bleeping hippie parents.

In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn’t answer the phone.

Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers–those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation–took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers’ response to their moment of challenge. War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.

Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, military service didn’t occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

Then he goes on for a bit about how he’s been talking to young folks who have enlisted, and then he says,

One of the excesses of the 1960s that present-day liberals have disowned and disavowed since 9/11 is the demonization of the American military. While every now and then an unrepentant liberal like Charlie Rangel will appear on cable news and casually accuse U.S. troops of engaging in baby-killing in Iraq,

There’s no documentation of Charlie Rangel or anyone else on cable news saying any such thing, but let’s go on …

the liberal establishment generally knows better. They “support” the American military–at least in the abstract, until it does anything resembling fighting a war.

In search of a new narrative, 21st-century liberals have settled on the “soldiers are victims” meme. Democratic senators (and the occasional Republican senator who’s facing a tough reelection campaign) routinely pronounce their concern for our “children” in Iraq. One of the reasons John Kerry’s “botched joke” resonated so strongly was that it fit the liberals’ narrative. The Democratic party would have you believe that our soldiers are children or, at best, adults with few options: In short, a callous and mendacious administration has victimized the young, the gullible, and the hopeless, and stuck them in Iraq.

Barnett really hates it when somebody reminds us that the soldiers are sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parents, or have any other identity outside of “soldier.” Awhile back he threw a snit when Nancy Pelosi referred to a 22-year-old Marine as a “young man.”

Then he speaks to some young enlistees who have served in Iraq. I don’t doubt these are fine young people. Oops, excuse me, I’m not supposed to call them “young.” Or “people.” At my age everyone under 40 is “young,” but to acknowledge a soldier is actually human does vex Dean Barnett so. I guess that makes supporting a stupid war that is wasting their lives so much easier. Then he concludes:

It is surely a measure of how far we’ve come as a society from the dark days of the 1960s that things like military service and duty and sacrifice are now celebrated. Just because Washington and Hollywood haven’t noticed this generational shift doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred. It has, and it’s seismic.

At no point in this mess does Barnett acknowledge that a lot more young Boomer men actually served in Vietnam than are likely to ever serve in Iraq. At no point does he mention there was a draft then and there isn’t now. At no point does he offer actual data to show that fewer Boomer men enlisted for Vietnam than are enlisting today. Lots of young men enlisted back then, actually, and recruitment quotas are not being met now. Why is Barnett so sure Boomer men didn’t enlist at least as often as young folks do today? Did he check? And has anyone ever explained to him that 58,209 Boomers were killed in Vietnam, 305,000 were wounded, and approximately 2,000 remain missing?

Did I mention this is published by the Weekly Standard? Barnett probably got paid for it.

That’s why it’s so easy being Right. Righties doesn’t have to provide documentation. They don’t have to provide data. They don’t have to check facts. They can drool out whatever hate and prejudice and stupidity is clanking about in their squishy little brains, and be rewarded for it.

Update: See also D at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Tbogg.

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26 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Lynne  •  Jul 21, 2007 @8:02 pm

    Not to mention that WWII was a whole lot different than Vietnam or Iraq.

  2. BruceA  •  Jul 21, 2007 @8:09 pm

    Did this ass hat ever serve? or is he another Cheney, Hannity,Coulter, Ingrham, Limbagh, Prager,Malkin,O’Reilly
    Just asking, I’m a Boomer that was also a
    Cold War Submarine Vet, and a Liberal.

  3. Bonnie  •  Jul 21, 2007 @8:11 pm

    I saw a report on ABC News tonight about the young people who actually survive multiple tours of duty in Iraq and leave the military to protest the war. The young man interviewed said the reasons for this war are not worth the sacrifices of the young people fighting it. Do you think Barnett would even listen to such a report? Probably not.

  4. BruceA  •  Jul 21, 2007 @8:11 pm

    Sorry, “IS” a submarine vet from the cold war, once a submariner, always a submariner

  5. mike/  •  Jul 21, 2007 @9:05 pm

    First, my father and my uncle, who both served in World War II, gave me the same advice about Vietnam – do everything you can not to go! They saw that it was nothing like WWII and was, to repeat a song lyric, “a dirty little war.”

    Second, the “hippies” are now the parents/grandparents of men and women in Iraq and understand that it is an even “dirtier” little war. My surprise is that we are not organizing like we did during Vietnam. I have some theories, but I don’t know how efficacious they are.

    Third, and this is the saddest part for me, when I have spoken with “young men and women” who are in the service and may have been in Iraq or are waiting to be called up, I see this intense sadness in their faces coupled with a comment that more than one has said to me: “I know I’m going to be killed over there.” I can identify that with the thoughts of friends who were in Vietnam or who died there. They had the same sadness and hopelessness.

    Fourth, did he see that video from the young Republican gathering and Washington, D.C.? When the interviewer asked them why they hadn’t signed up they had lots of excuses. The lamest was, “I would sign up but I’m doing this right now.” Whatever “this” was to them.

    So we may be “bleeping” hippies but we aren’t soulless or closed-minded like this Barnett person. Yes, I wonder also if he served in the armed forces if he is so “supportive” without question?

  6. spaghetti happens  •  Jul 21, 2007 @9:52 pm

    Gee, let’s see who got the call and didn’t answer the phone: For starters, we’ve got President Avoided His Flight Physical and Walked Out on His Guard Commitment Bush and his plucky vice president, Five Deferments and Other Priorities Cheney. On the other hand, there are Senators Bronze Star Kerry and Senator Silver Star Webb. I could go on.

  7. Swami  •  Jul 21, 2007 @9:56 pm

    Dean is like totally far out, and I can totally dig what he’s putting down. Here’s some totally righteous lyrics the support his theory about the excesses of the 60’s, man.
    —————————————————————

    Gotta get goin’, cause I can’t stay here long, now.
    Cause I’m tired of the way, I’ve been dogged around.
    Well, I’ve got to roam, maybe find me a brand-new home.

    I’m goin’ up the country, baby don’t you wanna go?
    I’m goin’ up the country, baby don’t you wanna go?
    I’m goin’ to some place where I’ve never been before.

    I’m goin’, I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine.
    Well, I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine.
    You can jump in the water and stay drunk all the time.

  8. Incontinentia Buttocks  •  Jul 21, 2007 @10:00 pm

    Gee, let’s see who got the call and didn’t answer the phone: …

    Clearly you don’t get it, spaghetti happens.

    It’s not about what you do…it’s about what you think.

    War is about will. Folks like Dean Barnett may never have picked up a rifle but, like Dubya and Big Time Dick before them, they’re all in favor of their generation’s clusterfuck of a war.

    Kerry may have served bravely, but he eventually opposed the war.

    This makes Dubya, Dick, and Dean infinitely more honorable in their own eyes.

  9. Doug Hughes  •  Jul 21, 2007 @10:29 pm

    I am a vet, and a baby-boomer – and a liberal.

    This looks like mindless crap, but there is a point. The Pentagon has identified that the chief obsticle to meeting the recruiting goals is opposition to military service from parents & grandparents. If they can’t meet recruiting goals, thay can’t sustain the surge.

    Graduares of the VietNam era are not buying this war, and it’s affecting recruitement for this war. I would love to know if & how Army recruiters are being instructed to deal with parential objections to military service. Maybe I just read it.

  10. Griff  •  Jul 21, 2007 @11:11 pm

    Doug,
    I’m a Nam vet too, and I discourage my nephews, who have taken my advice, from serving in another pointless meat grinder. My wife’s grandson told me he thought it was about “oil and money”. “That’s what the kid’s in school think”. The kids are smarter now, they don’t buy the BS as we did. That’s what really pisses off Barnett and these other keyboard commandos. They can’t sell their phony “generational war” to the next generation.
    I wonder if Barnett has advised any of his blood to go into this thing.
    Griff

  11. spaghetti happens  •  Jul 22, 2007 @12:33 am

    “Kerry served bravely but eventually opposed the war. This makes Dubya, Dick, and Dean infinitely more honorable in their own eyes.”

    As well as in the eyes of about 52 percent of Americans back in 2004. This is thanks to a generalized stupidity among our fellow citizens, upon which sociopathic deviants like Karl Rove have built distinguished careers.

  12. daveinboca  •  Jul 22, 2007 @1:37 am

    The pathetic collection of leftardo human experimenters whom Astrologers call those cursed with having the awful birthmark of “Neptune in Libra.” meaning those susceptible to every sort of light-headed whimsical vagary of mood and temperament taken seriously, were also cursed with being hailed as the vanguard of the Age of Aquarius. Seems these vacant degenerates actually believed their press and acted out a hilarious GENERATIONAL DEGENERATION because they were predisposed, if you believe their astrological Neptunian karma, to believe the shallow, spurious, specious silly folderol that passed as their specific destiny. Some resisted, most did not, leaving us with poop, I mean pop, heroes like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Boob Dylan, and a whole panoply of early demisers worthy of being the yang to their parents’ yin, or vice versa. Janis, and dozens of other early bloomers faded before noon of their life trajectories.

    The Weekly Standard has a good run-down on just how good these young Gen-X and Gen Y are compared to their slacker drugged-out squalid forebears. The lotus rises from the fecal material is the Oriental way of comprehending how the new generation of winners has been spawned by a human-garbage sleaze-dump mound of self-serving narcissistic bio-mass which has given itself over to the most ridiculous autistic solipsistic self-referential solecisms since the age of Incroyable et Merveilleuse, back in the 1790s. Please google for the reference.

    Luckily for the French, after that they found a leader who had a pair, and could keep their country from being overrun by silly bantamweights like the Islamist froth-mouth hysterics and their in-country fifth column at the NYT, WaPo, and broadcast networks.

    Oh, that we in the USA should be so lucky two centuries later!

  13. uncledad  •  Jul 22, 2007 @2:52 am

    “It’s easy being Right” But it is hard to be wrong. And sometimes, you have to look down, and wonder, are they really wrong? Are we really right? How much money is enough?

  14. erinyes  •  Jul 22, 2007 @6:25 am

    I saw a commercial for the Army the other day, it said enlist now and get up to $50,000.00 as a bonus, and the Army catch phrase has changer from “an Army of one” to just “Army strong”. That should snag a number of inner-city and rural poor young men and women.

    A particular “young man” who was helping me out on weekends last year fell for the bait. They promised to keep him in college, $50,000.00, and said his job would not be on the front line. After he signed the documents, they assigned him a job as “combat engineer”, he thought he’d be doing “engineering work”.
    Youth is indeed wasted on the young.
    That “young man ” was in a serious car accident just before his unit was deployed to the ME. He is still at home recovering.

  15. PurpleGirl  •  Jul 22, 2007 @11:31 am

    TBogg reminds us that the Baby Boom encompasses 1944 to 1964… that’s a really big spread. Early boomers did enlist, the tailend of the boom were still in school and too young for the draft or enlistment. Ah, yes, the draft… our essayist forgets about the draft. In my memory it’s 1966 or 67 and my brother drops out of college. This makes him draftable. His solution to the problem is to enlist in the Air Force — at least he won’t be an Army grunt. Barnett is full of BS.

  16. maha  •  Jul 22, 2007 @11:38 am

    PurpleGirl — Exactly. The fact of the draft makes comparison to today impossible. Some guys who might not have enlisted were it not for the draft went ahead and enlisted to get in a preferable branch of service. Other guys who were drafted might have enlisted had there not been a draft. You never know. And I have no idea how rates of voluntary enlistment then and now compare, but then neither does Dean Barnett.

  17. jahf  •  Jul 23, 2007 @3:03 am

    Not to mention that WWII was a whole lot different than Vietnam or Iraq.

    Not in any of the ways that matter: a whole lot of misery, death, and ddestruction with very little good accomplished in return.

  18. maha  •  Jul 23, 2007 @7:14 am

    jahf — a lot of people — like me — would disagree with you about World War II. But in any event for the U.S. it was an unavoidable war. We really were attacked by Japan. Germany declared war on us. Even before Pearl Harbor German U-boats had attacked U.S. naval vessels, sinking one destroyer (the Reuben James). Sometimes nations have to go to war. Destroying the Third Reich and the military junta that ruled Japan was necessary, and in fact a great deal of good was accomplished.

  19. Brighid  •  Jul 23, 2007 @1:50 pm

    If you are engaging in active support for the Republican War; if you’re between the ages of 18 and 40; if you are physically able to work out at a gym; and yet you have not enlisted to fight for your country, then you’re either a liar or a coward or both.

    As a Vietnam-era veteran, married to a 26-year veteran with service in the Persian Gulf War, with a parent who’s a 30-year veteran now buried at Arlington, and a brother who served in both the Republican Wars–Iraq and Afghanistan–and a sister who served in Somalia, I think our family’s military service is a proud history, spanning more than a century and 5 wars including WWII. But I do not support the Republican War and I have protested in Washington DC three times in opposition to it.

    Believe me, Dean Barnett doesn’t know the first thing about patriotism or courage. Dean Barnett is both a liar and a coward.

  20. jahf  •  Jul 23, 2007 @10:16 pm

    Sometimes nations have to go to war.

    Perhaps. But that doesn’t make it a good thing. At best, it is a distasteful thing, to be regretfully done at the very last, and not a thing to celebrated even when it is determined to be necessary. Either that, or we don’t have as high respect for life that we claim to.

  21. maha  •  Jul 23, 2007 @10:28 pm

    But that doesn’t make it a good thing.

    Don’t think good nor bad. If it has to be done, it has to be done. It’s simply historically inaccurate to say that very little was accomplished by WWII. I don’t glorify it, but I don’t negate it.

  22. LarryE  •  Jul 24, 2007 @6:02 am

    As an official and unrepentant member of the DFH generation, having been born in 1948, I want to say a few words on our behalf, taken from a letter I sent to a friend in 1985. It referred to

    “the anger and the joy, the tough determination and gentle compassion, the bitter awareness and sweet dreams that marked a movement that over a several-year span was powerful enough to end the draft, limit and finally stop a war, force one (and maybe two) Presidents from office, shake the foundations of a society’s judgments about half its population, force the nuclear power industry to a virtual halt, and change – perhaps not by much but quite possibly permanently – that society’s sense of its relationship to the environment.”

    I have no problems standing on that record.

  23. gc_wall  •  Jul 26, 2007 @10:02 pm

    Do people like Barnett, Hannity, Savage, O’Reilly, Krauthammer, and others work directly for the C.I.A. and other right wing interests or does it merely seem that way. These people and other spew the same intelligence rhetoric that existed during the Vietnam War.

    It was not that majority that put an end to a stupid war in Vietnam, it was an activist minority that finally got through to the middle class what a waste of American lives the Vietnam War was, and even with the support of some of the middle class the peace movement remained a minority.

    After numerous acts of deception by the military, the C.I.A., and the media Americans reviewed the costs versus the supposed gain, and reasonably determined that ending America’s involvement in Vietnam was both prudent and pragmatic. There is nothing wrong with changing course midstream when it is realized that the return is not worth the investment. Smart people do this all of the time.

    The World War I story of Galopoli revealed the danger and ignorance of following orders that have not adapted to the reality of a situation. If what is occurring is a suicide mission, because the only thing that can be said positive about a frontal assault on the enemy is that the enemy will expend a great deal of ammunition wiping out the assault, it is time to reassess the tactic.

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