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View Diary: Rep. Joe Walsh on Tammy Duckworth's service: 'Ehhh' (86 comments)

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    •  I get your point, obviously... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      va dare

      But at some point there's a paradox at the heart of the way we talk about -- and consequently, in the way we think about -- unnecessary wars like Iraq. So, let us be clear: Tammy Duckworth lost her limbs for a series of lies that were told in order to accomplish some very limited (and deeply misguided to the point of delusional) objectives. None of these had to do with defending or supporting "America" -- at least not the one I live in.

      None of this changes the degenerate idiocy of Walsh.

      •  To me, it does not matter whether the war (12+ / 0-)

        was unncessary or necessary; she still served honorably, with courage, and she put her life at risk in service to our country. It is not like the troops can pick and choose which wars they want or do not want or even where they are stationed or where they are deployed.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:53:42 PM PDT

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        •  of course, of course (1+ / 0-)
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          I don't deny that: no sane person would (well, there is a sane and coherent tradition of pacifism that would, but that's a different story). My point is that one cannot coherently hold these two opposite positions:

          1) The Iraq war was unnecessary, unrelated to threats to the U.S. or anywhere else.
          2) Soldiers who fought in the Iraq war were "defending their country."

          Acknowledging this fact -- that soldiers who were mutilated and killed for a lie, not for the justifiable and honorable individual sacrifice in service of the defense of others -- doesn't mitigate the moral degeneracy of a statement like Walsh made; it amplifies it.

          •  p.s., fwiw (0+ / 0-)

            It should be unnecessary to add this detail, but to encapsulate my point via biographical anecdote: both of my grandfathers were combat veterans of WWII (one enlisting in the US Navy with forged papers at age 15). They were plausibly defending their country. My father did two combat tours in Vietnam (1st Air Cav from '67 - '69). He was doing a lot of things honorably, but defending his country was not among them.

            The language we use matters.

      •  You couldn't be more wrong! (9+ / 0-)

        I agree with your comments about the stupidity of the war and how this country was maneuvered into it.

        But once you put on the uniform, you do what your country tells you to do and, however misguided the lords of misrule may be, you are fighting for your country, serving your country or however you want to put it.

        Members of the military don't have the option of deciding what's right or wrong for the country to do. It was even difficult during the Bush mess for those who had finished their enlistments to get out, given the stop loss policy.

        We aren't talking about what motivates individual actions.

        •  you're absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

          when you write

          We aren't talking about what motivates individual actions.
          Absolutely we aren't talking about that. If we were, then we'd say that Duckworth was mutilated and thousands of her comrades-in-arms were killed with the motivation of defending their country (or, as Jim Webb pointed out long ago during his campaign for Senate, they were killed following family tradition, or trying to get out of a small town with no other economic opportunities, or trying to pay for college, etc.).

          We are talking about the ways in which those events are understood historically and ethically. And to keep saying "defending their country" is rhetorically to validate the RedState / PNAC / Wolfowitz / Bush project. Which we should not do.  

          •  I appreciate your point, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Swill to Power

            People who serve do so with the intention of serving for their country.

            Tammy D. is not germane to the point your make. Individuals usual act our of friendship and a bond of love that unites people in this peculiar stress of combat.

            If you want to hang the tag on Bush and the rest of the chicken hawks and chickens hits, go ahead. I'm with you. It is a ritual that those who fight and die or live in war are on average too young to make decisions to go to war, tend to regret getting involved to some degree, etc.

            But a person who takes an oath to obey the highers up in service of their country is bound by the UMCJ to obey those orders. It is a sore subject in that on a higher up level, there was a tendency to threaten even retired generals with loss of their pensions if they spoke up, i.e. in the rightist view of the time (changeable with who's in office) you are required to resign your commission and surrender your pension if you wish to have all citizen rights.

            The average soldier does not have the rights of squat, nor for that matter do government employees generally. They are allowed to vote and that's about it, assuming they can get that done.

            If your point is that the war was not for a noble cause I agree with you. If your point is that Tammy Baldwin could not be ennobled by her service in her adherence to duty, honor and country, I can't.

            I'm reading Maddow's drift which is intriguing in how we ended up in this position, but this is all above Tammy Baldwin's pay grade. She did her duty. She served her country. She's not the first good soldier to serve her country at a time it was guided badly. That was not her function then, one would hope that her feelings will inform her behavior as a public official. I think that will happen.

            But this is also a race against Walsh, who both shot his mouth off and stayed home. Screw him. I've opposed the last several wars and haven't felt a bit guilty.

      •  Bugger off (7+ / 0-)

        Duckworth was flying an Aeromedical team and patients when she was injured.

        I think the people who are alive because of her service would beg to differ, most vehemently.

        The Armed Forces serve our country.  If we do a shitty job of making sure the civilian leadership doesn't misuse them, it's no fault of theirs.

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 02:30:28 PM PDT

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        •  and, in a nutshell (0+ / 0-)

          We have the careful thinking and civility that leads to American militarism. Congratulations. I'm convinced by your logic:

          Major premise:  Soldiers in Iraq were defending the U.S.
          Minor premise:  To "defend" means "to resist an attack or threat"

          Therefore: American soldiers and sailors in Iraq were resisting an attack on our country.

          Colin Powell vindicated in one fell swoop of bumper-sticker jingoism. I'll assume by "bugger off" you didn't intend any of the homophobic slurs that are etymologically suggested.

          •  GIs serving together in harms way... (0+ / 0-)

            ...don't think or act in those terms.

            In a fight, or in a hazardous operation requiring teamwork, they work together to protect each other, to take care of each other, they don't even think about any greater truths or ideological motives.  Tami Duckworth lost her legs serving her fellow soldiers, not supporting George Butch's Wargasm, or even the abstract goal of "defending America"

            "Bugger Off" was a lousy attempt to tone down language from the harsh Americanische "Fuck Off" to a milder Briticism of "Bugger Off"....In fact, neither meant as a homophobic slur, merely an unnecessary insult.  Should have titled with "You're Wrong" or something else less aggro....

            Attacking permanently maimed war veterans brings out the angry lout in me. Sorry. Sort of. Mostly.

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:39:06 PM PDT

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      •  "Ask not what your country can do for you; (0+ / 0-)

        ask what you can do for your country".
        Many of us joined a conflict armed with these words, words that defined why we were fighting and why many of us volunteered.
        For anyone to lessen the gallantry and bravery of any soldier; simply because the conflict with which they participated is now less politically in favor is pure, unadulterated bullshit.
        My question to those who have removed their little yellow ribbons from their tailgate or those who claim they were always against the wars in the middle east- how many of you didn't buy the Dixie Chick's music? How many of you were teargassed because you stood against the war? How many were pepper sprayed?
        The OWS movement has already eclipsed the middle east anti-war movement in arrests, beating, injuries and all round disregard for their Constitutional Rights. Where are you now?

        "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

        by Cruzankenny on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:16:17 PM PDT

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    •  Remember (9+ / 0-)

      what they did to Ma Clelland.

      "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." - John Steinbeck

      by Bulldawg on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 02:05:07 PM PDT

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