I am trying to imagine how criticism of an unjust, unwise, and unnecessary war of aggression could "undermine" the troops unfortunate enough to have been sent to Iraq to pursue neocon ideological fantasies. Are they going to curl up and suck their thumbs in the face of danger because 8,000 miles away, someone mentioned that Emperor Bush has no clothes? Will they flee the enemy if someone breaks the secret that the false connection between Saddam and al Qaeda was known to be false from the start, and the neocons knowingly lied? Will they collapse into sobbing girlie-men if someone mentions the fact that both Bush and Cheney entered office on January 20, 2001 already determined to prosecute their war of aggression against Iraq, and lacked only a semi-plausible pretext?Indeed.
No! Our fighting men and women are considerably more courageous, heroic, patriotic, and intelligent than "At Least One Deferment" Rumsfeld, "Five Deferments" Cheney, and "AWOL During a Time of War (a Felony)" Bush.
As to the second charge, encouraging America's enemies to believe us to be politically spineless: Isn't deluding our enemies a good thing? An overconfident enemy is a stupid enemy. Just ask anyone who seriously believed that the Iraqis would greet American troops by throwing flowers and singing hymns of gratitude. . . .
Frankly, from what I've read over the years from military historians and people who were actually there, Stateside opinion and pontification was generally met with more or less polite amusement - no matter what source.
Between media and military squeamishness and the sheer impossibility of really communicating the stresses of combat in 3 minutes, we are always suffering a distorted, sanitized picture. And really, when people say that criticism "will discourage the troops" it's really "the base" they are speaking of, not "the troops." The troops are in full contact with reality. It's the people here, on the home front, who are being shielded from the moral and practical consequences of war, as well as any noticeable personal sacrifice. Well, other than their children - and those mostly come from the families of working poor who have little attention to spare for politics, so that's not much of a sacrifice to the majority of Bush's Base.
In fact, frequent, respectful but persistent criticism of the President is the duty of Congress and indeed the citizenry; it is the President's duty to heed criticism and to consider his actions in light of it. Criticism is not a negative thing, in the proper sense; it is a test that validates the President's range of legitimate action.
No president worth a library has been so allergic to accountability, not in living memory at least, and perhaps not in the history of the Republic. And when such a man sends troops into action with rationalizations and pretenses that do not bear up well to criticism - or even the most basic examination - it is a betrayal of the troops to fail to demand an accounting.
tag: support the troops, war on terror, encourage the enemey, criticize the president, General Petraeus, Congress, oath of office, uphold and defend the constitution