The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Left, The War, and The Only Argument They Know

Now Playing: "Sunday Papers" by Joe Jackson. I'm not bringing this tune up for sake of relevance - it's been in my head since doing it on karaoke last night, so of course I had to put it on...

It seems that the leftwing, er, publication The New Republic didn't quite clue in to the overall message of its infamous Steven Glass story-fabrication scandal some ten years ago. On July 13 it published a story called "Shock Troops," essentially an anecdotal hit piece against American troops in Iraq written by an anonymous "soldier" who goes by the pseudonym "Scott Thomas." It describes a number of incidents chosen both to shock and titillate: Two soldiers in a mess hall cruelly trash-talking a female comrade who'd had part of her face "melted" by an IED; another running around with parts of an Iraqi corpse - nay, an Iraqi child's corpse, presumably for added emotional impact - balanced on his head; another running down stray dogs with a Bradley armored vehicle.

Now if you're looking for a link to the TNR article you won't find it here. I refuse to link to its TNR page directly because I will not give those creeps any more publicity even than what's necessary to post this commentary on it - in any case it's a subscription-only read. Dean Barnett hits the essentials over at talk radio host Hugh Hewitt's site (scroll to the Thursday, July 19 entry "'The New Republic' Supports the Troops.") Barnett points out there are only three possibilities:

- The "soldier" is real and the story is completely true;
- The "soldier" is real and the story is heavily embellished for effect;
- The "soldier" and/or the story are fabricated.

I think scenario #3 is the most likely but the world may never know.

Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard quotes extensively from the article and asks the public for factual data to either back up or refute its claims, and not surprisingly most of the article's key points are debunked by military and civilians with first-hand experience with the situations and hardware described. The devil's advocate could say the respondents are expressing personal biases of their own, but a point by Barnett remains indisputable: there is no corroborating evidence to support the "Scott Thomas" accounts. In logic the burden of proof lies with he who makes the assertion. Until independent verification is forthcoming we can only treat the "Scott Thomas" story as a kind of leftwing urban legend.

For my part I can testify as to the configuration of the Bradley fighting vehicle - there were a couple of them parked on the grounds of a defense contractor by which I was employed awhile back. The driver sits on the left front side of the vehicle and is therefore in no position to see anything to the immediate right of the vehicle, much less to out-maneuver something as small, agile and demonstrably invisible to the driver as a dog.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Call me a polemicist but I tire of the habit among non-leftist commentators - even those wise enough to know better - of granting to the American left the benefit of the doubt as to attitudes on the American military.

Barnett states, ever-so-gently, that he "...[finds] it impossible not to get the sense that even though they [the left] purportedly support the troops, they sure do seem to relish every setback the troops incur." I hate to resort to slang, but the most appropriate response to this would be:

Well, Duh.

If you take, as a whole, the statements and actions of leftists on America at war - from The New Republic's Steven-Glass-relapse to the relentless attempts by Democrat-Socialists in Congress to grab defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq - the overriding message is this:

Leftists want America - and the cause of security, freedom and civilization in Iraq - to be defeated. Full stop.

I have long bristled at the characterization of über-leftists as "smart" - a characterization we heard, and still hear, repeatedly in reference to the Clintons. A vestigial, slavish devotion to an ideology that has left a mountain of corpses with a tally running to nine figures can be called many things, but "smart" is not one of them. Nonetheless, I find it decisively impossible to believe that the likes of Reid, Feinstein, Pelosi etc. are incapable of understanding the gravity of America's current position and the logical implications of retreat from Iraq. I'm not talking about the likely Cambodia-style bloodbath that would erupt in the wake of an American pullout, but rather a pullout's implication for radical Islam's perception of American resolve. It would be an engraved invitation to al-Qaida types to go back on the offensive - at precisely the time when we ought to be pursuing al-Qaida militants to the ends of the Earth.

As Barnett puts it (correctly this time,) in his July 18 post titled "How Big a Problem?":

"That’s one of the reasons that the Battle of Iraq is so vitally important. If the fans of Sharia (like Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and their tens of millions of philosophical fellow travelers) get the idea that America won’t fight and can be chased from the battlefield, we will have sent them an incredibly toxic message. Remember, they consider the whole world to be part of the battlefield, including Lower Manhattan, Washington D.C., Madrid, London..."

The leftists either cannot grasp, or are in denial and strenuously evading, the nature of evil and of its political concomitant, the initiation of force. They were dead wrong on the Soviet Union, they were dead wrong on Reagan's intransigence (which ultimately defeated it,) they are dead wrong on Islamofascism and the current conflict with it. It can be boiled down to a shopworn but accurate truism: aggressive thugs ultimately understand nothing but force, and must be dealt with on that basis.

Something I've learned in a decade or so of debate with leftists is that they really have no arguments. Collectivism is a self-contradictory philosophy at root, therefore every argument attempted on its basis is inescapably just as illogical. That leaves its proponents with few options beyond the classic logical fallacies.

I've found that the ad hominem is far and away the most common form any given leftwing argument takes, and this New Republic hit piece is no exception. What it amounts to is a vast smear of every American soldier, presented in lieu of any kind of substantive argument in favor of surrender and retreat.

For their part, Congressional Democrat-Socialists just concluded a loudly-publicized but unsuccessful "all-nighter" - a symbolic vote to pull the rug from beneath the Bush Administration's efforts in Iraq. Reams have been written on this and there are a number of different things to be said about it, few of them complimentary.

What the behavior of Congressional and civilian leftists says to me is that they have descended to a level of intellectual corruption and seething hatred of all things Bush so deep that they've transformed themselves into a kind of kamikaze or runaway train, willing to sell America's national security down the river for the sake of destroying Bush and the Bush Presidency.

Can one oppose war in Iraq honorably? Certainly. At the other end of the spectrum, can one object to the pusillanimous, altruistic way in which Bush has conducted the war? I certainly do. (Relevant here would be a pithy quote about "doing" vs. "trying" that comes from a short bald guy with enormous ears...)

But the Demo-Socialist Party is actively striving to achieve disaster in Iraq, so as to have something impressive to blame on the Bush Administration in the thick of the 2008 campaign. Impressive, indeed.

These people have jettisoned any care for what message this would send to the evil creatures who want to kill us - if indeed they had any such care to begin with. Even on an altruistic level, they care not a whit about the virtually-certain slaughter that would occur in Iraq if Congress forced a withdrawal.

They have become the Party of Rage, locked in a death-embrace with an emotionalism that blinds them to all other considerations, up to and including their own safety along with yours and mine. One can argue the merits or lack of them for engaging the war on Hussein's Iraq, but every major Democrat now trying to short-circuit American foreign policy voted to go to war there, and we are, in fact, now in it. We either win it or we lose it - there is no third alternative.

These corrupt politicians must not be allowed to secure defeat - in Iraq or anywhere else.

As for The New Republic, well we already knew American journalism, at least in its traditional forms, has been dead for years.

Addendum, 07-27-07: The New Republic's "Scott Thomas" Identified

The New Republic, apparently feeling the backlash from their anonymously-published hit piece on the U.S. military in Iraq, have identified its author, one Scott Thomas Beauchamp. He is indeed an enlisted Army private, at least for the moment. So now that the kid's identity is established, the military people in charge of getting to the bottom of his "story" are busily doing so, but a few relevant facts are already known: He is apparently a hardcore leftwing activist who fancies himself a writer/poet/diarist of the Hunter S. Thompson/Jack Kerouac mold. Along with many, many other suggestions for him I'd add: pick some better heroes. He's also been publishing a blog where, in addition to identifying his ideological proclivities conclusively, he confesses that his motive in enlisting in the military was specifically to "...add a legitimacy opinions" and for "...chasing down the muse..." In other words, he had an agenda going in.

Assuming, devil's-advocate-fashion, that every word of what he wrote is fact, the story (*sigh* - the boycott has to end for the sake of reference,) describes actions that are aberrant by any standards, particularly those of the military. So why was it published? Well, this is the left we're talking about, and the left, as posted previously, share with the Islamofascists a common hatred of America and of Western Civilization - therefore of American military success in their defense.

The best dissection of Beauchamp's "Shock Troops" I've read is John Barnes' "The Scott Thomas Affair", written before the Great Coming-Out.

Bottom line: What we have is The New Republic going ahead with story of unsubstantiated - likely unsubstantiatable - events highly defamatory of American soldiers in wartime; a story apparently written for the sole purpose of generating notoriety for its author, who enlisted in the Army for the sole purpose of gaining "legitimacy" in a hoped-for future writing career at...The New Republic as yet another left wing war critic.

On the whole the incident is valuable as a glimpse into what goes on within that horrid place between the ears of ethics-free leftists. I'd wager that his college professors are shedding tears of pride.


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