Life as an Extreme Sport


Warblogging has been a popular topic over at Crooked Timber lately, with Belle Waring coming in with the latest post, which you can read here. I replied, and wanted to record said reply for posterity – I’ve learned that keeping track of my mini-rants can make it easier when, in the future, I have to write something on the topic of the rant. So here goes:

I think it’s distasteful to accuse people of being unpatriotic because you disagree with their politics, so let me just say that I think this is in very poor taste.

Well, we can lay that one at the feet of our darlin’ commander in chief — you’re either with us or against us, after all. Bush and his “no room for neutrality” take on the police action in Afghanistan and then Iraq has spread out to those who support with blind fervor; if there’s no room for neutrality, and you’re either in line behind him or a terrorist…well, does it really surprise you that the commonfolk would have that idea, if the president does?

Bloggers aren’t parasites on the body of the public any more than thinkers are; they’re a necessary part of the social whole. But there’s a really big difference between supporting the troops and supporting the police action that’s going on — something that seems to get missed in the desire to black and white the situation into soundbites. And I say this having spent quite a lot of time with folks who’ve shipped out at least once, several of them several times — folks who’ll go do their job, because that’s what they signed up for.

I think anyone who has any strong opinion about what’s going on in our foreign policey of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell — hit it with a big stick and ask questions later’ needs to make sure they’ve sat down with a few who’ve shipped out and back again, and get a firsthand opinion, devoid of the spin of politicians, of what’s going on.

Okay, sorry. Off ranting soapbox now. My best friend is married to an MP who’s seen combat in Afghanistan, and just narrowly missed being sent to Iraq because of a torn rotator cuff. It is, for me, a support the troops by bringing them home sort of thing — I don’t want my friend to become a war widow.