Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sitting back and doing nothing

It's not often that a person objects to something they themselves wrote, but I think Ishould amend something I said a couple of posts back on my MNR. In it I subtly criticized Jefferson for sitting on the sidelines during the Revolutionary War, and that is unfair. It's the same criticism applied to conservatives who supported the war but do not in fact have to do the fighting. The fact is that, say what you will about Tommy Jeff, he served an important purpose during the war. Some people are cut out for military service, and others are not.

Having said that, my criticism of Jefferson's romantic view of revolution still stands. Again I could be called out for hypocrisy on the current war, but I do not revel in the bloodshed as does Jefferson. While my support of the Iraq war remains firm, it does not stem from an abstract desire for revolution.

It is said that we who support war are chickenhawks - meaning we are willing to send others to die for a cause when we are unwilling. This is a tough argument, and not completely unfair. After 9/11 I briefly flirted with enlisting, but chose not to because, well, let's just say I am not altogether fit for military service. I envisioned accidentally getting myself killed in basic training, and decided to leave the fighting up to those who actually can climb fences. It also strikes me as cold when we compare highway deaths to current combat deaths in Iraq to justify the deaths of over a thousand servicemen and women. I think it is fair to say that most of those who support war do not relish it. We do not have a bloodthirst that craves war. It is an unfortunate necessesity, but it is action that we believe justified. Now there has already been much computer ink spilt over whether this particular war was justified, and that is another debate. The question is whether we who pushed for the war are hypocrites for sitting back while other Americans die.

The simple fact of the matter is that our military men and women are volunteers who chose to enlist in the military. If war becomes necessary, it is they who have tacitly agreed to put their lives on the line in order to defend the Nation. Those of us sitting in our cushy couches can do nothing but thank them for performing this duty, acknowledge their heroism, and do what we can to support them. That we support the rationale for war does not imply that we (or most of us) relish war, or the deaths that result. We are not blind to the casualties that may result from the military action, but we think that the consequences of not taking action would be worse. Again, you may disagree with the assessment, but do understand that we do not take these decisions lightly.

Hopefully that clarifies the difference between Jefferson and his eagerness for bloodshed, and our reluctant acquiescence to the reality of war.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?