Monday, June 23, 2008


Oh, it's delightful watching shameless chickenhawk William Kristol attack the new MoveOn ad from two contradictory directions at once, and then try to brazen out the sheer illogic of his position:

You know the ad. You can watch it here, through Kristol quotes the complete text:

...The ad is simple. A mother speaks as she holds her baby boy:

"Hi, John McCain. This is Alex. And he's my first. So far his talents include trying any new food and chasing after our dog. That, and making my heart pound every time I look at him. And so, John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him." ...

Then he says this:

... it is surely relevant to point out that the United States has an all-volunteer Army. Alex won't be drafted, and his mommy can't enlist him. He can decide when he's an adult whether he wants to serve. And, of course, McCain supports the volunteer army....

But a few paragraphs later, he says this:

...So, why, I wondered after first seeing the MoveOn ad, did I find it so ... creepy?

I was having trouble putting my fin[g]er on just why until I came across a post by a mother of a soldier recently deployed in Iraq, at the Web site

Here's what the mother of an actual soldier has to say about the remarks of the mother of the prospective non-soldier in the ad:

"Does that mean that she wants other people's sons to keep the wolves at bay so that her son can live a life of complete narcissism? What is it she thinks happens in the world? ... Someone has to stand between our society and danger. If not my son, then who? If not little Alex then someone else will have to stand and deliver. Someone's son, somewhere."

This is the sober truth. Unless we enter a world without enemies and without war, we will need young men and women willing to risk their lives for our nation. And we're not entering any such world....

So which is it, Billy Boy? Is it every free American's inalienable right to serve or not serve, or are you a selfish little narcissistic liberal latte-swilling hippie if you don't serve?

How does Billy Boy resolve this contradiction? By pretending to concede the virtues of free choice -- and then throwing a wild, utterly unsubstantiated McCarthyite charge at exercisers of that choice:

We do, however, live in a free country with a volunteer army. In the United States, individuals can choose to serve in the military or not. The choice not to serve should carry no taint, nor should it be viewed with the least prejudice. If Alex chooses to pursue other opportunities, he won't be criticized by John McCain or anyone else.

But that's not at all the message of the MoveOn ad.

The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve -- and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.

And the sole responsibility of others.

Where the hell does it suggest that? Where the hell does it in any way impugn those who make the choice to fight, in Iraq or anywhere else?

But Kristol knows it doesn't, just as he knows that saying you don't want your son to participate in one futile, pointless war doesn't mean you're categorically opposed to patriotic sacrifice (and just as he knows he has some nerve to question the patriotism of those who exercise the choice not to volunteer in wartime when he, of course, dodged a wartime draft). He can't reconcile his contradictory points, so he just wildly libels those who exercise the choice he's just told you "should carry no taint, nor should it be viewed with the least prejudice," and he hopes you won't notice. What a contemptible human being he is.

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