Monday, January 11, 2021


In the New York Post -- which has recently received some praise in liberal circles because it acknowledges the incontrovertible fact that Joe Biden won the presidential election -- Matthew Schmitz, a senior editor of the right-wing Catholic magazine First Things, has published an absurd op-ed chastising liberals for their response to the death of Brian Sicknick, the police officer killed in the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

Schmitz writes:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Sicknick’s death as a reminder of the need to “protect our country from all threats, foreign and domestic.” President-elect Joe Biden suggested that whoever backed Trump supports “an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy.” The day’s violence, it seems, has become an all-purpose excuse to denounce and silence anyone not sufficiently anti-Trump.

Yet neither Biden nor Pelosi reckoned with an uncomfortable fact: Sicknick was a Trump supporter himself, as his friend Caroline Behringer announced shortly after his death. Far from sharing the views of the #Resistance, he had written letters to his congressman opposing Trump’s impeachment....

The people who claim to honor Sicknick have elided these facts. Acknowledging them would undermine their effort to label the 75 million Americans who supported Trump as a domestic threat.
That's right: Trumpers killed one of their own, but somehow, according to Schmitz, we're the bad guys.

Schmitz continues:
What could lead a man like Sicknick to support Trump? Must it be white supremacy, conspiracy theories or one of the other reasons usually cited by the media?

What we know of Sicknick’s views tells a different story. Six months after graduating from high school in 1997, he joined the Air National Guard. He was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan. A series of letters he later wrote to the editor of his hometown paper give a portrait of his disillusionment with the leaders of the country he served.

In 2001, he described his attempt to gain help from his representatives in a dispute with his employer: “I have written a staggering number of letters to elected officials in both the state and federal governments. Only one state senator responded. This is one of the main reasons I will not be enlisting for a second term in the National Guard. I am no longer going to risk my life in hostile environments for a government that does not care about the troops.”

In 2003, Sicknick expressed his growing doubts about the War on Terror: “Our troops are stretched very thin, and morale is dangerously low among them. I’m starting to see an increasing trend of US soldiers asking, ‘Why are we still here?’”

He had come to believe that the United States was engaged in an “unnecessary war.” He denounced the “arrogant oil hacks that occupy the White House” and complained that the Bush administration had “its hands grasped firmly on the puppet strings of conservative senators.”
So it seems as if Sicknick was saying everything that liberals were saying at the time: That the Iraq War shouldn't have been fought. That it was fought for the oil. That the troops were treated with contempt by their government and by civilian employers.

And whose fault was all that, according to Schmitz?
After serving his country and observing the workings of its government, Sicknick had come to believe that America is governed by a self-interested, unresponsive and unaccountable oligarchy. There is ample evidence to support his beliefs. Biden and Sen. Chuck Schumer, both of whom voted to authorize the invasion, have suffered no consequences for their folly. Nor have the countless other supporters of the invasion who populate Congress, K Street and the think tanks.

The same people who launched a costly and failed war in Iraq now hope to humiliate and silence Trump’s supporters.
So only Democrats are responsible for a war started by a Republican president to advance right-wing policy goals, and touted by that president and his party as their crowning achievement. Right. Got it.

At the time, Sicknick didn't want tinkering at the margins.
His conclusion was stark: “I believe we should have regime change right here in America.”

... His rage deepened after the release of the 9/11 Commission Report: “Proven intelligence failures regarding the war in Iraq and Sept. 11 are troublesome. Why is it that I doubt any jobs will be lost over this? Why is it that I doubt an impeachment would happen? Why do I think the issue will soon be forgotten?”
But the Matthew Schmitzes of the world would have denounced a Bush impeachment as a totalitarian effort to crush and silence conservatives.They would have said the same thing they're saying now about Trump's opponents.

On the right, Sicknick's beliefs about the war were described as unpatriotic and anti-American until they were expressed by a Republican, Donald Trump. Right-wingers lambasted Democrats who opposed starting the war, lambasted Democrats who criticized the way it was conducted, lambasted those who believed Bush deserved impeachment ... and now lambaste those us who think Trump deserves the same.

According to Schmitz, a Democratic Party that would have begun winding down the war four years earlier if its candidate had been elected president in 2004 is responsible for betraying Brian Sicknick during the Bush years, by not being sufficiently anti-Bush, and is responsible for betraying him now, by being excessively anti-Trump.

There's only one ironclad law for conservatives: We're always wrong and we're always evil.

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