Self-righteous warmongers phony patriots
By Greg James
-- - You have to wonder if the whole conservative movement
in the U.S. is living in a weird alternate reality in which the
only thing that matters is what you say, and facts, consistency
and honor mean nothing.
The recent remarks by Rush Limbaugh in which he called military
men who opposed the Iraq war "phony soldiers" is another example
of the strange world in which he (and a lot of neocons) exist.
The reason: Limbaugh could be the poster boy of a group of war
cheerleaders (including Dick Cheney, Mike Medved, Sean Hannity,
Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, Mike Savage, et al.) who chose to
avoid military service when it was their turn. Now that the
coast is clear, they've all morphed into self-righteous war
boosters sitting in comfortable offices lecturing the rest of us
about patriotism and duty.
Picture Osama bin Laden acting that way, relaxing in a La-Z-Boy
recliner and urging his followers to do what he never did. He'd
be ridiculed. And, while there is nothing to admire in bin
Laden's murderous ideology, at least he actually put his money
where his mouth is and fought for his cause.
Limbaugh and the far right cheerleader squad talked us into a
war that likely would end overnight if they (or most of our
politicians) actually had to endure any sacrifice themselves.
I guess the majority of the neocons who have been vocally
supportive of the war, and so quick to insult and denigrate
those opposed to it, suffer from a case of self-loathing brought
on by doing nothing.
Locally, Mike Medved, our own homegrown war booster, was fond of
calling decorated Gen. Wesley Clark "Weasely Clark" when he was
running for president in 2004. I remember feeling angry that a
Vietnam War avoider would have the gall to insult a war hero
simply because he was against the Iraq war and predicted
disaster. (Incidentally, Clark was obviously right.)
Limbaugh, though, may well represent the ultimate example of the
far right's "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. Can a
three-times-divorced, draft-dodging, Viagra-chomping guy with a
drug problem really be the far right's standard-bearer?
When I served in the Navy, the code was simple: Everyone pulled
their own weight, and the ship functioned because of mutual
sacrifice and hard work. When it came time to play, we played
hard. When we were at sea, we worked hard. The military taught
me about teamwork and action, not talk.
The neocons who got us into Iraq on a huge pile of macho
slogans, distortions and bravado, having skipped out on any
sacrifice themselves, are not patriots. Just as the Nazi
propaganda machine ended up ultimately ruining Germany, our big
talkers may well represent a danger to this country every bit as
real as al-Qaida. Their ability to fool people into believing
what is demonstrably false and almost certainly not in our
national self-interest, while hiding behind a false flag of
patriotism, is proving disastrous every day.
If we choose to measure results and not talk, Limbaugh and his
ilk clearly have made us less safe, aided radical Islam and bin
Laden, helped keep a hopelessly inept president and Cabinet in
power, and generally worked against our long-term interest. They
are phony patriots.
Greg James is from Mercer Island.
©1996-2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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