Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Russ Lindquist is Intellectually Frivolous

I posted yesterday about baby Landon Carpenter, whose father was killed in action in Afghanistan.  A couple of folks left comments asking if there was a memorial or college fund, and so I went looking.  I didn't find it, but I did find this:

My caption: this is propaganda purposed to humanize US troops as they war against other people. Akmed’s dad died too; so did Mohammed’s dad. These names might not be as cute, to some, as Landon”–regardless, they matter too. Or, if they do not matter then Landon does not matter either.

Patriotism require more than hypocrisy and cultural-chauvinism: the US international policy is bad; no reasonable separation is given between the policy and the troops; you should not support the troops. The slogan “support the troops” is a red-herring, aimed to humanize US troops as they dehumanize others. Do not support the policy; do not support troops.
Do not support the troops.
Do not support the troops.
The proprietor of that site, one Russ Lindquist, is intellectually frivolous, combining A with Not-A in an intentionally provocative way probably designed to attract attention.

Mission accomplished, Russ.

I left a comment there (stuck in moderation - there's some intellectual courage on display) pointing out the difference between A and Not-A:

We're not the ones who machine gun school girls because they go to school.

We're not the ones who sheltered the people who intentionally attacked civilians (including children) on 9/11.

We're not the ones who ban music.

We're not the ones who used ancient Buddha statues for artillery practice.

Categorizing that with our approach which, while certainly imperfect, acts under ridiculously restrictive rules of engagement is frivolous.  Sadly, this has been the Left's stock in trade for quite some time.

If Mr. Lindquist has evidence that LCPL Carpenter engaged in war crimes, or even accidentally killed children, he's invited to leave a comment (or put up a post) with his evidence.  Of course, he has none.

You're tested by how you react at the time.  He was tested, and fell back on the typical Reactionary Left frivolity.  And so, in the interest of getting Mr. Lundquist the attention he seemingly craves, feel free to put up your own post (even with the same title as this one) linking to his.  Drive his Google ranking, because it sees all, forgets nothing.

The answer to execrable speech is more speech.  You know what to do.

Postscript: I actually agree with him that we should withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, and left a comment to my first post detailing my reasons.  The point here is not the policy differences, it's the contemptible and frivolous nature of his comments.  The Left at one time would scruple to at least say that while they opposed the war, they supported the troops.


ASM826 said...

I've been reading Hitchens' book "Arguably Essays". Genius.

TinCan Assassin said...

You've just been awarded!

southtexaspistolero said...

He probably thinks as so many do, that all cultures are equally valid (except for the oh-so-gauche American one) and that no culture should be judged according to the norms of another culture.

WV: ablog. Yep. I have one AND read many!

Aretae said...


It may not be well argued, but it is not frivolous.

The simple argument is: treat folks as individuals.

War causes an enormous amount of collateral damage. Some/many people who have NO fondness for terrorists will have members of their families killed ON ACCIDENT by the US troops...for which the US Troops, and especially the commanders are morally culpable.

Killing of parents who went to war for patriotic duty is bad. Killing of innocents whose crime was to be born in a country with terrorists is WORSE.

You may not agree...but it isn't frivolous.

Goober said...

Aretae for the win. I've been working all morning to figure out a way to say exactly what he just said, but the words were eluding me.

State sanctioned murder is f-ing bullspit. I can't for the life of me figure out how you can reconcile God's exhortion to not murder (which is pretty damned clear, in my estimation) by saying that the state told you it was okay.

The only time it is morally acceptable to kill another human being is in self defense. Period. I don't care if you think you have the legal backing of your government. If you take part in killing someone who isn't actively trying to kill you first, then you lose.

I can reconcile our original efforts in Afghanistan with this - we were, in my opinion, acting in self-defense by eliminating a threat that hurt us first, and promised to do so again. Once that threat was effectively eliminated (by about 2004) we no longer had the moral high ground to continue killing people.

We never had the moral high ground to kill anyone that was not Taliban or Al Qaeda, and we did a lot of that. Some of it was accidental. Some deliberate. None of it was right.

It is thinking about people as groups, instead of individuals, that allows people the ability to dehumanize them and do things to them that you would never do otherwise.

The same group think taints our discussions about immigration, too. it is easy to say that illegal aliens are bad. However, a poor, single father on the wrong side of the river who has mouths to feed and can make as much in an hour on the other side of the river as he can in one day on his side of the river really doesn't seem that evil to me - does it to you? Would you do the same as him and swim the river? i know for sure that I would.

Goober said...

If Mr. Lindquist has evidence that LCPL Carpenter engaged in war crimes, or even accidentally killed children, he's invited to leave a comment (or put up a post) with his evidence. Of course, he has none.

You are sort of reinforcing Aretae's point here by going individual here and specifically asking about LCPL Carpenter. It is easy for Lindquist to make blanket statements about the US troops, but it gets far more difficult to accuse one, single trooper of doing harm for the same reason i described above. One man is a person. A group of men is an abstraction.

Borepatch said...

Aretae, I disagree, strongly.

As you know, I think that government is a terribly blunt instrument, and military force is even blunter. Use of force must be very well thought through before you engage in it.

However, our quarrel with the Taliban was entirely justified by their actions in 2001, not just in International Law terms, but morally as well. I'll leave it for another day to discuss the moral hazard of not standing up to bullies, but we had a dog in this fight after 9/11.

Our approach over the last 10 years may have been idiotic, with idiotic rules of engagement and idiotic neocon "nation building" goals. I'm entirely willing to concede each of these points.

But that's not what Lundquist said. "Don't support the troops" is what he said, repeatedly. I view that with contempt, and reading back through my post believe that I was far kinder to him than he deserved.

Net/net, he trained his sights on the wrong target. As long as we want a military that is subservient to civilian command, we need soldiers that will try to implement the (often idiotic) objectives specified by the civilian government. They die doing that. They do not deserve condemnation from snotty-nosed pseudo-intellectuals who haven't thought through any of that.

Aretae said...

I have to remain respectfully in disagreement.

We can both agree that the troops themselves are (usually) doing things from good motives.

We can both agree that the troops are operating under state direction, which has (almost universally) bad motives.

We also agree that there is error at many levels (analysis, judgement, moral). Not disputing that.

We can agree to disagree about the morality of subordinating your good (protect/serve) motives to bad/evil directors.

To folks like Lindquist (I read his article, which seemed very light on argument)...the core question is AT WHAT COST?

Is it a NET good to serve the state, where you (the soldier) intend defense and they (the state) intends conquest, and where you are sometimes directed to kill innocents? Or is it a NET bad. On this count...reasonable people can disagree...and strongly. I suppose it depends on how much culpability you assign to the killed innocents (being in the wrong place), and to the soldier (trying to serve a good cause, but maybe unintentionally serving a bad one).

Suggesting that this is a slam-dunk case is crazy.

Always respectfully,

Borepatch said...

Aretae, this would be a good discussion over beers next time we get together. ;-)

Sure wish Hitchens could join us, although he would've drunk me under the table.