Why do wingnuts hate our combat heroes?

The American Family Association’s policy director is worried that our latest Medal of Honor winner was honored for saving the lives of fellow soldiers rather than slaughtering infidels. He thinks life-saving is “feminine.” No, really.

Just askin’.

The American Family Association’s policy director is worried that our latest Medal of Honor winner was honored for saving the lives of fellow soldiers rather than slaughtering infidels. He thinks life-saving is “feminine.” No, really.

Too bad the Dems in Congress aren’t as willing to play silly games as their opponents. I’d love to see a resolution denouncing the American Family Association for dissing a Medal of Honor winner, along the lines of the silly “General Betray-us” resolution directed at Move-On.

The Reps would be free to vote for it, or against it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

17 thoughts on “Why do wingnuts hate our combat heroes?”

  1. The American Family Association's policy director:

    "The Medal of Honor will be awarded this afternoon to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for his heroism in Afghanistan, and deservedly so. "

    "We rightly honor those who give up their lives to save their comrades."

    How is that consistent with "hate" for combat heroes? Silly games…

  2. sr, I suppose you must have run out of browser juice before you could quote the rest of the passage. Since of course you wouldn't want to deceive people, I'll finish it for you.

    "When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire, climbing the cliffs of Pointe do Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements.

    That kind of heroism has apparently become passe when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.

    So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?

    I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery. We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies."

    So Sgt. Giunta, according to your wingnut friend, exerted only a sort of girly-man courage, and it's worrisome that we honor it, rather than the manly courage that delights in slaughter. Feh.

  3. Mark, at this point I find it hard to admire the Democrats for not playing silly games of their own, since they play right along with the ones that the Republicans make up. The Dems went along with the resolutions condemning MoveOn and ACORN, presumably in the belief that the controversies would blow over if they just went along and got the vote out of the way, but to the contrary in both cases the consequences of the Democratic cave-in have been enduring, and of course catastrophic in the case of ACORN. The GOP is engaged in a vicious propaganda war, and the Democrats' insistence on valuing honor over victory bodes disaster for our country. I don't see how we "change the tone in Washington" if Democrats in high places don't start calling out the Right on their hatefulness and cynicism and fundamental lack of patriotism.

  4. I agree with Ted, only more forcefully. This isn't about silly games, it's about calling out the people who are working to destroy everything our nation ostensibly stands for. These jerks are even using taxpayer dollars to fund their work.

  5. Ted and Paul, while I agree on the Dems' response, Mark's point still stands. The right is just much more comfortable with dishonesty. And the tragedy is that it works. Millions of people tune in to AM radio, etc., where dishonesty and manipulation are fundamental. They then influence their less-politically inclined neighbor, and the movement is off and running. Sure, the Dems could respond better, but they simply don't traffic in the same level of BS. Essentially, Dems rely on the common goodness and intellectual acuity of the public. Unfortunately, propaganda and lies are designed to specifically destroy both.

    I guess the main case for not being as forceful is that responding to every new BS meme out there only helps them grow. But obviously this isn't working. If the Dems will never become the party of crazy, maybe they ought to consider being the party of anti-crazy.

  6. "If the Dems will never become the party of crazy, maybe they ought to consider being the party of anti-crazy."

    Seeing as just the other day we created anti-matter for the first time, it seems the proposition will require a long wait to operationalize. ;o)

    Nonetheless, for a very long time I have advocated for a forceful response to the mendacious bullying.. For that's what it is. Sure, the propaganda is top-down, but the bullying portion is bottom-up, which is why the model works so well. In other words: cut off the bully's reinforcement of his behavior and the spread of propaganda slows dramatically.

  7. The Dems don't even have to be dishonest — they just need to be assertively honest. Responding to every BS meme won't work, that plays into the whole problem that Democrats reflexively accept GOP framing. The focus should be on creating our own memes — airing the issues the GOP would rather not talk about. For example, the fleecing of consumers via TV/radio marketing of overpriced gold in collaboration with high-profile members of the media would have been an excellent topic for a congressional investigation. Superficially this seems trivial, but if we don't inflict damage on the right-wing propaganda machine, the '10s could be a replay of the '00s, only with worse in countless ways.

    Slightly OT, but the Democrats could do worse than practice some framing similar to this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/opinion/18thu1….

  8. Speaking of Republicans not being called out on their hypocrisy, consider this:

    Michele Bachmann (and other Tea Party favorites) have declined opportunities to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, even though they were offered seats. Given the chance to actually govern on the principles she has so stridently campaigned on, Bachmann ducks and runs.

    Now, you might think that this would be big news in Minnesota. But as of 10 AM EST on Nov 18, there is not a single mention of this on the websites of the Star Tribune in the Twin Cities, nor in the St. Cloud Times, nor on TV stations KTSP, WCCO, KARE in the Twin cities, nor on KCCO in Alexandria.

    So the Tea Party darling, given a golden opportunity to begin making decisions that have real consequences, turns tail and runs. Is she called out on this by any media back home? It does not appear so. The disconnect will not be brought to the attention of her constituents.

  9. Oh, one fun thing about searching for “Bachmann” at the St. Cloud Times website is getting back “Did you mean bagman?” on the first line.

  10. I have met 4 Medal of Honor holders in my life. 3 of them, I was able to read their personnel files. All had killed in what they were cited for. Not saying they did not deserve their medals. They did.

    The most embarrassing thing that happened to me while I was in the Army, after Vietnam: I was an SP5/E5 receiving a medal. The man standing next to me was a PFC/E3. He was a medic. He was receiving a second Oak Leaf cluster to his Army Commendation Medal. 3 Army Commendation medals for being wounded taking care of soldiers on the battlefield. 3 tours uncompleted by him being shot. He was a hero. I was an efficient pencil pusher. Horrible, I should not have been on the parade ground with him. He deserved a Medal of Honor.

    My brother in law's brother pulled 6 or 7 tours in Vietnam as a Navy medic assigned to combat Marine units.

    He never finished a single tour. He was MedEvaced to the states on every tour. When he got out of the service he was the equivalent of a PFC/E3 after 6 years in the Navy. He deserved the Medal of Honor.

    If the Medal of Honor is only awarded for mass killing, it certainly sends the wrong message to the troops about what is important to their senior officers and the Congress.

  11. The most unified set of comments I've ever seen are at the link. Great reading.

    Fischer kept the post up, but doesn't link to it or keep it in his blog history.

    He may have done some unacknowledged editing too, that's not totally clear to me though.

    He's the same guy that called for exterminating grizzlies (there's Christian stewardship for you) and that no mosques should be allowed to be built anywhere in the US.

    Finally, his bio doesn't list any military service.

  12. PS I had no idea that to be female or feminine was such a monstrosity. Since he invokes Christianity, I wonder what he has to say about Mary, the Mother of God.

  13. Sr, are you going to thank Mark for helping you with such a difficult task as reading to the end of a paragraph?

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