Thanks, ROKdrop, for the linkage.
But I beg to differ with you a bit on your post "Anyone Still Think They Support the Troops and Not the War?"
There are a lot of people like me, who always thought (and still do) that there wasn't enough justification to go to Iraq. Most reasonable people fought so hard against going in because of exactly the problem we're in now: the Middle East is the last, hottest, easy-to-quagmire place the US military should be without absolutely, positively having to be there.
And that's funny, since the Bush administration, Rice, and all the power players swore up and down that there was no evidence of mass destruction before 9/11, and then suddenly Iraq is a huge threat to world security after.
When even the CIA and the State Department are throwing up internal protests, and even normally calm-and-collected Colin Powell got red-faced and threw down a dossier in anger while asking rhetorically whether he was expected to go to the UN with "this bullshit," it's hard to say that us anti-war people were/are a bunch of Cindy Sheehans spitting on GI's and burning the flag.
I think the Cindy Sheehans and all the others who blame the actual victims of this – our troops – and who make counterproductive spectacles of themselves make people like me wince and groan as much as they make pro-war people's blood boil.
Everyone sitting on opposite sides of the fence actually want the same thing, in the end, an end to the war, as quickly as possible.
I, and others like me, are realistic enough to know that since we're there, we can't necessarily just pull out and run just for the sake of doing so, without checking against the strategic possibility of doing so.
Just as the "conservatives" and other people are (hopefully) not all Bill O'Reilly acolytes and think Rush Limbaugh to be some modern-age prophet, so is the left not all followers of Cindy Sheehan who spit on GI's and think Al Queda's a new kind of cool.
This is different from Vietnam in that there was a lot of evidence that we shouldn't have been there, and most importantly – the anti-war movement started BEFORE the war, and not well into it, as happened in around 1967-68, when the response was much more black-and-white than now.
I think that the public's response to revelations such as Abu Graib and other embarrassments are incredibly nuanced and careful, and most definitely haven't engendered the response of making the public think all soldiers to be "baby killers" or spit on returning troops in the airport.
On the contrary, I've seen enlisted men on airplanes and in public in the desert fatigues, and from what I've seen, the atmosphere has been one of general respect for what they're going through as people who we also know are men and women who'd rather not be there, but are doing their duty.
I just disagree with the order to send them there, which I thought to be totally unjustified, and a parlor trick played on an overly-permissive, post-9/11 America and media.
And you might read a previous post, "Of Heroes, Horrors, and Hope," in which I lay out why the atrocities at Abu Graib have to be laid bare for the nation to see, and the onus of responsibility placed on an administration that many in the military even acknowledge wink-winked and nudge-nudged interrogators that they'd be looking the other way regarding torture and other interrogation techniques.
If there's any blame to be assigned for the increased anger in the Islamic world and any PR "help" it might have been for them, it lays at the feet of the perpetrators of what might consider to be not only war crimes, but against the grain of what America stands for.
I have taught American culture and history on both the college and high school levels. I have also done so in Korea.
And let me tell you, Abu Graib and the others make it that much tougher to back my meta-argument in my class, which is that America has a lofty set of ideals, with our history being an ongoing struggle to live up to them.
Some of my Ethnic Studies colleagues would call this a "dangerous" approach that oversimplifies and replaces a certain kind of historical agency with that of a false sense of teleological inevitability. I say, I know, I know.
But put in non-academic terms, I'd just say that you can't argue American history only in terms of its ideals, because you'd be laughed out of the room, and rightfully so. But you also can't characterize American history as the lowest-common-denominator sum of its parts, as pure chronicle of exploitation, debasement, and even genocide (even though elements of each were there), because I think many of the founders and all who moved our country "forward" had real and noble (even if often flawed) visions for the future.
But I don't hate the people who revealed "bad things" about my country, its troops, or her history. My job is harder these days, in a more complex, less black-and-white world.
And the job of the soldier is also harder these days, in the age of close scrutiny with even cellphone cameras and live war blogging.
We're on the same side, dude. And our jobs, as different as they are, are also much harder than WWII, in the days when the media was fully censored by the government, film took days to develop and news stories at least a day to print, there were only two major powers in a Cold War world, and Vietnam, Watergate, a recession, and myriad other events up to and including 9/11 hadn't made Americans more cynical, skeptical, and even frightened out of their wits.
To compare to WWII, and say that "Americans aren't even sacrificing" like the days of old is kind of a false comparison, methinks. "America" as a whole has sacrificed a lot these days, including in the abstract, its image and respected stature in a lot of the countries that have been loyal allies over the last 50 years, and down to the concrete, in the lives of many of the soldiers whom I am saddened every day to see are losing their lives in what I consider to be an unjust war.
And I'm smart enough to place responsibility squarely with the President and his closest advisors, who knew better, were warned by many sectors of its own government, as well as the media, and the vast majority of the rest of the world.
I don't spit on soldiers, and neither does anyone else I know. Cindy Sheehan coming to Korea and meddling in affairs that are quite apart from even the issue she is ostensibly focused on is something I find personally disgusting, too.
As I don't fashion "the right" as a monolithic force with a singular mind and interests, I hope others won't do so to the left, which is so varied and diverse that one of the main problems we complain about is the inability to organize effectively across such huge differences.
See, you might see the Communist Party organizer who comes to all the anti-war rallies as "typical," but most of the people I know who organize such things roll their eyes and wince, too.
Trust me, many of us "lefties" sit up late at night and curse their existence, too.