It takes a lot to get Rev. Sensing (formerly Maj. Sensing) mad, but Atrios' dishonest and creepy "chickenhawk" argument managed. He has some questions for Mr. Black, as part of a longer article:
"My son is a lance corporal in the US Marine Corps. He will deploy to Iraq in two months. I myself am a retired US Army artillery officer.
- Do you, Mr. Black, agree that you are kept free and safe only because my son and others like him are risking their lives on your behalf?
- ...What gives you the justification to speak against the war?
- ...Do you agree that no one except veterans and presently-serving military members should ever decide when the nation shall go to war, and why?
Given the heavily Republican leanings of the military and levels of support for the war among that cohort, you'd think Atrios would have a brain in his head and realize the implications of his own proposal. But it's not about logic - it's just a crude and dishonest attempt to silence his opponents while giving him free rein to spew whatever comes into his head.
The Army of the Mind will not be cowed. And people like Duncan "Atrios" Black and "screw them" Kos provide an excellent example of why this army so important to this war.
- I am a veteran and my son is now serving. By your lights these amounts to a "double credit" for me to speak about the war. Also by your lights, you yourserf suffer from a double deficit, since you have never served and have no immediate family member serving. Therefore, your logic would inexorably find that my opinion is of magnitudes greater value than yours. Do you agree? If not, why not?
I'll let you read what comes next for yourself. Finally:
- ...Finally, on what basis can you persuade me that you, personally, are not simply a coward of the most craven kind who hides behind anti-war cliches merely to keep intact your own precious skin?
I differ from Sensing here, though his update about the privileges of citizenship, the responsibility of citizens to serve, and national security leadership is excellent.
In this matter, however, I think Atrios' hates are more important than his fears. It's not about self-preservation - in an all-volunteer force, that isn't a issue. It's not about "sunshine patriotism," either. It's that Atrios is exactly the kind of person Michael Walzer talks about in "Can There Be a Decent Left?"
These days, there are far too few "yes" answers to that question.
UPDATE: While I find Atrios' tactics to be a brownshirt's denial of both citizenship and democracy (rather than just a strong policy atack which would be OK), I'm glad we had the debate in the comments section. The process of doing it caused a few ideas to become clearer to me. Since the Left will continue to use it, there's lots of good fodder here for people who want to combat the tactic and understand why the efforts of victory advocates on the home front is so important, or why it's OK to value a hero's words more highly but deadly wrong to require anything more than citizenship in good standing in order to be part of a policy debate. Or just to snarkily note the 6:1 ratio of serving GOP voters to Democrats, and consider that blacks make up 15% of the army and vote almost 90% Democrat. Thanks to ALL of the debate participants.