Now is the Time, Terry Frank!

I admit, I often don’t understand what gets conservatives all up in arms.  Today, for instance, they’re riding Kleinheider’s butt because he called our troops “pawns” and also said that they have honorable professions.

Somehow, to the conservatives, “pawns” is such a grave insult that it outweighs the compliments he paid our armed forces and Terry Frankis falling all over herself to distance herself from Kleinheider’s comments (Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe the Army has nothing better to do than to sit around and retaliate against bloggers for imagined slights.  If so, let me be the first to say how terrible it would be if four hot half-naked soldiers came over and gave me massages and cleaned my house in order to teach me to have more respect for our soldiers. [Ooo, there’s the slight!  It’s Soldiers now.]).

Anyway, Frank says:

There is no greater love nor charity than for one man to lay down his life for another. I hope that if the time ever arises, I may do so for my family or my fellow man. I believe such risk, such sacrifice is truly loving your neighbor as yourself. [emphasis mine]

I would just point out that now is the time.  Our Army needs dedicated soldiers who believe in the cause they’re fighting for and they’ll take anyone up to forty years old.

I have it on good authority from Stacey Campfield, the Right’s favorite blogging legislator, that Terry Frank is, at most, thirty-six.  So, if she really believes in the cause our soldiers are fighting for, believes that what they’re doing is for a greater purpose and makes good sense, the Army needs her and would be willing to take her.

She’s anxious to have the opportunity to serve and the Army’s anxious to have her.

I anxiously await her enlistment.

Good fun.

(Not to let Kleinheider off the hook.  Once again he’s whining that us “First-World-ers” are not doing enough to have more white babies.  And yet, how many white babies has Kleinheider squirted into the wombs of women?  Can we ever put a moratorium on encouraging others to do dangerous things we ourselves can’t bother to get around to?)

34 thoughts on “Now is the Time, Terry Frank!

  1. I ask every war apologist the same thing. Why the hell aren’t you serving? They never have a response. Wait, one guy said, I can’t, I’m gay. I didn’t bother writing back to tell him you can serve and be gay, just not openly so. Surely he could stay in the closet long enough to defend our freedoms.

  2. I wouldn’t mind if those war apologists were open about not having the guts to put their ass where their mouth is, but for folks to act as if they would, if only they had the opportunity… Well, damn, the opportunity is right there, waiting!

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  4. In 1983, I went down to the Army recruitment office and talked to the nice man. They really liked my ASVAB scores. I signed the papers and in a few days, went in for my medical exam.

    Now, in 1983, the US was in the middle of a deep recession. Everybody and his brother was trying to get into the armed forces, just to get a steady paycheck. The standards to “get in” were much higher than they are now. Well, as I’ve said before, I was what is now known as a “DES baby” (I din’t know it at the time. I refuse to go into specifics, but I have what can only be describes as a birth defect. (That ought to get the speculation going)

    When they pulled me out of the line and had me talk to the doc there, it was the most disappointing moment of my life to that point. I asked them, “Is there anything I can do? Medication? Surgery?”. “No, son. Go home”, they told me.

    Now, I no longer am bitter about this, because I believe that lives have specific purposes, and this was part of getting me on the track to where I am now. I only tell this story because I’m not sure I’ve ever told this story here before, and when I use the term “Chickenhawk Immunity”, it basically means that I didn’t serve, but only because they wouldn’t let me.

    Full disclosure #2: I am now on record as saying it’s time we get out of Iraq.

    Now that that’s out of the way, do you really want to go down the road of this argument? Remember when certain trolls were chiding Brittney for not doing everything in her power (and out of it) to save animals? Do you like it when conservatives ask environmentalists why they aren’t living in mud huts to do their part? Or that stupid, needling argument about Al Gore taking fuel-guzzling private planes environmental events? Or why wasn’t Cindy Sheehan a “human shield” in Iraq?

    I had a big problem with what ACK said because 1) It serves no purpose but to inflame and 2) He sounds like a Vandy communist (it’s real easy to be a communist and rail against the sins of your parents when your parents are working their butts off to pay your tens-of-thousands of dollars in tuition). It’s real easy to say that soldiers are not “special” when your are safe behind the cloak of their protection.

    That was my main problem with what ACK said.

  5. Slarti, Our Armed Forces haven’t protected me in quite some time. Maybe not ever in my lifetime.
    I think it is perfectly valid to ask Ms. Frank to put her money where her mouth is. You cannot compare animal rights to pre-emptive, retributive war. People are dying, Slarti. Children. Old people who cannot move out of the way. Our military is crying out for recruits. She stated a desire to serve. Its a marriage made in heaven.

  6. Slarti, dd Brittney say that she hoped that if the opportunity presented itself, she’d come through and save an animal? I don’t remember that; I remember her saying that she had decided not to eat animal products. Some of us disagreed with her even about that, and some said that what she was doing was trivial, but I don’t recall any posturing about how she wanted the chance to do some other, more heroic thing. Ms. Frank is being taken to task for false heroics, posturing, and bullshit, all clearly expressed in the quotation above.

  7. Yeah, I never said that when the conditions are correct I will happily do everything in my power to save all animals. I just said I wouldn’t personally eat stuff from animals. Which I failed at, btw.

  8. Slarti raises an interesting point that I hope we can pick apart a little before the thread descends into “conservatives hate reason/yeah, well, hippies hate water.”

    Why do folks hear “pawn” as derogatory? Our troops don’t make their own choices, day to day, about what’s going on in the war. They do what they’re told and they follow orders. That’s the job–to be a pawn people with more power move around.

    To me, that’s not a slur, that’s a description.

    To me, also, the fact that our soldiers are pawns means that I owe them, as someone who can affect their missions and what they’re asked by our country to do, a great deal of respect (and I just didn’t see Kleinheider’s disrespect or at least didn’t see him disrespecting the troops any more than he disrespects anyone else) and I owe it to them to hold the folks who order them around accountable for whether the things they’ve ordered them to do are wise or not.

    Also, and I think I was clear about this in my post, I don’t expect everyone who’s pro-war to enlist or join the mercenaries over there. I do expect, however, when perfectly healthy people start being all “oh, if only I had the opportunity, I’d hope I could be as brave as our men and women in uniform,” for them to put their asses where their mouths are. She has the opportunity. She can enlist and see.

    Which brings us around to the last point I want to make. Kleinheider’s right. Soldiers are not different than us. They are us. Those folks over there are my neighbors. They’re kids I went to school with. They’re boys the girls in the Butcher’s class were going to marry. They are brave and they deserve our gratitude, but they are not different than us. They are not better than us.

    They are just human beings. And they are human beings who don’t have a lot of control over the situation they are in.

    That’s why I am obligated to be vigilant about how they’re treated.

    Slarti, no offense, but pro-war people are wrong about the war. They’ve been wrong about the war since the start. There are only a very few winnable kinds of war, as Sun Tzu points out.

    They must be quick. They must be seemingly merciless. And they must be for a discernable reason that leaves no doubt when victory has been achieved.

    There were winnable wars we could have fought against Iraq.

    We could have said, “Fuck you, Iraq. We’re an empire and we run on oil. You’re weak, you’ve got a fucked-up evil dictator, and we’re about to make you Puerto Rico Jr. Anyone who stands in the way of that will be killed.”

    We could have said, “Fuck you, Iraq (and to some extent Turkey). We love the Kurds and you’ve treated them like shit. We’re coming in with our army to liberate the Kurds and set up a free and independant Kurdistan.”

    Or we could have said, “Fuck you, Iraq. We hate you and we’re going to kill every last one of you.”

    Those might not all be just wars, but they are winnable wars and wars I dare say we could ahve easily won.

    Instead, we sent our troops into Iraq without some clear reason to be there, without clear objectives, and without a clear definition of victory. I don’t see any way we can possibly lose this war: we have superior fire power, well-trained troops, more people (especially if we start drafting people) and better technology.

    We’re never going to lose this war.

    But where’s the thing, Slarti, that we liberals would like for you to understand: we cannot win it either. We have no achievable goal that gives us a clear cut victory.

    And the longer we stay over there, the worse it gets.

    The shame of this is that I’m not making this shit up. Ask Sarcastro. The military is supposed to study military history and take to heart the successes and mistakes of other armies.

    The Art of War is a short book. The lessons in it are clear and not easy to improve upon. There’s just no reason for us to be making ourselves into the negative example of Sun Tzu’s philosophy.

  9. Slarti, I agree with all of your comments about the whole “you aren’t pure enough to make a moral judgement” line of argument people employ.

    What I think is different here, maybe, is the following.

    From my perspective, I see war being used not as a necessary and sad evil that calls for people to sacrifice for the greater good, but instead glorified as some kind of kick-ass I’m-tougher-than-the-other-guy tool.

    We then hear stories, whether from Vietnam or Iraq, about soldiers who come back and they are mentally or physically scarred. And talking about that is sometimes presented as taboo, as if it is undermining the troops. Like we can’t watch caskets coming home, etc.

    So you get this environment where the “pro-military” thing to do is to be for war, to want war, to talk about its glory and stiff-up-lip its pain, and to question its cost or need seems to be waving surrender flags or being appeasers.

    It’s in that context that people like me ask, for all those who so glorify war, do they in fact understand the human cost? When John McCain says we need to escalate the war, I think he says that fully understanding the human cost involved. So I can respect that. I also note that unlike say Romney he doesn’t want to double Guantanamo or see who is “tougher” on torture.

    So it’s not a question of moral purity, or earning the right to speak. It’s feeling that there is a huge disconnect between what our sports metaphor-driven media and our military might lead us to think of as the cost of war, and what it really is, and wanting to be sure that those who seem to gloss over its cost as acceptable really in fact get what it is that they are accepting (usually on others’ behalf).

  10. And as to B’s point, the reason I think “pawns” is insulting is that it implies that war and soldiering is not a valiant “300”-style exercise in honor, but rather submitting to being an unquestioning humble tool in the hands of politicians.

    I love what you said, B, about soldiers being us. I think that’s it exactly. And some folks get upset when that is said, because (I believe) the myth is the Army of One, carving the soldier out of the boy (or girl), transforming the individual and in turn the world around us. Like the soldier is a superhero.

    That to say they are human, that they hurt, is to question their superpowers, insult them, and wish them defeat.

    It’s not that the myth is totally without grounds, but I become suspicious when someone seems more interested in protecting the myth than in protecting the soldiers themselves.

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  12. >Once again he’s whining that us “First-World-ers” are not doing enough to have more white babies.

    This is my favorite. Because you can’t simultaneously say we’re making too few babies AND say that we’re importing too many immigrants without implicity admitting one’s racism. Either there are too many people here or too few, it can’t be both without admitting bias towards who one considers to be the ‘right’ people.

  13. Mack no offense, but the simple fact that our military scares the crap out of almost every fighting force on earth is in and of itself protecting you. What they are doing in Iraq? Maybe not so much. But, by BEING, and by being so lethal, our forces protect us without firing a shot.

    B – I agree with you about *this* war, at this moment. And I agree that soldiers are just humans (to do otherwise would not be very Christian).

    But Kat said it better than I could at her place. What Kleinheider did was in effect call soldiering “just another job”, like database administrator or college professor. But, IMHO, there is a hierarchy of importance. Jobs that protect, shield, and provide are at the top. Without these, nothing else is possible.

    I’ll be honest: my wife gets special treatment all the time because of what she does (home hospice nursing). Even got out of a ticket the other day because she was on her way to a patient’s house, and the officer felt a great debt of grattitude to Lintilla’s employer for the care they had provided a family member. (Beats getting out of a ticket by servicing a trooper in his squad car, I guess).

    Those of us who disagree with Kleinheider do so because we, like the officer toward my wife, feel a great debt of grattitude toward our military (historically and present). We can’t MAKE you feel that gratitude if you don’t feel it.

    So, I guess we’ll have to leave it at that.

  14. Dang it, sorry. I didn’t mean to imply you were an ungrateful snot-nose.

    What I meant was that “I can’t make you feel the same intensity of grattitude as me”

    There. Preemptive apology before I pissed you off again. ;)

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  16. Slarti, but that’s just exactly what I’m talking about. How in the hell can you assume that I don’t feel the same intensity of gratitude as you? Because I don’t think “pawn” means quite the same thing you doesn’t mean that I don’t care about our troops as much as you do. I really find that an infuriating debate tactic–assuming that, if I don’t agree to the terms of your debate, I don’t feel as deeply about what we’re debating. I think that’s really presumptuous.

  17. I’ve never disagreed with the term “pawn”; I was assuming your agreement with ACK was in whole, What he said that I disagreed with vehementley was the whole “no more worthy of respect than any other line of work” line of thinking.

    I was probably just continuing an argument with ACK by proxy.

    With the injection of Steve Gill (jackass) into the mix, I’ve forgotten who said what. I’m simultaneously arguing with Kleinheider and defending him, about the same post. My head will now proceed to explode.

    Weird. Sorry about that.

    This whole thing is a non-issue anyway, IMHO.

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  20. Slarti, Our Armed Forces haven’t protected me in quite some time. Maybe not ever in my lifetime.

    That is a idiotic statement. The Armed Forces protect America 24/7/365. Your chickenhawk theories are not much better.

  21. “Slarti, Our Armed Forces haven’t protected me in quite some time. Maybe not ever in my lifetime.”

    You should think of the armed forces like a football team’s offensive line–if they suddenly weren’t there, you’d just as suddenly appreciate what they were doing all that time you never noticed them.

  22. Mack no offense, but the simple fact that our military scares the crap out of almost every fighting force on earth is in and of itself protecting you. What they are doing in Iraq? Maybe not so much. But, by BEING, and by being so lethal, our forces protect us without firing a shot.

    No matter how I slice it, this paragraph comes up specious. Slarti, you’re running cause and effect through an ideological kaleidoscope. (And what Mack says is dead on.) You’re substituting the theoretical purpose of the U.S. military for how they have actually been utilized. I submit the radical notion that the uniform is only as honorable as what one does in it (maybe that’s why so many of my colleagues don’t wear their uniforms until they get into the firehouse, and are in a hurry to take them off when they’re relieved of duty. [I kid! I kid! But not really…])

    And that is where Aunt B.’s wisdom rides in to save the day (for those willing to be saved). Our military is under civilian control, and that civilian control is ostensibly under our control. So when the military gets involved in a dishonorable episode– like it did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Nicaragua, Somalia, etc., and like Smedley Butler said— there is no honor in the military as a whole. But ‘we the people’ should expect to bear the brunt of that dishonor for our failure to police those who give the military their marching orders.

    This is why I don’t “support the troops.” If I’m willing to allow them to be sent into a lawless, immoral, imperialist adventure– and then allow them to be denied comprehensive medical and financial benefits upon their return– then putting a fucking yellow sticker on my mini-SUV isn’t going to amount to much more than a slap in the face of human decency.

    All the waving of the bloody shirt does is provide emotional cover for the assholes who insist on prosecuting these imperial disasters. I’m amazed and disgusted that the subterfuge still works. I guess we must not be too moral or too bright as a nation, or else we might have learned to do better by now.

  23. I have to ask Roger and the always polite #9, what on Earth is the mighty military protecting me from? What country, in the last 50 years, (my lifetime) has had the desire, coupled with the capability of crossing the oceans, or, wandering through canada, where they would surely die of boredom, and attacking us? Seriously, the wars we fought we quite optional, and our homeland was never really threatened. Conventional warfare is dead. I think war as we think of it, anyways, isn’t far behind. Good riddance.

  24. Here’s where this argument will never get answered. It seems to come down to:

    “we fight them because they have fought us. sure we’d stop if they would, but they won’t and then what would happen? so we have to fight or die.”

    The argument is sometimes true and sometimes false, but there is never any way of knowing unless you try (and possibly die). So it is viewed through one’s background of life experience, world-view and passed-down narrative. Precisely because there is so little risk of ever having one’s viewpoint proven wrong, nobody has to temper their argument. It becomes, fundamentally, a matter of faith. And we know how debates about faith play out.

    The closest to science I can come is, do countries with only a smidgen of our military power and little foreign interventionism get attacked? If fundamentalists hate American freedom and women’s lib, why don’t they hate Sweden too? Etc.

    But one could say, Yes But there is still an America out there, drawing the fire from and carrying the burden for the Switzerlands of the world. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s superstition (I’ve worn my lucky socks since 9/11, I can’t take them off or we’ll be attacked again). Since a modern world with no American interventionist foreign policy is basically fantasy, how can we know what would result? (We couldn’t even get WMD right.)

  25. “we fight them because they have fought us. sure we’d stop if they would, but they won’t and then what would happen? so we have to fight or die.”

    This argument, from the U.S. perspective, is always false. As Ron Paul aptly pointed out– much to the chagrin of the corporate opinion-makers– even the man who we hold responsible for our own Reichstag fire (9/11) made the reasons for his ostensible war on the U.S. made his reasons quite clear. The sheiks and mullahs didn’t come over here to control our corn and wheat supply by overthrowing our governments and installing brutal puppet dictators and subverting our democratic aspirations (and helping to build a powerful, antagonistic, and expansionist colonial client state right in the heart of our territory). We decided to grab the European baton of colonialism and give it our own spin.

    Our foreign policy has never been about defending the U.S. from foreign invasion; it has always been about increasing and protecting a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth. That’s why every foreign military campaign we’ve ever embarked upon has been based on lies and exaggerations (the one exception being WWII, and that war’s origins lay in the same sort of blind avarice that started all the rest), and has always resulted in the targets of our violence being worse off than if we’d left them alone.

    Since a modern world with no American interventionist foreign policy is basically fantasy, how can we know what would result?

    C’mon, Jebbo. Are you so sold on U.S. exceptionalism that you can’t imagine a world better off without our unsolicited meddling? One way or another, that world will come to be. Where we stand in it will depend on whether we have the maturity to pull our fingers out of others’ pies without having them beaten and bitten.

    (We couldn’t even get WMD right.)

    I hope this is layered sarcasm, Jebbo. Please tell me you don’t believe that the WMD in Iraq story was a mistake and not a bald-faced lie.

  26. I have to ask Roger and the always polite #9, what on Earth is the mighty military protecting me from?

    I believe the term is the “usually polite #9”. Since the dawn of the nuclear age not a single attempt has been made on the U.S. with a nuclear missile. Yet in the early 1960’s an entire nation watched the skies. What are now storage sheds and abandoned underground wine cellars were at one time fallout shelters.

    Yes, the “mighty military” did not account for 9/11. The freedom we enjoy did not account for 19 men armed with box cutters to kill more Americans than those that dies at Pearl Harbor.

    If you do not understand that there are people that wish to commit violent acts on Americans in America then I don’t understand how I can explain it to you.

  27. What I understand, #9, is that we are becoming increasingly less free, in this lame attempt to preserve this notion that people hate us for our freedoms. I’m old enough to remember actually having to put our heads under our desks at school, in case the big bad Soviets attacked. I knew it was bullshit then, just like all this drum banging and patriotic posturing is now. The type of violence that lurks out there today cannot be stopped by standing armies. I’ve served, have you? If not, why not? The Armed Services are screaming for warm bodies. You support the war, and you are seemingly able-bodied. Go defend! I’ll be here, watching out for what is left of our freedoms right here at home.

  28. I’ve served, have you? If not, why not?

    The chickenhawk card? Are you a one-trick pony?

    As pointed out earlier this week around 4 percent of the people in America have served in the Armed Forces. Are they they only people that may speak? Or run for office?

    We disagree. It happens. I don’t know really why the Islamic Radical Extremists Fundamentalist killers want to kill Americans. Does it matter? They have proved their sincerity. That was enough for me. You try to talk with them. I will take another route.

  29. As much as I’m enjoying watching you two fight, I must ask another question that I’ve been wondering about. When we “fought” the commies, the role of the general public was to a.) turn suspected commies in; b.) hate them and their pinko commie fag ways; and c.) learn how to quickly hide under things.

    It seems to me that one problem we face with the “war on terror” is that, no matter where we send our military, we cannot guarantee that the terrorists will be there to fight (If we went to war with France and stormed France, we would, logically, have the French to shoot at; not so with terrorists). And, as the folks on Flight 93 proved, we each have to be prepared to be active. We are all potential “troops” in some way that I don’t think we’ve ever been before.

  30. Not only people who have served in the military get to have political opinions, or to express them. But those who haven’t probably ought to be more cautious than those who have served in forming (let alone expressing) opinions about who and what the military (and servicemen and servicewomen) actually are, do, want, need, and believe. In particular, I think they ought to be very, very wary in suggesting that they and only they have the proper attitudes towards our armed forces. Because, you know, not even the people who have served can agree on that one.

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