Saturday, January 07, 2006

From the flame file

I thought I'd share an email I got, regarding this website. I always welcome healthy discourse on any stance I take. Perhaps someone will bring an argument I hadn't thought of before. Even if neither of us changes our mind, it can be a rewarding experinece to have had the conversation. So without further ado, here is a letter from Mark



Hi,


Just wanted to pass along a quick note. I saw your

'peace is patrioc' knitting. Don't delude yourself.

It is NOT ok to not support the war and that's not a

form of support for the troops. You can't tell

someone 'I despise what you do but I really support

you'. It demoralizes our troops and undermines the

entire nation.


I hate knitters, but I really like you,

Marnie...whoops not very supportive is it?



Well, that's an interesting argument but I don't think it quite applies. Firstly, your implication is that I've stated that I hate soldiers as a whole but care for certain individuals. Nothing is further from the truth. I have the utmost respect for our soldiers and my wish is for their safe and healthy return. Is that unpatriotic? Is it delusional to think that wishing they'd be able to return their their families and their civilian life is anti soldier? But let's take your analogy a bit further. Can I hate McDonalds food and how it effects our society? Can I lament more and more children are becoming obese because of the food served there? Can I hate all of this and still respect and support the people who work there to pay their rent? Of course I can. I don't spend my money at McDonalds and I hope that Americans begin to move away from fast food and eat healthier, but most of the kids in my home town worked at one fast food restaurant or another and I supported their efforts fully.

Our soldiers are fighting for freedom for the Iraqis

and for our own security, while liberal whiners deride

their efforts and the war.



Perhaps now the soldiers are being told they are fighting for freedom, but that is not why they were sent to Iraq. They were sent to Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction and to avenge the attacks on September 11th. There are two huge problems with these goals. For one, the Iraqis and their government had nothing to do with 911. Osama Bin Laden was at fault and we have yet to bring him to justice. Furthermore, there were no WMDs. Evidence suggests that further investigations, had investigators been allowed to proceed, would have shown as much. In my mind, the loss of over 2000 of our soldiers and countless civilians in Iraq, is a sure sign that the ends do not justify the means. But let us say they do, why Iraq? Why have we chosen to send our troops to Iraq and not bring freedom to other countries? Why aren't we fighting the genocide in Darfur? Why aren't we properly dealing with the WMD in North Korea? What is our responsibility in the US to the world? How do we decide in which countries we should overthrow the oppressive government and which we should largely ignore? And further, why aren't we using the billions of dollars spent on the war to better help our own country. I think the recent hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, have shown we haven't properly invested in protecting our own citizens. What if even a tenth of the money spent on the war were used to better protect our citizens from hunger, natural disaster and lack of healthcare? If our government had been able to gather a compelling argument for war and enlist the help of other countries, we would all share the burden, our soldiers could have better armor, we wouldn't be tapping our reservists for the war and could, instead, have used those resources for our own plight back here on our own soil. I really think this argument could go on and on, but I'm not entirely sure you'll even take the time to read this far through my reply, so I'll move on.



Both of my sons have fought to free Iraq, and one was

seriously wounded. My younger boy told me before he

that hundreds of Iraqis have personally thanked him.

He did get spit on though, just once - by a Berkeley

student at SFO.



I have the greatest respect for your sons. They chose to enlist in the military, they have been brave and one was wounded in the process. He deserves every award he is offered and I think it's wonderful that he is home with his family. I want nothing but the safe return of every soldier and a peaceful resolution to the current conflict. I consider that very patriotic. You may judge that as you see fit. But I'm not some blind "liberal whiner" as you have dubbed me. My boyfriend served during the first gulf war and he opposes this war, and I count among my friends, quite a few people who have family serving abroad. The people I know concur with my feelings that it would be nice to have our soldiers back. It is disgusting that someone spit on your son. There are horrible people in this world. Don't lump every liberal in with that person, and I won't lump every soldier in with the few bad ones caught abusing Iraqis in Abu Ghraib.



This lack of support disgusts me, but spineless

Americans are nothing new. You opposed WW1, WW2, and

other conflicts that freed millions of people and

saved millions of lives. If it was up to you,

Saddam's torture, slaver, murder and genocide would

continue to this day.



That's interesting I hadn't realized that I opposed WW1 and WW2. It's a good thing I have you to read my mind. I guess since you are a republican, you opposed the Civil war and freeing the slaves. Shame on you. And hey, didn't we go to WW2 under a liberal president? Didn't he start that evil program, social security? It seems to me that you'd be more likely to oppose the second World War than I.


I think I've been clear about where I stand. I believe that Saddam did some horrible things. I believe there is a lot of horrible behavior in this world. My wish would be that there were never a need for war. I realize that is not always possible. What I do believe is that we'd have been able to do more, with less death if we had been able to get the support of the rest of the world. We burned our ties with almost all first and second world countries and we attacked Iraq unilaterally under false pretenses. Our soldiers and Iraqis have suffered for this, and we, at home have bared a huge burden. More and more of our soldiers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and have or will come home to families in huge financial turmoil from the lack of a second income. Our national deficit continues to rise and still there is no end to the war. It's not that I don't support the idea of bringing freedom to Iraq, it's that I feel we've done it all wrong. This has nothing to do with the soldiers, who follow orders, bravely and well. This has everything to do with how the government has approached the task.



Like most Americans, I support the war AND our troops.

And from all of us, here's a big fuck you.


Mark



It is clear from this closing that you are probably not looking to have a conversation on this, but I support your first amendment right to tell me what you think. Just as you have every right to support the war, I have every right not to. One of the beautiful things about our democracy is that we can agree to disagree. I really do appreciate the chance to discuss topics of some controversy. I learn a lot from it and I think people should be challenged on their stance. I do wish you had offered some more meaningful arguments and less ignorant hatred. Since you commented on the site, Peace is Patriotic, and it's a group blog, I'm going to post your comments and ask people to reply. Any civil discourse that arises will be enlightening. I hope you'll give your thoughts there. I won't speak for any of the other people on that blog, since they come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are liberal, some are more conservative, some have family serving in Iraq right now, this is just my reply to your email.


I'll sign off with a more civil closing than you've afforded me and wish you and your sons the best. I thank them sincerely for their service and hope they recover well.


 

19 Comments:

crazycatladymel said...

Mark's email both confuses the hell out of me and, at the same time, sounds like things I've heard from others. Of course, his closing comments kind of killed any vague attempt to be civil.

I'm a Libertarian and a Christian. I do not support the war, the government scares the shit out of me (I know, I'm a Christian, and I said "shit," bad Christian), but I want the troops to come home safe and sound.

I have a list of other charitable knitting I've pledged to do, but I want to look into your plan and see what I can help with.

6:33 PM  
Pixiepurls said...

I do not for one single moment support this war, but I won't take that feeling out on our troups. So that person is just being opinionated, arn't we lucky that in america we can say these things and not be punished for it?

7:03 PM  
quanceblog said...

Hmmm... apparently this guy has a profound allergy to the natural fiber of the universe.

It's no wonder that his persona represents the core value that evolves in a culture bred to demand the cheapest prices for the cheapest goods.

7:11 PM  
Tania said...

That was not only a rude, personal attack lacking any intellectual merit, but it was rife with conservative "talking points". Unfortunately, the new game in republican politics is now to admit our mistakes and say that we must correct them because the majority of Americans (according to someone's polls) do not support the reasons for which we went to war (or as you pointed out, the lies for which we went to war). Marnie, you handled that email democratically and critically. I've just come from you knitting blog, so now I will check this blog out.

7:22 PM  
Wendy said...

I have heard this type of debate from Republicans before and I just cannot wrap my brain about where they get their "logic." Also, it seems like whenever people like this are questioned on their views they end it with insults and "FU's."

Marnie, I agree with your views, of course since I also live in Cali, that might not surprise you.

We live under a very destructive president. The next election will not come soon enough. Our troops do need to be pulled out of their, unless his plans are to occupy that Iraq more permanently, like put up a base there....kind of makes you wonder.

7:59 PM  
TheBon said...

I am extremely glad you covered everything so elonquently Marnie, my feelings are generally the same as yours when it comes to the war.

I am glad that Mark's son has had such a positive experience with Iraqi's and their thankfulness but I am positive that that has not been the experience all of our men and women have had. A young man that is very close to my family enlisted in the army fresh out of high school in 2001. That young man did so for many reasons, none of which matter here. His unit was sent to Kabul, Afghanastan pretty early on and he was among those to march on Baghdad from the south when we first invaded and began this war. He was lucky enough to come home, after having been in Iraq for awhile. At that time, during the winter of 2003, he visited us at our home. We couldn't speak of much that happened, for obvious reasons and one of my sisters made a comment about how he'd probably gotten to meet a lot of interesting people [meaning in the army] and his response was a bitter laugh and the words "yes, and they all hate us."

This boy, who was constantly joyful, now carries a sorrow that causes him to look ten years older than he is. No man or woman ought to needlessly go through that kind of pain.

10:26 PM  
Seitherin said...

I don't believe politics are worth dying for, nor do I believe they are worth killing for. Show me a war that isn't political and I might believe in it.

As an Army brat, I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone in the Armed Services. Having a dad who served two tours in Viet Nam, I understand and appreciate how important emotional support for our troops is.

Being a rational, thinking being, I can smell the bull shit the government is trying to shovel on me. Being a Texan, I know just the kind of boots to wear to kick it out of my way.

11:32 PM  
Kim Russo said...

That person didn't even deserve such a response.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous said...

One problem with your argument was that the Republican party from the very start was expressly against the expansion of slavery, and that it was the democrats that dominated the south, and supported slavery.

Unless this is your point? But people seem to forget that the definition of the parties has changed significantly since the Civil war and reconstruction.

8:27 AM  
Janice in GA said...

I've heard this argument (that saying you support the troops but not the war is demoralizing to the troops) from right-wing talk radio pundits. I've decided it's a ploy to try to make people who disagree with the war feel guilty.

No one who remembers Vietnam wants our soldiers to feel that the people back home hate them. So if they can make us feel that by not supporting the war, we're hurting the soldiers, maybe we'll shut up and at least tacitly support the war.

I don't buy it. And I reject Mark's argument that this is a righteous war. Saddam was a target of opportunity -- a bad guy, sure, but there are lots of bad guys in the world. (North Korea actually IS working on WMDs. Anybody heard any plans to invade North Korea??) We couldn't find Osama, so we decided to hit Saddam instead. Maybe some good will come out of it, maybe it won't. But this administration is making America hated all over the world.

8:28 AM  
Olga said...

Your response was perfect, Marnie! You touched upon all of the important issues eloquently and cogently--the lack of WMDs, the resources that are being drained away from our own infrastructure, etc.

I wish that Mark had addressed the fact that the Bush administration shows very little support or respect for our troops in the form of cutting veterans benefits. It's all well and good to send our men and women where they're needed, but then conveniently forgetting about them when they return and need support is simply a travesty.

I am fervently against this war, but I also find myself in the position of agreeing that we need to clean up the mess we made and stabilize the region before we pull out. I never did understand the arrogance of believing that we would be in and out of that historically unstable region within a period of months. The world now hates us for our imperialistic actions, and we can't keep on screwing with other nations' governments and then walking away from the chaos.

8:44 AM  
Olga said...

re: Seitherin's comment--It also makes me crazy when I hear politicians (usually Republican) try to dismiss any objections by saying, this isn't political. let's not drag politics into this. what?! Everything is political, especially wars.

8:49 AM  
Teryl said...

Hi Marnie

Let me give you another point of view. I was raised in a military family. My Dad is now a reired AF Colonel. From the time I was 4, it was my entire life until I moved out at 18. We lived on military bases, stopped to listed to the National Anthem at 6a & 6p (and I mean STOPPED wherever we were), had free medical care, good deals at the commissary and the BX. Officers kids went to different pools than the rest of the kids, we even lived apart. My Dad was in Vietnam, like all the other kids Dads, and no one ever asked why, it was just his job. I would say that we grew up respecting the military, but thats only accurate in the sense that we didn't know other people thought any different. I was small when people were protesting and the returning soldiers were disrespected. I didn't know why they would hate my Dad for doing his job.

When I moved out, I was horrified. Nobody in the civilian world had/did these things. It was culture shock for me. I had to PAY for medicine??? The doctor charged a fee!! And people were hungry. And sick. In this country! Why? Why couldn't they get cheap food like we did on base? Why couldn't they just go to a doctor when they were sick? Why were people living in the street? Many years later I still ask these questions. I am a child of a soldier, a military kid. It afforded me benefits that I never could have had, if my Dad had remained in Los Angeles (where we are from). We saw the world and learned much - whether we lived in New York or Alabama, Seattle or San Antonio, we knew how to meet people, make friends and appreciate that no matter what race, creed, color, etc we were all in the same boat.

I have the utmost respect for men and women who feel the calling to serve our country. If you join the military, you must know that there is a chance that you will go to war. It is after all, the MILITARY. I have little sympathy for those who join and then cry about it. It is a free country - so don't join. Having said that, do I want my son to join? NO. I would be terrified every moment he was away. Do I think that THIS war is the best decision? Not really. I think it got sidetracked. Do I think that our tax money can be spent better? YES. I think we should worry about feeding and housing our citizens before we spend billions to help another country free themselves from what they have been doing for a lifetime anyway.

We can spend our money to take care of our own citizens and help those in need elsewhere, too. We just have to be smarter than rocks. If it was really the freedom of an opressed country that we were fighting for, why not start with Cuba? Mexico? (what? they are a democracy? SURE they are.) Any number of central or south american countries will fit the bill for this rationale.

So, lets say it for what it is. We need the oil - all thet other stuff is dressing for the truth.

Things would just work better if we didn't lie to ourselves. Can we support soldiers and not the war for which they fight? Of course (refer to the SMARTER THEN A ROCK theory) Soldiers don't get together to decide who to attack next. They follow orders. They do a job.

Teryl

9:44 AM  
Anonymous said...

Marnie:

If bloggers, posters, and pundit (on all sides) were as polite, respectful, and well-informed as you, I would pay more attention to political debate. Most of the time I avoid it, because it is rife with rude, ill-reasoned, disrespectful rhetoric (again, on all sides) as the kind this Mark fellow displays. Thanks for bringing civility and reason back, Marnie.

And thank you for demonstrating that it is not illogical to be respectful of the sacrifices our soldiers are making in Iraq and, at the same time, disagree with this administration's stated reasons for going to war.

In fact, a recent LA Times article noted that, although support for the war is not exactly high, ordinary citizens are nonetheless filled with gratitude to returning soldiers, and have been doing spontaneously kind things like picking up their lunch bills at restaurants and giving up first-class seats for them on flights. So Marnie, you are actually in the majority!

(Although I agree with one of the posters above: the Republicans OPPOSED slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War, IIRC.)

Friscalating

2:30 PM  
jessica~ said...

Marnie,
I don't have much to add to what you have already written. I think your responses are clear, open minded and reasonable but I will say that Mark's ignorance is maddening! I can not stand to hear people section off the country into groups like he did -no matter what political ground they stand on.

I was personally offended by the comparison of someone who opposes the war and the guy who spit on his son. According to Mark's logic that would mean I would spit on my own brother, since he's a marine and I oppose the war. Um, no.

Thank you for responding so elequently and with such decency. I only wish Mark [and many others] would open their minds and their hearts.

3:23 PM  
Cindy said...

Marnie, Your response to Mark was civil, respectful, and eloquent - far more than he deserved. Thank you for sharing the e-mail.

4:05 PM  
Susan said...

Marnie,

You're response to Mark was civil and well thought out. Certainly more than his tired argument and belligerent attitude deserved.

7:21 PM  
Julia said...

I think you know that I have the same stance on the war that you do, and that I would make similar, and hopefully kind and civil, responses to Mark.

The one thing I will say is that it's hard to know why people react this way unless you've stood in their shoes. I think that many of the families who have children in the war must support it because if they didn't they would feel that their children were facing death in vain, and that would be too much to bear. For many, life doesn't contain shades of grey, and to support a child, but not support the war that places the child in harm's way, doesn't make sense to them. It seems to me there is a disconnect there, but as much as I am repulsed by what Mark has written, I also feel a certain amount of compassion for him, if not empathy. These are hard times for all of us to live in.

xox,

10:16 AM  
Sara said...

I came here from a link at Jessica's knitting blog (knitfit), and I just wanted to say that I am so impressed with how eloquently you responded to this personal attack. I am going to be linking to this post on my knitting blog, if you don't mind.

4:55 AM  

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