12. November 2005 · Comments Off on Patriotic Vs. Unpatriotic Dissent · Categories: GWOT, Iraq, Politics

A very well-written, and must-read, article at Tigerhawk:

Dissenters often (but not always) claim that they “support the troops.” Fairly or not, one often gets the impression that many of them do not really like soldiers and claim that they support them only as a political tactic, to avoid the backlash that followed the anti-war protests during Vietnam. Be that as it may, since our soldiers are fighting for the expressed purpose of preventing the enemy from achieving its victory conditions, it seems to me obvious that one cannot both advocate withdrawal and “support the troops,” at least in this superficial sense. “Supporting the troops” means nothing if it does not mean supporting their principal and motivating endeavor, which is to kill the enemy or otherwise deprive it of its capacity to fight. Advocates of early withdrawal do not “support the troops,” at least as long as most of the troops in question believe in their mission, which seems to be the case even today. Moreover, certain forms of dissent quite explicitly undermine the troops. For example, activists who seek to obstruct military recruitment raise the chances that any given soldier will have a longer tour in the Iraq theater. Preventing the replacement of a soldier is precisely the opposite of “supporting the troops”.

In any case, for a few people on the right the simple fact that anti-war dissent can help the enemy and undermine our soldiers is enough to destroy its legitimacy (it is actually very difficult to find examples of this point of view among influential serious people, but the left keeps claiming that the right says this, so let’s give the left the benefit of the doubt). They are wrong. The American system of government depends on open and public debate about policy. If some of that debate has the unintended consequence of giving hope to the enemy or demoralizing our soldiers, that is an acceptable price to pay. Our soldiers understand that the free society they defend exercises its freedom by arguing over the propriety and conduct of limited wars. They also understand that reasonable Americans can disagree about limited wars without being “unpatriotic,” even if their arguments inflict collateral damage on the war effort.

Read the whole thing

Hat Tip: InstaPundit

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