I Read Mark Steyn So You Don’t Have To

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Colonel Steyn: Whose side are you on, son?
Private Joker: Our side, sir.
Colonel Steyn: Don’t you love your country?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Colonel Steyn: Then how about getting with the program? Why don’t you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Colonel Steyn: Son, all I’ve ever asked of my marines is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese, because inside every gook haji there is an American trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We’ve gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

Sun-Times writer Mark Steyn delivers a shameful, dishonest and incomprehensible tirade which seeks to blame the alleged Marine atrocities at Haditha on…Cindy Sheehan? Well maybe not Cindy Sheehan, but certainly libruls in general.

What Mr. Steyn seemingly fails to realize is that we cannot achieve victory in Iraq (however one may define it) if atrocities such as the one alleged to have taken place at Haditha (and Abu Ghraib, and Hamdaniyah and Ishaqi) continue to occur. Perhaps Steyn fails to realize that the fundamental nature of any counter-insurgency conflict remains “winning the hearts and minds.” As unfashionable as that phrase has become, it is still true. Counter-insurgency warfare is not won by attrition.

He opens his bromide by quoting the parents of two fallen soldiers: Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, and Martin Terrazas, father of Miguel Terrazas, the Marine whose death by an IED set into motion the chain of events which allegedly led to U.S. Marines gunning down women, children and the elderly in cold blood.

Here’s what Cindy Sheehan had to say:
“We’ve been talking about Martin Luther King Jr. this night. My son was killed the same day he was killed, on April 4. I don’t believe in any coincidences. Casey was born on John F. Kennedy’s birthday. He was born on the day, and died on the day, of two people who were assassinated by the war machine in my country.”

One might accuse Sheehan of being overly dramatic, but other than that, what is there to say about her comments? Nothing substantive, but that doesn’t stop Steyn. He spins this into an example that those who oppose the war do so out of “paranoia and self-loathing.”

And here’s what Mr. Terrazas had to say:
“I don’t even listen to the news.”

Steyn interprets Mr. Terrazas’ words as meaning “I stand with George W. Bush. I support the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. I would send my son to die in the desert sands again if I could.”
Mr. Terrazas may very well be a supporter of the President and the war, but Steyn provides no evidence of this- he simply assumes it to be the case. But why stop there? Why not go ahead extrapolate from this what every American is thinking?
Steyn continues by saying “…I would hazard that Martin Terrazas is far more typical of the families of American forces in Iraq: A man who can’t bear to pick up an American newspaper, or listen to a radio news bulletin, or watch a political talk show, because every square peg of an event is being hammered into the round hole of the same narrative, the only narrative our culture knows: This is Vietnam, it’s a quagmire, we can’t win, and the longer we delay losing and scuttling and getting the hell outta there, the more wicked things we will do. And, lookie here, whaddaya know, here comes the Sunni version of the My Lai massacre.”

Yes, willful ignorance is always preferential to you know, actually being aware of the deeds which are being committed in our name.

Steyn attempts some serious rhetorical ju-jitsu and ends up flat on his fucking face:

“But assume every dark rumor you’ve heard is true, that this was the murder of civilians by American service personnel. In the run-up to March 2003, there were respectable cases to be made for and against the Iraq war. Nothing that happened at Haditha alters either argument…. Anyone who supports the launching of a war should be clear-sighted enough to know that, when the troops go in, a few of them will kill civilians, bomb schools, torture prisoners. It happens in every war in human history, even the good ones. Individual Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians did bad things in World War II and World War I. These aren’t stunning surprises, they’re inevitable: It might be a bombed mosque or a gunned-down pregnant woman or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something. And, in the scales of history, it makes no difference to the justice of the cause and the need for victory.”

In dismissing with a wave of his blood-stained pen the arguments against the invasion of Iraq, Steyn can conveniently ignore that one of the main arguments against the invasion was that these types of terrible things happen in wartime, and thus, we must be very careful as to involving ourselves in war. Steyn goes even further to suggest that we must not allow this injustice stop us in the struggle for justice. And please note that his examples, “a gunned-down pregnant woman” and “a slaughtered wedding party” aren’t just colorful turns of phrase. They are in fact reference to other incidents which actually occurred (in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively).

Also note that Steyn fails to mention last week’s comments by democratically-elected Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemning the Haditha incident: “This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces,” the prime minister said. “No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It’s unacceptable.” Maliki was also reported to have said that these types of abuses are an almost “daily occurrence.” I guess that Maliki chap just doesn’t want us to win, eh Mr. Steyn?

Oh, but it just gets worse.

Steyn dismisses the abuses at Abu Ghraib with this rhetorical flourish:

“For three years, coalition forces in Iraq behaved so well that a salivating Vietnam culture had to make do with the thinnest of pickings: one depraved jailhouse, a prisoner on a dog leash with a pair of Victoria’s Secret panties on his head and an unusually positioned banana.”

The “thinnest of pickings?”

“One depraved jailhouse?” I’m sorry, which “one” jailhouse are you referring to Mr. Steyn? Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo or perhaps one the secret U.S. gulags in eastern Europe?

It wasn’t all a big panty raid party at Abu Ghraib Mr. Steyn, you dishonest, disingenuous piece of shit. I guess if put to the task, Steyn would have to describe this photo as displaying “unusually placed bags of ice.”

Oh, but Steyn is not done yet:

“In 2004, in the wake of Abu Ghraib, I wrote that “there is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites — from the deranged former vice president down — want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it’s pain-free, squeaky-clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we’re supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.”

No, Mr. Steyn, what is truly ridiculous is a right-wing, war-mongering Bush supporter accusing “elites” (read: “libruls”) of a lack of proper patriotism and moral will simply because we speak out when members of our military kill innocent civilians in cold blood- innocent civilians whom we are trying to “liberate.” Liberals do not wish for U.S. defeat in Iraq, far from it. Rather, we recognize that with every incident such as those at Haditha and Abu Ghraib, the possibility for victory recedes into the distance, looming ever-farther out of reach, while the killing continues to grind Americans and Iraqis alike into a bloody and indistinguishable pulp.

Far from being “silly,” you continue to dishonor Cindy Sheehan’s loss simply because you disagree with her politics, yet you revere Mr. Terrazas simply because you assume he agrees with your political know-nothingism. Why does the parent of one dead soldier deserve praise and another deserves scorn? Shouldn’t you be honoring all the war dead- and their parents? If you really had the courage of your convictions, you would also be bashing the late Pat Tillman, whose friends have made clear since his death that he thought the war in Iraq was a dangerous and unnecessary distraction from the real war on terror. But no, you don’t have the balls to attack the memory of a fallen former NFL/Army Ranger, do you? Just distraught mothers like Cindy Sheehan. Are you really accusing Cindy Sheehan and people like her as being “…willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it’s pain-free, squeaky-clean and over in a week?” She lost her son in this war. All you have done is pen rah-rah columns cheering the carnage and begging for more.

Mr. Steyn, you are a fucking coward.

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