This is a letter I wrote in response to 'Hippies still trying to ruin the country' by Jenean Mcbrearty, contributing columnist for Kentucky's Lexington Herald.
I have to take strong issue with your article in the Lexington Herald, "Hippies Still Trying To Run the Country." You engage in a number of gross oversimplifications in your arguments. You also make a number of unsupported assumptions, a few of which are frankly quite terrifying.
You claim progressives believe "that America's armed forces are neo-Nazi storm troopers who delight in burning babies to further the aims of imperialistic corporations." You provide no attribution for this. It's a too-simple and too-broad smear. I am a progressive who served six years in the Navy. I know that the vast majority of those who serve are hard-working upright individuals who by the very nature of their job are prepared to place their lives on the line to defend this country and it's citizens. It's insulting to hear you lump me in with such a heinous generalization. I *do* take issue with huge corporations doing whatever they want, including meddling in foreign affairs and carelessly causing death and destruction in furtherance of greater profits. But you casually don't seem to want to think about that.
You claim we believe in 'Marxism.' Again, no attribution, just a smear, and an inferential one at at that. 'Hippies' don't believe in 'communism.' Unlike you, progressives are able to learn from mistakes, both theirs and of others. Of course communism didn't work, but that doesn't mean every concept contained in Marxism should be abandoned as toxic. There are some solutions that make more sense at a national governmental level. We should be judicious in figuring out which ones those are. But we should not discard out of hand every government program that helps people because 'smells of socialism.' Again, an oversimplification, an argument designed to cater to those who just don't think.
If you think the military-industrial complex is blameless and lily white, then see the DVD "Why We Fight" and tell me that you prefer these guys to 'hippies.'
You say there is 'no way out of our modern warfare dilemma' but there is. STOP WAGING WAR. Stop interfering in the governments of other countries, stop aiding and abetting our huge corporations who unfairly exploit the resources of other countries without compensating their citizens. Stop bullying, intimidating and yes attacking other countries just because they 'threaten our interests.' We must respond when attacked, yes, and only a fool talks about peace without preparing for war, but our actions since the end of WWII have been proactive, interfering, unfair, abusive and exploitative. Certainly since 9/11 the trust, respect and high regard this country had after winning WWII in 1945 have been utterly and totally squandered by the actions of our government.
You can do what you want, make enemies willy nilly and then spend trillions arming yourself and fighting them -- or you can work harder NOT TO MAKE ENEMIES. It's not always possible but in the long run it's the more sensible course. Before WWII it's what we did - for the most part - and it worked pretty well.
So many of your rhetorical questions are unfair comparisons....
- "Must we surrender our country to our enemies because our weapons are too terrible to use?" Well of course not. Who is saying that? It would be better if we had less enemies, thus less need for such weapons, but you somehow think such an approach/outcome is naive so you don't even advocate trying..
- "Whose life is more important: the 12-year-old Iraqi firing an Uzi or a soldier from Kentucky?" Aside from the moral uncertainty of valuing one life over another, the short answer is "it depends on who you ask." If the Kentuckian is waterboarding prisoners in Abu Ghraib or some other undisclosed location in eastern Europe and the 12-year-old is fighting to get foreign occupiers out of his country, is the answer to your question still as simple?
- "Which is more sacred: a mosque hiding a weapons cache or a plane of tourists?" Again, an utterly unfair and inflammatory comparison.
- "Do we want a military strong enough to protect our homeland? Are we willing to pay the price of survival?" Depends on the price, doesn't it? If we spend trillions on a bloated, corruption-ridden system at the expense of health care, food security, homeland security and the like then hundreds of thousands of our own citizens are potentially at risk. Is *that* acceptable? It's unacceptable for the enemy to attack us and kill a few thousand, but is it OK for us to lose ten times as many citizens through our own inaction, foolishness, short-sightedness or greed?
- "It's crucial that we come to terms with war questions because we will have war with Iran and North Korea. It will come down to their children or ours, their soldiers or ours, their countries or ours." Jesus H. Christ. Are you SURE about that? Are you saying that war with these countries is *inevitable?* Are you also saying the only way we could consider such a war 'won' is if those countries are UTTERLY DESTROYED? How can you sleep with yourself at night? Even our most dangerous foes, historically speaking, have gone on to become our friends, including Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Japan, even Vietnam! The choice you pose is a false one, and again needlessly inflammatory.
You claim that 'lefty loonies' (reasoned argument, that) are 'dangerous.' Yet these are not the people starting wars, bombing people, polluting the environment or unfairly and ruthlessly exploiting the resources of other countries. To use your analogy, this is like the heavily armed soldier pointing his cannon at a peacefully protesting 'hippie' and saying "HE'S THE DANGEROUS ONE! SHOOT HIM."