I posted this letter to both the Broward Libertarian mailing list and the Rizznite list earlier last week. I didn’t preface it when I sent it to the RIC list, which apparently I should have. I was subsequently told by a couple readers that my reasons here were particularly flimsy defenses of the President. The reason they may seem flimsy, if you think my point was to defend the President, is that I wasn’t. My point in the letter was to speak to the independents and the LPers on the lists and point out that it is both not in our best interests nor is it constructive to simply deconstruct the Republican and Presidential agenda.
I ask that you, my faithful Rizzn-ites, re-read the following letter in that context and help me out with it. I know that many of us Libertarians hate the President’s conduct, and many of us support the President’s politics. That’s the mixed bag you get with Libertarians. There should be focus on solutions rather than accusations, is my position. With that in mind, re-read my letter and tell me what you think.
(original slate article found here: http://www.slate.com/id/2133908/)
Dear fellow Broward LPers,
I don’t know whether to attribute this piece of garbage reporting and editorialisation to poor MSM journalistic standards or plain ol’ fashioned bias. I’ve stopped disputing the garbage I see come from the LewRockwell site, since I think it goes without saying that it’s pretty much a HateBushFirst rag (for explanations: http://www.rizzn.com/2005/11/hate-bush-first-rant.asp and http://www.rizzn.com/2005/11/hate-bush-first-responses.asp).
But since this is the Slate, and it’s yet another article recommendation from Frank J. Gonzalez, the Democrat that thinks he has a bunch of friends in the Libertarian Party because no one says anything to contradict his mindless drivel, I’m going to speak up again. I’m just a little fed up his assumption that just because I’m in an alternative party, and don’t support President Bush that I want to buy every piece of idiotic rhetoric the liberals and the Democrats want to feed me.
And just so it’s clear where I stand on Libertarian issues and the LP, I’ve taken a position starting in a couple months where I’m campaign treasurer for an LPer running for State Legislature in Texas. I believe in the majority of the precepts of the LP, enough to heavily support one of its candidates in what promises to be a heavily involved election process. But I also strongly believe that it doesn’t behoove any of us to pursue the Hate Bush First mentality and the fallacies of logic and research demonstrated in this and many other propaganda pieces put forward by Mr. Gonzalez.
Fallacies Put Forth by Mr. Kaplan
1) The evidence that the war in Iraq is wrecking the Army is steeply mounting.
You cannot say that the war in Iraq is the root cause of the problem, or at least not definitively. We’re talking about what amounts to social issue here, and sociology isn’t as much of a science as an art. You can’t point to one thing and say, hey, yep, that’s the only reason why millions of Americans don’t sign up to the military.
What could be some reasons? Other than the most obvious one: over the last 20 years, we’ve turned ourselves into a culture of wussies that will sue over a papercut (for emotional trauma, of course). So given that signing up for an Army or any other branch of service has an inherent risk of death in a non-combat situation, when there’s an actual hot-conflict situation going on, do you think Johnny Emo-boy or Jenny Gothy-pants is going to want to sign up for the military? No!
That’s the thing, most people don’t want to join the military in the first place! That’s why recruiters have been using dirty tricks since my Dad was a kid to get people to join. People just don’t want to die. Personally, I think that’s a healthy position for most people to take. And maybe, if the MSM would cover more of the positive outcomes of the war, everyone in this country wouldn’t be so staunchly against it. I mean Lord knows I have a million issue with the way this whole thing has been conducted, and it’s especially easy for us civilians to armchair quarterback this war, but there has to be at least a couple stories of positive outcomes that the conflict has produced. Seriously! I’m not a huge fan of Fox News, but they’re the only outfit I’ve seen that has reported such stories.
With bad PR like that, who can blame the general public for not wanting to sign up to die for a hopeless cause?
2) Category IV recruits are starting to skyrocket.
This is just simple math. 4% is not ‘skyrocketing’ when compared to 2%. The additional statistical information provided (even in the mathematical explanation) is ambiguous at best, and clearly phrased with an agenda in mind.
4) Every Army officer knows that the military is going to hell in a handbasket and every Army officer wants the US out of the war in Iraq.
In the resolution to the piece, he uses the facts that he does cite to prove a conclusion unrelated to the facts at hand. The facts do not prove that the military is going to hell in a handbasket. More importantly, it nowhere cites the opinions of any military officers.
How come everyone involved here has no solutions?
This is the problem with the anti-war crowd today (as well as the anti-Bush crowd). Everyone has a million reasons to hate war and the President, but nobody has any solutions! I’m calling them all out. It’s easy to sit here and say, yes, the President lied, we’re in a war we don’t need to be in, and war sucks because people die. It’s quite another to have viable alternatives to dealing with world unrest and instability.
What would fix this problem? Well, I have an unorthodox solution that would probably be right up Mr. Kaplan’s alley, if he had put any thought at all into this piece.
If you read about Mr. Kaplan’s past, he’s a graduate of MIT (poli-sci major). Someone who attended MIT had to have been exposed to the best and brightest technological solutions of the day, and has to have some sort of working knowledge of at least what’s out there in the technological field; anything less, and I’d be severely disa
ppointed in the declin
ing standards of MIT admissions. Given that, doesn’t it sound like we need more automation in our battlefield strategies? Put more robots or automated vehicles out there with operators who don’t have to go behind enemy lines? Instead of taking the easy way out and punching up on the administration and the recruiting problems, be suggesting some innovative ways to utilize technology to lower the casualty rates, thereby lowering the human cost of conducting war, thereby increasing the ability of the recruiters to recruit without using their age-old patented sleazy techniques.
I’m just sayin’, that’s one solution that could have been put forth, and it took me ten seconds to come up with it. This article, like 90% of the articles that Mr. Gonzalez forwards us, are articles that are agenda-based, have no clear solutions for us to prosecute or discuss, and are ultimately useless and self-destructive. Granted, that’s the culture we find ourselves in, but shouldn’t we as Libertarians be setting ourselves aside from the political culture of sheep-mentality and rhetoric?
You tell me.
Quote of the Entry:
“The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity.”
– Helen Rowland