Carol Platt Liebau: A Rule of Thumb for Liberals

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Rule of Thumb for Liberals

Over at Real Clear Politics, Jed Babbin tells you everything you need to know about the subtext of the insanely hysterical coverage of Haditha. Most importantly, balanced and responsible voices must explain that the silence from the Marines, Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the Administration isn't an admission of guilt, it's a requirement in keeping with the demands of military justice.

Liberals don't seem to get it -- or they don't want to. Far easier to exploit the story for whatever political or partisan advantage can be wrung from it, even at the cost of success in Iraq and in the larger war on terror.

Although there's no chance they'll heed them, here are some guidelines that the left would be well advised to follow:

(1) Stop attacking or condemning our soldiers until you have the facts.

(2) Make some effort to put the accusations into perspective. If 24 civilians were unjustifiably killed, it's a terrible, terrible crime and those responsible deserve to be fully prosecuted. But it's also worth noting that our soldiers liberated 25 million Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. That means that American soldiers freed more than a million people for every one that was wrongly killed (if that, indeed, is what happened).

Or, to put it another way, according to this site, 2119 Americans have died as a result of hostile fire. So for each of the 24 Iraqis who may have been wrongly killed, more than 88 Americans have died in the cause of helping Iraq become a free and secure country -- and even more if you count the deaths that weren't attributable to hostile fire, but were nonetheless given in the Iraqi cause.

(3) Treat America's soldiers as respectfully as you do its enemies. Many leftists are appalled at the lack of constitutional safeguards being bestowed upon the enemy combatants sequestered at Guantanamo Bay. Don't our own Marines deserve the same kind of regard for their rights (including a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved) that the left seems to believe is the entitlement of America's enemies?

Just a rule of thumb: Give America's fighting men and women at least the same modicum of respect that you accord to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Be as reluctant to use harsh words, offer sweeping condemnations, or prejudge their motives, intent and actions as you are Kim Jung Il's. Be as willing to offer them the benefit of the doubt as you've been to offer it to Saddam Hussein on the matter of WMD's.

Update: I've cross posted this at The Huffington Post. Check in on some of the comments to it later -- no doubt we'll see entertainingly florid (and profane) denunciations.

27 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

Excellent post!

I don't expect the left to follow any of this advice. But #3 is the "rule of thumb" you've cited that most exposes the left for what it is - simply and completely Anti-American.

They want us to lose. They want the current system of government in the U.S. to be destroyed and, presumably, replaced with a socialist system.

Their absolute refusal to treat the United States with the same respect as they grant the enemies of the U.S. is glaring proof.

The sad fact is that, in their efforts to ally themselves with the enemy - any enemy - of the United States, they seem to have latched onto a group this time that, if victorious, would put them to death in short order.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Paul S. Kemp said...

I"m puzzled by your post.

Let's play with the logic of your position in No. 2.

In what way does mentioning that lots of people have been well served/protected/saved by the military have relevance to the interpretation of the particular acts allegedly performed by these particular soldiers? The question here is not one of collective virtue, but individual accountability. Do you also believe that any and all police misconduct (including shoving a toilet plunger into a prisoner's anus until he dies) in any given jurisdiction should be put "in perspective" since it is an undeniable truth that the police in any given jurisdiction have done more good collectively than any one or group of them as done individually?

You see the problem here, Carol? I'll restate: You want to use collective virtue to offset individual alleged crimes.

As for the rest of your post, it is so ill-conceived that it's hardly worth commenting upon.

No soldier's constitutional rights have been violated, and holding an opinion (based on available information) and even stating that opinion (whether privately or otherwise) offends no one's rights. Detaining someone without a trial and without a lawyer is, of course, another matter.

Point one in your post is self-evident nonsense and requires no rebuttal.

11:51 AM  
Blogger AF said...

"A Rule of Thumb for all Americans"

1. Stop attacking or condemning not only our soldiers, but anybody or any country before having the facts. We wouldn't be in this mess in Iraq if the administration had followed this advice. The UN weapons inspectors and Security Council members, and many of our traditional allies followed this standard rule of thumb, while the Bush administration did not. We are now stuck in a quagmire after losing thousands of soldiers lives, countless wounded. Not to mention the loss of trust and reputation of our country on the world stage.

2. Make an effort to put the accusations in perspective. I remember a very moving end to the Republican National Convention where a lady from Eastern Europe (Hungary, perhaps?) remarked how during WWII they learned to be afraid of men in uniform, until they met American soldiers - and knew that they were safe with American soldiers. If innocent Iraqis were killed it is a stain upon the honor of this country. Intentional taking of innocent life cannot be justified.

3. I agree America's soldiers should be treated respectfully. I pray for them daily. I hope this story is not true, but we have all seen the pictures of Abu Ghraib. America's actions in the long run matter far more than our words.

We said there were WMDs. The UN did not buy it. We went there. There were no WMDs.

We said we went to free them from Hussein and torture. Yet we acts like Abu Ghraib, and perhaps now Haditha.

We say we want to bring Western standards of democracy and justice to the Muslim world to make us safer - yet we are keeping them indefinitely detained at Guantamo (knowing that not all are guilty - Many released are found not to be so.) We don't allow Red Cross. We have been cited for human rights violations and still thumb our nose at the world and the VERY VALUES we used to represent.

I am not a leftist. I am a conservative, and I am saddened and still in a state of shock that we could so cavalierly throw away our reputation, the trust others have placed in us, to treat other human beings the way we are, to invade on false pretense and REFUSE to say we are sorry.

Committing sins against our fellow man, arrogantly refusing to acknowledge them, repent, or ask for forgiveness. Worse yet, your reasoning in point #2 is absolutely bone-chilling. How utterly bereft we have become of values we used to hold so dear, and what the world looked to us to uphold.

12:01 PM  
Blogger AF said...

"A Rule of Thumb for all Americans"

1. Stop attacking or condemning not only our soldiers, but anybody or any country before having the facts. We wouldn't be in this mess in Iraq if the administration had followed this advice. The UN weapons inspectors and Security Council members, and many of our traditional allies followed this standard rule of thumb, while the Bush administration did not. We are now stuck in a quagmire after losing thousands of soldiers lives, countless wounded. Not to mention the loss of trust and reputation of our country on the world stage.

2. Make an effort to put the accusations in perspective. I remember a very moving end to the Republican National Convention where a lady from Eastern Europe (Hungary, perhaps?) remarked how during WWII they learned to be afraid of men in uniform, until they met American soldiers - and knew that they were safe with American soldiers. If innocent Iraqis were killed it is a stain upon the honor of this country. Intentional taking of innocent life cannot be justified.

3. I agree America's soldiers should be treated respectfully. I pray for them daily. I hope this story is not true, but we have all seen the pictures of Abu Ghraib. America's actions in the long run matter far more than our words.

We said there were WMDs. The UN did not buy it. We went there. There were no WMDs.

We said we went to free them from Hussein and torture. Yet we acts like Abu Ghraib, and perhaps now Haditha.

We say we want to bring Western standards of democracy and justice to the Muslim world to make us safer - yet we are keeping them indefinitely detained at Guantamo (knowing that not all are guilty - Many released are found not to be so.) We don't allow Red Cross. We have been cited for human rights violations and still thumb our nose at the world and the VERY VALUES we used to represent.

I am not a leftist. I am a conservative, and I am saddened and still in a state of shock that we could so cavalierly throw away our reputation, the trust others have placed in us, to treat other human beings the way we are, to invade on false pretense and REFUSE to say we are sorry.

Committing sins against our fellow man, arrogantly refusing to acknowledge them, repent, or ask for forgiveness. Worse yet, your reasoning in point #2 is absolutely bone-chilling. How utterly bereft we have become of values we used to hold so dear, and what the world looked to us to uphold.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Paul,

You've completely misstated Carol's point. She in no way attempted to use collective virtue to "offset" individual alleged crimes. Rather, she recommends full prosecution.

In fact, the left has consistently committed the opposite offense. They continually use individual (and VERY limited) instances to besmirch the overall war effort - a very dishonest tactic indeed.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Paul S. Kemp said...

Greg,

I don't think so.

Here is the sum total of Carol's point two:

1. Policeman A commits a vile crime.

2. In evaluating Policeman A's crime, consider the activities of ALL policemen.

I'll ask again, and perhaps you can answer, Greg -- What relevance are the activities of all Policemen in evaluating the behavior of Policeman A?

Saying, "It is a terrible crime and should be punished but see it in the context of the behavior of an entire class of persons, many of whom did not commit the crime and, in fact, have behaved well" is moral nonsense.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

Paul said:

"I don't think..."

and with I agree with you.

Paul you are trying to turn
"perspective" into "excuse" and that is what Greg was drawing stick people for you about.

Not sure how much simpler it can be made for you.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

And Editor...

Concerning your 'leftist" take on pre-war intelligence... prevailing wisdom was hardly dominated by people disputing WMDs.
But leave it to someone like you to assume that Blix's escorted sojourns or Kofi's uncompromised opinions should have been the end all. That's pretty funny. Did you happen to be getting a kick-back yourself in the Oil for Food program?

Concerning your #2. This IS all about perspective. You and Paul took it out of perspecitive. There are Thousands of other stories out of Iraq concerning the respect our military HAS gained there. Those stories are a little harder to find as the real "quagmire" happens when those stories try to make it to and thru the MSM.

So yes LETS talk perspective, you and your leftist media wish to splash "massacre" across the world as it concerns this event even
prior to all the facts. Funny how "leftists" and people like you scream from the mountain tops as you try to paint this as the norm and not the aberration it is (just LIKE ABU GHRAIB) ...yet, like you, these same people ironically complain about the message it sends and how it will be interpretted. Some are just too blind or stupid to realize the hypocrisy in that.

And as you brought it up...how many people died in the Abu Ghraib "scandal" again? I guess there was some danger of the human pyramid collapsing and someone skinning a knee and that was probably real close to the video of Saddam's sons having prisoners pushed off the tops of buildings for their own amusement. Yeah, lets talk perspective! YFI

Oh and we invited the Red Cross to Cuba. Guess you missed that... and Most of what they had to say was positive. We mainly read the negative...again. Not to mention the U.N.s recent, little opinion on it, gained while never even going there.

Now I do have to admit I am far less concerned about the "world stage" than YOU seam to be and much more concerned with the AMERICAN one...but thats just me and to you I suggest you "exit stage LEFT"...because with conservatives like you ...who needs leftists!!!

3:21 PM  
Blogger jeffepops said...

Great comedy. With all of the information we have about the debacle in Iraq (despite the Bush administation's attempts to hide the truth), we still believe that we have "liberated" 25 million Iraqis by our preciptious and ill-conceived invasion? I'm happy that Saddam is gone, but I'm sure that the current effort has not improved the lot of the vast majority of Iraqis.

We all know that Saddam's most heinous crimes were commited back in the 1980's when he was our putative ally and benficiary. Our stated justification for attacking Iraq was based on the the 3 Big Lies -- WMD, Nuclear Weapons, and the Al Qaeda Connection.

Don't hide behind the smokescreen of so-called "respect" for our troops.
If you really want to treat our American troops respectfully, support their swift return home, and give them the care and support that they deserve once they are back.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Dr. Miller said...

I get your point Carol, but Libs don't.

Car bombs kill innocent people by the hundreds every month. Libs blame America.

Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Libs blame America.

Iran is building nukes. Libs blame America.

In my book, when a US soldier dies in Iraq, I blame Libs. They encourage the enemy by their sedition and treason.

This war is going to take a long time. The President and Congress told us that from the start. War is hell, and I thank all the families who give us one of their own to fight this brutal enemy.

Tragic things happen during war, but we should support our troops because they need our help to get the job done. Don't look for Libs to help out. They just don't get it.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Paul S. Kemp said...

I'll ask yet again. Whatfur or Greg, please offer an answer to the question, rather than turning your post into another diatribe about how the left hates America.

What is the purpose of framing the behavior of individual soldiers in Haditha against the behavior of all of the military in Iraq? You seem to think that "perspective" is valuable in this context. Please explain how.

In my view, the acts in Haditha and the good done by the military overall in Iraq are distinct issues, and the latter has no relevance in evaluating/interpreting the former. Obviously you both think it does. Please explain how and why you think so, without diverting into ad hominems and other nonsense.

5:34 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Dear Mr./Ms Whatfur:

You said "But leave it to someone like you to assume that Blix's escorted sojourns or Kofi's uncompromised opinions should have been the end all. That's pretty funny."

I'd like to remind you that Blix and Annan were RIGHT. The intel Bush was peddling was WRONG.

Somehow, though, we're still supposed to sneer at the perfidy of the people who got it right while worshipping those who did not.

Please explain.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

Why is perspective important here?

Maybe you can tell me why it might matter that thousands of stories have gone untold and unreported not to mention told and STILL unreported) that speak of the skill, heroics, and abilities as well as the restraint, charity, heart, and humanitarianism of our troops have gone untold and unreported (not to mention told and STILL unreported).

Then...maybe you can tell me why the possibly, questionable acts of few in one story should be blown up in the proportion it has... primarily based on hearsay at this point.

Or possibly more succinctly...as it seems the obvious has a way of eluding you...Maybe you can tell me what this story's affect would be if those other thousands of stories had been reported with the same fervor.

The above may excuse your bigotry against our troops in this area but it does not excuse your ignorance...feigned or otherwise.

Nobody on the right is ready to excuse abhorrent behavior. Most on the right are not ready to prosecute this in the press before all of the facts are available. All on the right recognize this as 1 story out of thousands.

In reality the most important perspective is the one held by the soldiers involved...that is what we need to understand and that is what needs to be vetted...and fortunately it will be vetted by those who have the ability to understand such things ...unfortunately those people cannot control the injustice that is going on right now in the press...perpetuated by people who seem unable to understand much.

Jeffepoop,

Thought I would make your day!!! I am pretty sure that Nuclear weapons qualify as WMD's...so now you have to only worry about 2 big lies. However, if you would like to REALLY inform yourself instead of relying on tired, lefty talking points, here's an article to get you started:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/05/iran_iraq_acting_on_assumption.html

Wrabkin,

The above may help you too. Explain what? What don't you understand? Unlike the WMDs where questions remain...there is NO question that U.N. Inspectors were thwarted, manipulated, and fooled and there is NO question that even if not Kofi (riiiight?) many under his employ (and related to him) were benefitting largely and obscenely by the Oil for food program and thus had a vested interest in keeping the status quo in Iraq and their partner in fraud, Saddam in power. Anything else?

8:59 AM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/
articles/2006/05/
iran_iraq_acting_on_assumption.html

sorry this was truncated...

9:06 AM  
Blogger Dr Faust said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

And another:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008415

12:50 PM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

and good Dr. Faust

although I see no sugar coating I can only take your "intellational"
statements to mean that you are fine with the rampant speculation of the negative but are disgusted with the any positive "perspective" and/or restraint in pre-judgement.

That sort of bigoted stupidity disgust ME!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Mr. Kemp,

I think we're in agreement, actually. You don't want one aspect to cancel out the other.

I agree.

You don't want the overall virtue of the U.S. military to be used as a cover for any crimes committed by some of that same military.

I agree.

Conversly, I don't want the (alleged) crimes of the few to be used to discredit the entire U.S. military, or the entire war on terror, or the war in Iraq.

Would you agree with that?

2:10 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Whatfur:

I still don't understand. You can pull up all the attacks you want on Kofi Annan and Hans Blix -- and the government of France, if you like, too. It's quite possibly they are all, to a man, horrible human beings.

But whether or not they were on the take from Saddam, as you seem to allege, THEY WERE RIGHT AND BUSH WAS WRONG.

Do you understand this? It's not about Bush's fabulous moral superiority as a human being, which you seem to want to claim.

They were right. He was wrong.

Period.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

Oh I'm sorry wrabkin...I misunderstood. I thought you were trying to argue something more substantial.

Although I don't believe Blix or Kofi ever resolutely claimed anything about existance of WMDs before the invasion. If that is what you are trying to say...matter of fact I remember Blix saying in 2003 that he wouldn't be surprised if some were found. ...and Kofi was arguing for more inspections just months before we entered.

So not only irrelevant to things going on today but you are a bit of a revisionist. Nice try though.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Dr Faust said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Paul S. Kemp said...

Greg,

Yes, we can agree on that because the two issues are distince, a point that seems to elude Whatfur.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Paul S. Kemp said...

Whatfur,

It is impossible to "blow out of proportion" the issue of U.S. Marines allegedly murdering civilians.

That you wish there were more coverage of the good things happening in Iraq is irrelevant. You're conflating two issues.

Hopefully, Yyou will mature at some point and come to understand that reasonable people can disagree about politics without resorting to ad hominems.

5:50 AM  
Blogger jeffepops said...

Dear Whatfur,

How clever of you to turn my username into a pre-schooler's name for excrement. It merely demonstrates your low intellectual level of operation.

If you actually read real journalism, you will learn that the Bush administration always pushed the allegation (or, to put it more bluntly, lie) of Iraqi nuclear weapons as a discrete issue -- separate from chemical and biological WMD's. I suggest you go over Bush's and Colin Powell's speeches on the eve of our invasion, rather than take my word for it. Either way, it still does not make the Bush lies any less criminal.

As to your link to another blog as a valid source for the "truth", I can only pity you if this is the best research you are capable of. I would suggest you pour over James Risen's "State of War", or any number of in-depth books and well researched articles that are well documented with attributed quotes, footnotes, cross-references, etc.

Congress and President Bush have admitted that all of the pre-war justifications for invading Iraq were wrong ... the facts are in, and 70% of our nation understands this.

Why don't you?

1:17 AM  
Blogger Whatfur said...

First Jeffe,

Sorry about the slant on your name but you,
like myself, are susceptable to that kind of
ribbing for the fact that we have chosen to
concoct monikers instead of using our names.
Now you can either put up with pot shots taken
at it, you can complain about it like a little
girl, or you can smile widely like I do proudly
showing my tooth.

Very similar to many lefties, when you have
nothing intelligent to say to try to change
the subject. I hate to remind you that it was
YOU who, instead of talking about the issue at
hand, tried to revert back to lefty talking points.
Read the front page of the NYT today if you want to
read more about the pleasantries of Saddam led
Iraq and then actually READ the two articles
(not blogs) that I provided links to...you know
one by the Assistant Sec. of Defense and one
by Michael Barone (one of the most respected
political journalist in America). Also I have to
say it pretty funny that you would question my
research when you yourself just keep throwing out
the usual misrepresentations of the truth.

Maybe you might want to choose a subject you
actually know something about before you go
shooting off your mouth.

And Paul,

UFI. One CERTAINLY can blow out of proportion
this situation. When not all the facts are known
and idiots are making gradiose statements about
(what they think or what they wish (in your case))
happened, it CAN be concidered blown out of
proportion.

Don't you find it funny that the last and similar
case of marine "massacre" that was just proven to
be within the bounds of acceptable warfare ends up
on the back pages where Haditha dominates the front
pages.

Bottom line is, liberals in this country if they
are not advocating cut and run are hoping for
defeat. You make me sick.

And Dr. Faust

Where are you from? I did read your post
listing all those foreign nobodys (that you seemingly
have removed) listing their
opinions on the episode. Again...until the facts
are out I really do not care what someone from
France or Denmark think about our actions.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Derick Jones said...

How is criticizing the government anti-american? Why is it wrong to question something you feel is wrong. You conservatives scare me with your narrow minded thinking. Whenever anyone questions any republican decision, all you blabber about it how "liberals are anti-american!" To give you some background my family is southern baptist. My great grandfather fought in WWII, my grandfather whom just recently passed away and 2 great uncles fought in vietnam, dad and uncle fought in the gulf war, 2 brothers, and 1 brother-in-law are currently deployed in Iraq, so I dont exactly come from a liberal background. I have seen the affect of military deployment on families as well as deaths at war. If you have never gone through it, you have NO RIGHT to support the war. I come from a working class family, or "uneducated" to you college-conservative "elitists" No I am not a redneck, I dont live in a trailer, and I dont have a 500 pound wife on welfare. My family works hard to keep our business running. We stand for traditional american values like the right to own arms, we're tough on immigration and welfare, and we are practitioners of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Although I dont agree with most other religions I believe they should be allowed to practice their beliefs in this country.

So before you label me off as one of the liberals think twice.

10:05 PM  

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