As you know, I wrote a post, that morphed into an article, both of which were about the Leftist concept of morality. I think this moral universe yields results based on analyzing (a) an actor’s personal feelings vis a vis a given situation and (b) the relative economic position of the parties to the interaction. I’m still fussing about this whole idea, because I can’t help but think that I’ve found the answer to just about everything that irritates me with political and social stands on the Lefter side of the spectrum.
For example, I heard today just a teeny bit of an NPR story about Puerto Ricans’ contribution to the war, something for which I honor that community greatly. I freely admit that I caught about one minute, in which I learned that one Puerto Rican village had seen three casualties in the war. I arrived at my destination then and turned the radio off, but it did get me thinking. (So, please, don’t attack me for misrepresenting the NPR report, because I’m ultimately not going to say anything about its content.)
What I was thinking about was the anti-War Left’s obsession with war deaths. It goes beyond the media’s craving for human interest stories. That is, these stories are not meant to make us appreciate the fact that there are those among us who, for whatever reasons, are willing to put themselves at risk in the front lines of our nation’s war. Instead, as I hear these stories, coupled with articles about American dead and the media’s morbid delight in higher numbers, I’m reasonably sure that these stories are meant to make as feel bad about the war, from which we should conclude that this a bad war. Now, this may indeed be a bad war, but I’m very sure that our feelings should not be the determining factor.
Of course, this feelings based attitude requires some pretty peculiar contortions when it comes into conflict with the hierarchical approach to morality. Thus, on the Left, we’re allowed to feel sorry for individual soldiers who die because the Left instructs us that our troops are ill-educated, poverty-stricken yahoos who are victims of the gigantic United States War machine. This website, for example, perfectly exemplifies this viewpoint (scroll down to the caste bit to see with what disdain the author views our troops.) This is a position that functions despite statistical evidence demonstrating that our troops are in fact more often than not middle class and educated. (By the way, I haven’t seen anything refuting this study.)
The problem with claiming that we have pathetic soldiers is that you then have to deal with the pathetic soldiers on the other side of the battlefield. You also have to deal with inconvenient things such as the fact that the 9/11 murderers were for the most part well-educated, middle-class young men (as were the 7/7 bombers in London). Obviously, at stressful moments such as this, you fall back on accusations about the United States’ overweening imperial goals and the fact that American victims are “Little Eichmans” who are witting or unwitting parts of this same American war machine.
This hierarchical viewpoint, of course, is a useless one when determining whether the Iraq War is an appropriate war or a one that we can win. There is no room in this “pathetic versus pathetic” or “imperialist versus oppressed” worldview for an analysis about long-term goals on either side (Democracy versus Caliphate), or for flexible military tactics and strategy.
For the Left, having neatly assigned everyone a place in their “moral” universe, the end is a foregone conclusion: the evil US Army deserves to lose, especially because it’s taking advantage of pathetically ignorant Americans who have been trained to kill even more pathetically ignorant jihadists. (And let’s just ignore the middle-class jihadists, shall we?) And to make that foregone conclusion a reality, of course, let’s just Tet the whole thing: we’re going to lose because we say we’re going to lose, and saying we’re going to lose is going to help us lose. And when (God forbid) we finally do lose, then those on the Left can bring their morality play to a conclusion by celebrating their role in ensuring the defeat of an imperialist tyrant.
UPDATE: After writing the above, I opened My Way News to find headlined a story touting the 101st death in Iraq in October, using the ubiquitous “grim milestone” phrase. Who the heck decides which of these are “mere” deaths, which are “sad milestones,” which are “grim milestones,” etc.”? It’s silly and obscene, all at the same time.