Saturday, August 20, 2005

Children's crusade 

The efforts to infantilize our military continue, as Mark Steyn observes in his latest:
And, if you're as heavily invested as Ms Dowd in the notion that those 'killed in Iraq' are 'children', then Mrs Sheehan's status as grieving matriarch is a bonanza. I agree with Mrs Ryan: they're not children in Iraq; they're thinking adults who 'made a decision to join the Armed Forces and defend our country'. Whenever I'm on a radio show these days, someone calls in and demands to know whether my children are in Iraq. Well, not right now. They range in age from five to nine, and though that's plenty old enough to sign up for the jihad and toddle into an Israeli pizza parlour wearing a suicide-bomb, in most advanced societies' armed forces they prefer to use grown-ups.

That seems to be difficult for the Left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterise them as 'children'. If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the Oval Office shagpile and chow down on Bill Clinton, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee 'child' who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing.

I get many emails from soldiers in Iraq, and they sound a lot more grown-up than most Ivy League professors and certainly than Maureen Dowd, who writes as if she's auditioning for a minor supporting role in Sex and the City. The infantilisation of the military promoted by the Left is deeply insulting to America's warriors but it suits the anti-war crowd's purposes. It enables them to drone ceaselessly that 'of course' they 'support our troops', because they want to stop these poor confused moppets from being exploited by the Bush war machine.
Hence, the headline like this one from "The New Zealand Herald": "Grieving mother stands up for US soldiers in Iraq" - as if US soldiers in Iraq, or anywhere else, were some oppressed and marginalized minority that needs grieving mothers to stand up for them and give them their voice.

But, as Tim Blair notes, the Crawford Circus is no longer about any specific children - this from the WaPo:
They key for the antiwar movement is to use Sheehan as a symbol but not to make the movement about her. Last night was an effort to broaden beyond Sheehan to other parents. That's why MoveOn told people to bring pictures of children even if they aren't in the military, and organizers handed out stickers saying 'mom' and 'uncle' and so forth, even if the 'son' or 'nephew' wasn't in Iraq.
As Tim writes: "Shouldn't these protesters be outside of John Kerry's place, seeing as he isn't President? Maybe Vietnam Veteran Against the War Ward Reilly, who wasn't in Vietnam, has a son or nephew who isn't in Iraq; we must do more to not care about these people."

Some things are just beyond parody.

Cindy herself writes:
Even after my repeated attempts to keep the focus of my protest on the war, the Drudge Report and others continue to try to make the issue about me. But I am not the issue. The issue is a disastrous war that's killing our sons and daughters and making our country less secure.
But thanks to MoveOn, the issue is now about lots of people, who might or might not have children, who in turn might or might not be in the military. If a chickenhawk is somebody who won't fight and won't send own children to fight in a war he or she supports, what do you call someone who wishes they had children in Iraq so they could be used as a political weapon against the President?

MoveOn obviously wants you to "adopt a victim". I think you should Adopt a Soldier. Or Adopt a Platoon.


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