Unhelpful Herbert

Bob Herbert is a columnist for The New York Times. Despite all their recent troubles, I like The Times, but not Herbert's recent article Blood Runs Red, Not Blue.

The basic argument of Herbert's article is that the Americans who have suffered the most during the Iraq war have been the soldiers themselves and their families. As a result of this fact, he takes an easy swipe at the "Hawks" who have supported the war and condemned them for not letting their own children serve in the war.

I'm right behind this idea. That's why I liked Al Gore and John Kerry. They may be ugly and hard to listen to, but at least they had experience serving in Vietnam. At around the same time, Bush flew outdated jet fighters around Texas before too many late nights got the better of him.

Nevertheless, Herbert's article is a cheap shot. Essentially it is a lament that poor people get shafted while rich people don't. It's not a constructive article, just a complaint from the vague left. Read this quote:

College kids in the U.S. are playing video games and looking forward to frat parties while their less fortunate peers are rattling around like moving targets in Baghdad and Mosul, trying to dodge improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.

There is something very, very wrong with this picture.

If the war in Iraq is worth fighting - if it's a noble venture, as the hawks insist it is - then it's worth fighting with the children of the privileged classes. They should be added to the combat mix. If it's not worth their blood, then we should bring the other troops home.

If Mr. Bush's war in Iraq is worth dying for, then the children of the privileged should be doing some of the dying.

But of course he doesn't offer any solution to the problem he has raised. What does he think should happen? Enforced conscription amongst the children of those who inhabit the top 25% of the nation's wage earners? Let's see that one get flushed down the toilet at the Supreme Court.

I was and still am convinced that the Iraq war was a stupid, impulsive and ultimately destructive venture. There is no doubt in my mind that the people of Iraq would currently be better off under Saddam than under American rule. As a result, I'm all for America leaving Iraq. America has no idea whatsoever when it comes to peacekeeping and nation building. Get rid of American forces and replace them with UN troops, and send the bill to Washington.

But I just wish commentators like Herbert would stop taking cheap shots and stop preaching to the converted.

I just read a column that I found engaging, witty, objective and still happily tilted at my own biases. The piece is entitled Powerless at the pump by Andres Martinez at the Los Angeles Times. Please read and enjoy.

From the Department of "What's Happnin?"

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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