Sunday, February 18, 2007

Doing the right thing... telling it like it is.

I written about Gen. William Odom before. He's the straight-talking realist who seems to be one of the few people with some credibility on the subject who "gets it" about the U.S. involvement in Iraq/Iran, who gets an opportunity to speak to a wide audience and who is articulate and confident enough to speak truth to wingnuts. What a treat! What a breath of fresh air!

Glenn Greenwald listened to Gen. Odom being interviewed by chickenhawk Hugh Hewitt and pointed me to this transcript. Please go read it all. It's a lesson on what to say in answer to the war-mongers rhetoric and a lesson on how to say it: straight-forwardly, unashamedly, proudly. Finally someone doing the right thing!

As Glenn says:

In any event, the entire Odom interview (and his Op-Ed) ought to be read by every Democratic consultant and anti-war politician. So many war opponents and Bush critics feel compelled to express their opposition defensively and apologetically. It is common to hear them -- especially political figures -- prefacing their war opposition by bending over backwards to assure everyone that they are patriots, that they care about the troops, that they want to protect America, too -- as though those matters are legitimately in doubt.

But observe how Gen. Odom is not the slightest bit concerned by Hugh Hewitt's smearing tactics, how indifferent he is to the task of trying to persuade Hewitt that he really is a patriot. It is Hewitt's judgment and allegiances which are in question, not Odom's.

Perhaps his status as a General means that he is not worried about being accused of traitorous or cowardly behavior, but no American citizen who opposes this war or future ones ought to be concerned by that. It is war opponents who are have been defending this country's interests and who are therefore in the majority. And it is war supporters -- "the Victory Caucus" -- that have done incalculable damage and who have therefore been relegated to the fringe.


We need much, much more of these candid and unafraid discussions. Though it shouldn't be necessary, if it takes the very substantial group of Generals and other military opponents of neoconservatism to be among the leading spokespeople opposing the President's ongoing militarism, so be it. The scare tactics and smearing techniques of the Hugh Hewitts and Bill Kristols of the world -- used to justify some of the most destuctive policies our country has ever undertaken -- are flimsy, weak and easily swatted away, and it is long past time to cease according the advocates of those views and the arguments themselves any respect.

These are radical and highly destructive courses of action they are pursuing that have damaged our country to a still unquantifiable degree. And they are far from done. There is no reason to oppose their mindset apologetically or fearfully. Clear, candid, unapologetic explanations like the ones offered by Gen. Odom are what is necessary.


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