Loving the troops to death

There was an interesting brouhaha over the weekend as Glenn Beck’s “news” site took a potshot at CNN anchor Jake Tapper.  In part it was interesting because Tapper has long taken an interest in veterans issues, yet now was being accused of that old trope, “hating the troops.”

At issue were observations Tapper made during an interview with former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and actor/director Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg portrays Luttrell in a new movie based on Luttrell’s best-selling book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.”

The book is about a disastrous mission Luttrell and three other SEALs were on in Afghanistan in 2005. Three of the team members were killed (along with 16 other Navy SEALs). Luttrell was the only survivor of his team.

Marcus Luttrell, photo by  Larry D. Moore (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Marcus Luttrell, photo by Larry D. Moore (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Tapper and Luttrell discuss the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan

Here’s what Tapper said about the film, and the overall war in Afghanistan, that set first Luttrell off during the interview itself, and then the minions over in Beck-land and beyond.

TAPPER: One of the emotions that I felt, while watching the film is first of all the hopelessness of the situation — how horrific it was and also just all that loss of life of these brave American men.

And I was torn about the message of the film in the same way that I think I am about the war in Afghanistan itself. I don’t want any more senseless American death. And at the same time I know that there were bad people there and good people that need help. Was that intentional?

LUTTRELL: (visibly agitated): I don’t know what part of the film you were watching, but hopelessness never really came into it. I mean, where did you see that? It was never at a point where we just felt like we were hopelessly lost or anything like that. We never gave up. We never felt like that we were losing until we were actually dead. That never came across in the battle and while we were fighting on the mountain, it was just us against them.

TAPPER:  Just the sense of all these wonderful people who died. It seemed senseless. I don’t mean to disrespect in any way, but it seemed senseless — all of these wonderful people who were killed for an op that went wrong.

LUTTRELL: We spend our whole lives training to defend this country and then we were sent over there by this country — so you’re telling me because we were over there doing what we were told by our country that it was senseless? And my guys — what? They died for nothing?

TAPPER: No, I’m not saying that at all.

LUTTRELL: That’s what you said. So, let me just say that yeah it went bad for us over there, but that was our job. That’s what we did. We didn’t complain about it. We went out there and did what we did best, and at the end of it we weren’t standing, they were…

TAPPER: Maybe it’s just the difference between what a civilian feels when he watches this, versus what a soldier does.

WAHLBERG: Absolutely. I mean, I completely agree. But I don’t think his opinion is ever going to change, I mean that’s his job.

And here’s the 5 minute video of Tapper’s coverage and the exchange CNN:

Most of the berating of Tapper for his “un-American” remarks fail to note that Wahlberg, who stars in the film as Luttrell, agreed wholeheartedly with Tapper’s comments during the taping.

You look at the criticism of Tapper online, and it’s been predictably vicious from some servicemembers and some conservatives (though many conservatives and service members have, interestingly, defended Tapper, including crazy Joe Walsh of all people), and you have to ask yourself what civilian hasn’t thought what Tapper said during the interview?

I used to watch ABC’s THIS WEEK religiously, and at the end of every show they’d show the names of the American service members who were killed that week in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was a horrible thing to watch, so sad, especially the ages of those killed – almost always, it seemed, under 25 and sometimes in their teens.

I think a lot of Americans read those lists of the dead, shook their heads from side to side, and thought “what a waste.”  They would have felt exactly the way Jake Tapper appeared to have felt watching Luttrell’s movie.  They would have asked themselves why we sent so many good men and women to their deaths for this?  And it takes a special kind of mental contortion to somehow twist that into a condemnation of the troops.  In fact, it’s quite the contrary.

Now, you can quibble over the specific words – “hopeless” and “senseless” – in Tapper’s interview.  But good luck convincing anyone that Afghanistan, in retrospect, wasn’t a bad move.  As for Iraq, it turned out slightly better (only slightly), but still was an unnecessary war of convenience based on a lie.  And it’s a valid – nay, a necessary and patriotic – question to ask whether it was worth losing nearly 7,000 brave Americans in those wars, and whether it would be worth it all over again next time.  That’s how we learn.

And the question isn’t being asked because anyone hates the troops. (If you hate the troops, you’re probably not terribly concerned about them dying.)  The question is being asked because we care about the troops, we care about their lives, and the lives lost.

So why are some now beating up on Jake Tapper for admitting a truth that many Americans would agree with?


Hagiography is at least partly why.

Our country (perhaps all countries) has a penchant for symbolically genuflecting to all things military.  And I say this as a hawk who is probably far to the right of many of my reader, and many Democrats, on matters of war.

Republicans have raised the symbolic genuflect to an art form, but Democrats do it too (if only because they feel they have to).  Politicians, and journalists, and anyone in public life have to attest early and often to how much they love the troops.  And while I’m all for showing support for the troops (you should hear some of the things I did during the first Iraq War when Christmastime came around) because A) you’re truly thankful for what they do, and B) because such public support helps keep them going during wartime, I’m less a fan when “support for the troops” becomes a mandatory test of one’s patriotism on an issue that has nothing to do with supporting the troops.

Republicans love to symbolically love the troops

Of course, the irony is that some of those who profess their love of the troops the loudest, the Republicans, are the ones who tend to love the least.  To wit:

Who sent our troops into Afghanistan and only six months later started drawing down their support, hampering the search for bin Laden, so he could focus instead on attacking Iraq, a war that wasn’t even necessary, we couldn’t afford, and ultimately was based on a lie?  Republican President George Bush.

And who refused to even give our servicemembers the body armor they needed to defend themselves during those wars?  Republican President George Bush.  (Remember, we raised over $5,000 on this blog for one service member and his men in Iraq so that they could afford to buy their own body armor because Bush wouldn’t give it to them.)

And who lied his way, our way, into a massive war that cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars? Republican President George Bush.

And who proposed massive cuts to veterans’ benefits in the middle of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Republican President George Bush.

Oh, and all those Walter Reed scandals?  Republican President George Bush.

I’m going to wager that most of the folks berating Jake Tapper probably didn’t raise one dime to help our troops in wartime, and they never wrote a book about the troops either.  They probably weren’t that worried about George Bush lying his way into a war and putting our service members lives at risk unnecessarily.  And they probably didn’t say squat about the abuses our vets faced at Walter Reed either.

So if we’re going to get into a game of who cares more about the troops, I’m putting my money on the Jake Tappers of the world.  Because far too many of the folks who usually profess their love the loudest have been AWOL for far too long.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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75 Responses to “Loving the troops to death”

  1. Roger Sterling says:

    You’re an ignorant fool and it’s men like Marcus Luttrell who fight and die to give you the right to do that. You speak of his political agenda with the movie when in reality it does nothing of the sort. In two hours it tells the story of four men on the ground and sixteen in a helicopter that fought and died. It’s about honor, duty, commitment not only to one’s country and job but also to those they called brother. It may come as a shock to you but a 2009 poll found 32% of the armed forces admitting to be conservative, 23% liberal, and the remaining 45% either moderate or identifying with neither side. You lump all movies honoring those who serve as “right wing propaganda” yet fail to realize those people make up bits and pieces of all Americans. Your words are despicable and if you had any shred of dignity you would apologize to Marcus Luttrell.

  2. The_Fixer says:

    Well, we certainly have differing opinions, that’s for sure.

    You say: “In Gulf I when we pulled out, we (the military men and women) were aware the job was not finished and the decision to pull out was not ours but was based on politics. We also knew that the decision was a bad one and would come back to bite us in the @$$ and only cause another conflict down the road.

    But, you see, we never could have finished the job, and never can. It is not ours to start or finish. Sectarian conflict, whether suppressed or explicit, was something that had been a part of Iraq’s history. Our removal of Hussein just brought it out in the open as surely as his natural death would have. He had been oppressing the Kurds and rival Islamic sects for years. Remember, Iraq was a country created by the West. We jammed a bunch of conflicting sects into one big country for our own purposes. If we had stayed out of it, they would have settled it themselves. Yes, it would likely have been a bloody solution. But it would not have been our blood, and it would not have destabilized the rest of the world. There would likely have been three or four countries in what we know as Iraq had we not gotten involved. At some point, they would have sorted it out themselves.

    The way to correct mistakes is not to make another, bigger mistake, and make things up when you want to justify making that second (or nth) big mistake. Like a dog chasing it’s own tail, we’ll never catch it and when we try to bite it, we’ll only yelp in pain.

  3. The_Fixer says:

    War is not a tool of peace. It is death and destruction. As such, it should only be used in a defensive manner. Calling it a tool of peace is really 1984-ish, that’s what I was saying. Yes, I quoted you and then revised your wording. In the end, what you said sounded heavily of pro-war propaganda worthy of something we’ve read in Nineteen Eighty Four.

    The intentions of the people who fought are not at question. The intentions of the government that sent them there are. We do know that Hussein used poison gas that was supplied by the U.S. on his own people. It was our government that thought he would use them against one of our enemies, Iran. That, of course does put the U.S. government in a very bad light. But that was not the justification used to send U.S. troops in Iraq. Remember Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations?

    What was billed was that not that Hussein possessed chemical weapons, but that he had the capability to manufacture them. They showed pictures of vehicles that were supposed to be “mobile weapons labs”. Not content with that alone as their cover story, they also knowingly embraced faulty intelligence that Hussein had obtained aluminum tubes that were to be used in centrifuges intended to process weapons-grade uranium. Remember the phrase “The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud”? It was a deception from day one.

    And if I were sent there to fight, I would be damned pissed that the U.S. government did that. Plenty were (for example, Pat Tillman). They volunteered in good faith for what was surely a deception.

    The point is that Iraq was not a necessary war – it was not defensive. It was imperial in nature, designed to plunder resources. We had been slowly choking Hussein through sanctions and very limited military action. Some even say that those were brutal. Regardless of one’s opinion on that, they certainly were less destructive and had less of a human impact than the Iraq war.

    As I said elsewhere in the comments here, supporting the troops means we don’t send them into imperial forays based on spite or for commercial interests. That’s what the Iraq war was. Any pretense that it was designed to retrieve chemical weapons that we gave him, intended to be used against our enemies in the region, overlooks a whole lot. It was a resource (oil) grab.

  4. anAchilles says:

    The logic is sound. We just have differing opinions.
    I applaud your not twisting words or creating meanings out of thin air as you have done in an earlier post.
    In Gulf I when we pulled out, we (the military men and women) were aware the job was not finished and the decision to pull out was not ours but was based on politics. We also knew that the decision was a bad one and would come back to bite us in the @$$ and only cause another conflict down the road.
    Saddam was a bad choice, but take the time to learn a little about the history of the whole thing and sometimes when weighing the risk v reward things go bad and at the time we thought we had someone we could count on (or control, depending on viewpoint).
    Sorry if that sounds too glib,

  5. anAchilles says:

    I am learning that there are those incapable of basic reading skills. This would seem to include you as I never said that war is peace. As such, “Fixer”, fix your glasses and re-read.
    I said war was a tool. War is the last and most desperate act used a means of last resort. I cannot and will not answer for the times when it is used unjustly.
    That said, for Luttrell, Murphy, Axelson, and Dietz and any and all others who went and fought we acted on good faith that we could trust our government. How he got the weapons does not change the fact that they needed to be removed from his hand. I could go on, but most of what I have to say would be a repeat of what I explained to Karmanot above.

  6. anAchilles says:

    I admire your use of hindsight to prove how valid your position was and still is. Yes, he did use American weapons on his own people, I may be naive but I doubt the US provided them so he could use it on his own people. Granted we figured he would use it on Iran, but the “we” in that case is the government and not the members of the armed forces who knew only of the atrocities he had committed on his own people. As such we (the troops) acted on good faith. I am sure you have never had to act on good faith in any capacity as your wisdom and sagacity leads you away from any misstep, but I should hope that you would understand the intentions of those who went and fought. Perhaps that understanding is too much to ask for?
    If I may, there is also a bit of speculation on my part, but still, is it not possible that the government, who provided him the weapons we would later demonize him for, would know what was given and in what quantities and therefor have sufficient reason to believe that there still remained a good quantity of it? Therefor a search to remove weapons was essential. It may be that this was done to eliminate the weapons so no one would know of their source, or it may be as simple as a bad man had bad things and needed to have them removed from his possession. It is also extremely possible that the answer is somewhere in the middle of that or something else entirely. But the actions and decisions of a government do not necessarily affect the moral justifications made by the troops who served and formed their own ideas, opinions, and thoughts on these things.

  7. anAchilles says:

    Too many people feel that anything they write or say is the absolute truth. A fact so undeniable that anyone who disagrees must be lunatic. You know, like some of those who are posting here for example. However, here we are speaking about perspectives and opinions, and it is undeniably clear that some of us are more tolerant than those who actually preach tolerance.
    So apparently when you ask how special it is that I ‘allow” people to have their say without denigration and disrespect, it is indeed very special.
    So you and many of the others on here can stand around, slap each others backs in congratulations over what a great job you did in shouting down someone who had an opinion different from yours. I, meanwhile, will continue to wonder what happened to debate, discourse, and working to arrive at an understanding (if not an agreement).

  8. anAchilles says:

    I definitely don’t see where Luttrell called himself a robot or tool,
    except when he pointed out that the job of the soldier, sailor, and
    airman is that of training and then going out and doing a job.
    No, the terms like robot and tool were thrown around by a few of those commenting in this post.
    will agree, Luttrell bristled at Tapper’s comments, and I think it
    understandable, he felt as if the sacrifice his friends had made was called
    senseless and hopeless by Tapper, but in their minds, it never was. Personally, I don’t think Tapper was wrong, here each man was speaking from their own experience
    As far as
    forming an opinion, look at where I said that everyone has a right to
    their own opinion. I was just stating a position I hold that in the
    minds of some of us who went over and served Iraq was in some ways
    justifiable. The formation of an opinion is a right, why is it though,
    that in order for my opinion to mean anything it has to mirror the
    majority who never went, never served, and would not understand? Hell,
    there are those who did go and did serve, and still disagree with me and
    the others who think as I do, yet you don’t see the level of disrespect that
    takes place in forums like this.
    I suspect your version of tolerance only goes so far as it is aligned with your ideals.

  9. lynchie says:

    His book is his view of what happened doesn’t necessarily make it fact.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    And moved all the way right when he became an Obama supporter.

  11. karmanot says:

    Little know fact: Colin Powell attempted a cover up at the time.

  12. karmanot says:

    It’s difficult to imagine the depths of your enlightenment but thank you. Injustice and human condition is worthy of sound and fury embracing life, not the sicking glory of death. Further, your rationalizations for state murder and your pride in that praxis is worthy of silence and grief.

  13. karmanot says:

    Just wars, created with the bony, bloody fingers of Augustine and Aquinas to affirm God’s taste for savagery, only belongs to the victors. Have you noticed that? By that standard America has lost every war since WII, except for the Falklands, which renewed an interest in Gilbert & Sullivan.

  14. karmanot says:

    “there is a paradox and irony involved that I won’t mention further.” Oh, the irony…No wait—never mind. Presumably you are aware that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction were sold to him by the American government.

  15. mirror says:

    You misunderstand. Luttrel called himself a robot and a tool. Then used that notion as a justification for why he doesn’t form his own individual opinions.

    Then he very weirdly went a step farther and used his self-declared status as a robot and tool, as in and off itself, a reason to attack Tapper.

  16. Ninong says:

    That’s all they ever think about. They’re obsessed with anal sex. They think about it day and night.

  17. mirror says:

    The United States helped Saddam get the poisons you idiot. Then the same people turn around and invade. You sound like you are pulling your conclusions out of your nether region with no consideration for all the facts.

  18. The_Fixer says:

    I think that there’s a fatal error in your reasoning, though.

    The reasons for going to Iraq were stated to be that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that he in fact did not have. Later, the justification was that he was a horrible man who engaged in ethnic cleansing, among other dreadful things. Never mind that the U.S. had paved his way into power and supported him, even previously turning a blind eye to such activities. If Saddam was an immoral leader, we certainly were complicit. We only made life horrible for the average Iraqi. Hardly a successful endeavor and removing him from power was not a reasonable justification for going in there.

    The war in Afghanistan’s stated mission was to capture bin Laden. In the process, it was understood that we were probably gong to have to remove the Taliban from power. Less of a misrepresentation. However, the G.W. Bush administration had a nasty habit of incompetence (that’s being charitable) – not only did they ignore Richard Clarke’s warning passed on from the Clinton administration, but they ignored the intelligence warning of the attack and further compounded the problem by not giving the order to take him out when they finally found him in Afghanistan. This resulted in a much longer war.

    I’ll ignore the fact that bin Laden was a monster that was Made in the U.S.A. That’s another topic.

    True, the military is not full of robots. But they do operate on an ordered basis. But that is a separate topic from the main; the U.S. engages in a series of wars and war-like actions that are imperial in nature. An after-the-fact justification of that set of facts is in no way a legitimate use of those people’s lives who die for illegitimate imperial efforts.

  19. The_Fixer says:

    I do not seek to glorify war, I simply justify its existence as a tool
    of peace, and yes I see at once there is a paradox and irony involved
    that I won’t mention further.

    War is Peace? I see you once worked with Winston Smith in the Ministry of Truth.

  20. Fireblazes says:

    I do not know if his heroism was for nothing, but neither can I discern what it gained. But I guess a fifth of them surviving is some sort of miracle. The true heroism would have been to refuse to send them into a hopeless situation.

  21. Ninong says:

    That second photo from the top is of the My Lai massacre! What a disgrace that was! My Lai finally convinced my West Point graduate boss that Vietnam was a mistake and we should get out. Before the actual photos were published, he refused to believe what had been written about it — that American troops would execute 347 women and children and even babies! It took the actual photos of nothing but women and children, and maybe a few very old men, to make him a believer.

  22. karmanot says:

    That’s the tragedy in a nutshell.

  23. karmanot says:

    Most of these hawks avoided service altogether—-including Bush the Tiny.

  24. karmanot says:


  25. Jafafa Hots says:

    I don’t think people who intentionally sign up for the military of the most powerful nation the earth has ever seen, who draw a paycheck from being part of a massive imperialist death machine, are robots.

    I call them immoral.

    Including those who are members of my family.

    Joining the US military is an immoral thing to do.
    Those kinds of morals are exposed by phrases such as “just cause for war.”
    The US has not had just cause for a war for 70 years.

    What we have had is murderous acquisitiveness.

  26. karmanot says:

    Put yer right foot in, put yer right foot out, put yer left foot in and shake it all about: “You are ridiculous.”

  27. karmanot says:

    Thank you!

  28. anAchilles says:

    Truly enlightening.
    Thank you for sharing your genius and wit. I have suddenly seen the light and my opinion is changed.
    I think if we compare what has been written you demonstrate a truer sense of sound and fury signifying nothing.

  29. karmanot says:

    Decipher the babble—it’s in there.

  30. anAchilles says:

    As General Robert E Lee once said, “it is well that war is so terrible. Else we should grow to fond of it.”
    I do not seek to glorify war, I simply justify its existence as a tool of peace, and yes I see at once there is a paradox and irony involved that I won’t mention further.
    However, it is still a useful tool, and hopefully the last tool to be deployed in the cause of justice. History will show that wars have always been waged too early, when more could have been done. History also shows that at times force was employed too late, or not at all, and there were in these moments tragic consequences as well.
    You will never hear me refer to war and its ensuing carnage as the first and best answer, but always the last and most desperate.
    I am simply providing a counterpoint, that those who have been blind to events leading up to Iraq either do not know, or choose to ignore (a dangerous folly that) that weapons of mass destruction were indeed being used by Saddam on his own people. That, for some of us, was reason enough to do something and not carry a guilty conscience.
    I too lament the senseless loss of life overly great burden that followed that the survivors in Iraq carry still, but I still believe it to have been just.

    It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/robertele125498.html#BVDgtK7IcRU6uhZ7.99

  31. karmanot says:


  32. karmanot says:

    “I will allow people their opinions and ideas” How special is that? Your hard core, nauseating propaganda is better suited to cartoon form.

  33. karmanot says:

    Alexander the Great is laughing ass off in the great beyond.

  34. Ninong says:

    Jake Tapper is the author of The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, a critically acclaimed book about U.S. troops in Afghanistan that debuted at #10 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardback non-fiction. Bob Woodward described the book as: “Brilliant, dedicated reporting by a journalist who goes to ground to get the truth. A sad, real tale about this war, America and the brave warriors who live-and die-at the point of the spear” and Jon Krakauer called it “a mind-boggling, all-too-true story of heroism, hubris, failed strategy, and heartbreaking sacrifice. If you want to understand how the war in Afghanistan went off the rails, you need to read this book.”

    Tapper has received numerous awards for his outstanding journalism. He’s a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth. He’s happily married and he and his wife have two daughters.

  35. karmanot says:

    “A) you’re truly thankful for what they do,” No I’m not thankful for what they do. Their humanity yes, their mission—absolutely not. My entire lifetime has been consumed by American aggression, colonialism and ‘losing wars’ at catastrophic effect and cost. I hate war and the bloody, sickening, propaganda of it.

  36. What noble cause?

  37. anAchilles says:

    I don’t recall anywhere in here where I saif

  38. Badgerite says:

    The hopelessness would have been 4 guys on a mountain with no chance of rescue having to take on 50 who are determined to kill them and probably will. I think that that was all Jake Tapper was referring to. I think Luttrell felt that he was saying their heroism was for nothing.
    I don’t think that is what Tapper was saying at all.

  39. Badgerite says:

    Having watched the clip I would have to say, I don’t understand what the fuss is about. Jake Tapper seemed to me to be talking about the single mission involved where 4 men were sent out and only one returned. That their situation of being outnumbered and incapable of rescue seemed hopeless.
    Not that their service to the country was ‘hopeless’ or ‘senseless’. But that the planning behind the mission had to seem questionable. And it probably was. But like the mission that took out Osama Bin Laden, there is no certainty in war except that people will die. Questionable missions go on all the time. But, likewise, it did not seem even remotely true that Tapper was seeking to question the validity of their service or their sacrifice. I think this is a dust up about nothing. I think other people are reading things into what Tapper said that are simply not there.

  40. Monoceros Forth says:

    Iraq was not an act of war based on a lie. I know, “we did not find any weapons,” but that does not change the fact that Saddam gassed and killed around 40k of his own countrymen, women, and children.

    And we slaughtered at least three times that number–even cautious estimates of civilian deaths put the number at well over a hundred thousands–and utterly destroyed the nation’s infrastructure.

    You can call that “liberation” if you like. I call it a war crime.

  41. Ninong says:

    Mark Wahlberg was absolutely perfect. He couldn’t have said it better.
    We went into Afghanistan because they refused to turn over Osama bin Laden. Then we allowed bin Laden to escape into Pakistan. So why are we still there, spending billions of dollars on “nation building.” They never were anything close to even a third world country — maybe barely a fourth world country, if there is such a thing. We’re spending more money on building infrastructure than their entire gross domestic product, excluding opium poppies. They won’t even be able to maintain what we’re building for them once we leave. Afghanistan is a loose collection of tribal warlords that aren’t interested in giving up local control to some Russian or American puppet government. It will go to hell within a year after we leave, just like Iraq.
    Iraq was a mistake from the beginning. We had no business going after Saddam Hussein. Sure he was a dictator, but he used to be our dictator. We even looked the other way when he gassed his own people. Remember that famous photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands our buddy Saddam? He was a ruthless tyrant but he was a counter balance to Iran. He had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.
    Now we’re out of Iraq and Iraq is in chaos! The same will happen in Afghanistan once we finally leave. Maybe it won’t be as bad as Iraq but it won’t be stable and it won’t be a democracy.

  42. So it’s not possible for a government to launch a war that’s a mistake? A bad idea? One we shouldn’t have done? I categorically reject that assertion. It is entirely possible for a political leader, or a military one, to make a mistake. And when lives are lost due to that mistake, I don’t think you honor those lives, or future troops, by pretending the mistake suddenly is now some noble cause that, per se, should be replicated in the future since it’s not a mistake. That sounds like a recipe for killing more troops with bad decisions. And I find nothing noble in that.

  43. anAchilles says:

    I will allow people their opinions and ideas.Some of these are well founded and valid and we can agree to disagree, but for those calling Luttrell and others like him (and to a degree myself) robots, tools, simpletons, and such, you are the epitome of foolishness. I would never think anyone, except the slimmest of minorities, has any sort of ill will or intention toward the troops. After all the majority of anti-war personalities have come a long way from spitting on men and women returning from duty.
    That said Tapper is absolutely wrong when it comes to labeling what is done over there as “hopeless”. That insults and denigrates every serviceman and woman who sacrificed for someone else. I won’t pretend that serving in Iraq or Afghanistan did or does anything to defend free speech, but I will stand up and say that it was and is necessary forr god men to stand up and act in the face of cruelty, malice, and dare I say evil.
    Iraq was not an act of war based on a lie. I know, “we did not find any weapons,” but that does not change the fact that Saddam gassed and killed around 40k of his own countrymen, women, and children. The Kurdish population defied Saddam, so he eliminated them. Who stood up for them?
    Who stands up for the women and children denied the basic privilege of an education, or the right to vote for all? Who slaughters homosexuals? Who would deny basic rights like life, liberty, speech, open practice of religion, and so many of the other basic rights and freedoms Americans have come to take for granted? The Taliban.
    That is why we fight.
    That is why there is no such thing as hopelessness for those men who died on that mountain or for any service-person in the above named conflicts.
    It is a shame we could not be there for Rwanda, that we have not done more in Darfur, the Congo, Syria, or any place else you can name.
    That is what good men and women do. They stand up when they see something wrong and say, “no more.”
    Even if you believe the cause to be wrong and that we are morally in the wrong, but accept the fact that we are sending young men and women to fight, bleed, and die for an unjust cause, the fight is still not hopeless.
    Mr. Tapper and others need to remember that they fight for the guy next to them and not the cause. They fight so that they can live to go home.
    Shakespeare should have taught us when Henry and his men fought in Agincourt that there would be those who would “hold their manhood cheap” and flee and abandon their brother and not fight valiantly, but that those who stayed would be a special, “band of brothers.”
    Lt Murphy, in Luttrell’s book put it another way, “you are never out of the fight.” You never give up.You never quit. You never abandon the cause. And at that moment, for Axelson, Dietz, Luttrell, and Murphy, the cause was each other and there is no hopelessness when fighting as a “Band of Brothers.”

  44. And one more thing, the less education people have the more they tend to vote Republican. So why would the left want the masses uneducated, since they’d end up voting for you guys? Fact are hard.

  45. gratuitous says:

    I don’t want to let Mr. Luttrell’s comment slip by: We spend our whole lives training to defend this country and then we were sent over there by this country . . .” Unfortunately, for all the verbiage about “defending this country,” I still haven’t quite drawn the connection between that sentiment and the second part of Mr. Luttrell’s statement about going “over there.” Was Afghanistan some existential threat to the United States? Because I didn’t see it in 2002 and I don’t see it today.

    It’s like the old riddle: How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg? Four. Just because you call the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg. Similarly, just because the United States claims it’s defending itself when it invades another country doesn’t make it true.

  46. Oh honey, ask people who watch Duck Dynasty where Canada is, and you’ll probably get even worse answers. Everyone knows, because there have been a number of recent surveys, that it’s Fox News viewers who are the least informed about global affairs of any of the network viewers out there. So, seriously, when it comes to dumbing down the masses, no one holds a candle to you guys.

  47. The_Fixer says:

    You’ll likely get the rather simplistic answer of “to keep America safe.” Ask them how this will do that and they’ll likely talk about terrorism and Al Queda, but it will be so disjointed as to not make sense.

    This is the result of a media that is not doing its job, merely cheerleading for those who stand to make a buck from war. As soon as Ted Turner introduced the concept of “for profit news” and the Fairness Doctrine went away, our fate was sealed.

  48. New-found love? How do you know how anyone on the left feels about the military? If anyone sounds like they’ve got hate in their heart, it’s you – you seem to hate at least half of the country. As for Tapper, if you bothered doing some research before spouting off online, you’d know that he has a long history of supporting the military, especially veterans, including publishing a book in 2012. Methinks you’re a typical right-wing troll who doesn’t bother doing your homework before spouting off in public. The Internet is an unforgiving place to make a partisan fool of yourself.

  49. The_Fixer says:

    The current hyper-love of all things military was, among other causes, a product of what happened in Vietnam. Starting with the My Lai massacre, most soldiers were wrongly accused of being war criminals upon their return. Serving in Vietnam was something not to be worn as a badge of pride, more of an embarrassment for a time. A public that by 1972 had its fill of the war wrongly took its frustration out on the returning soldiers.

    A combination of time and overzealous salesmanship on the part of those who profit by war has brought us full-circle. We lionize even the worst thug who has served in the military along with the real heroes. We claim to support the troops, but in reality attach ribbons to our SUVs proclaiming our support but do little else.

    True support of the troops is to not send them into needless wars designed for profit. Honest support of the troops means sending them into a justified war with the equipment they need. Real support of the troops means getting them home as soon as possible. Humanitarian support of the troops is making sure they recover financially, physically and mentally once they are home.

    This is not a right vs. left proposition. This is a matter of human decency. Jake Tapper provided a civilian viewpoint that is not understood by those who are fighting the battles, understandably so. Viewing any engagement with the enemy that results in the deaths of their comrades-in-arms as a futile exercise is minimizing their sacrifice, To the soldier in battle, all engagements are winnable – it’s the way they’re trained to think. To those on the outside who have the luxury of a wider field of vision and different sources of information (and often after the fact), that’s simply not true.

    Both Tapper’s question and Luttrell’s reaction are understandable. Neither one may be completely right. What’s completely right is that our country not engage in such disastrous policies to start with.

  50. Monoceros Forth says:

    …where the man on the street knows everything about the Kardashians, but nothing about anything else.

    So Rupert Murdoch has actually been furthering a leftist agenda? Damn. Maybe someone ought to tell him.

  51. Badgerite says:

    As I recall, back in the day, according to Bush supporters, criticizing any of actions or omissions on the part of the Bush administration that negatively impacted the safety and health of the troops was considered ‘hating the troops’.
    And when you would ask them why the Bush administration engaged in a war that would have to involve a massive occupation of a volatile country in a volatile region and then under committed in terms of troops strength, the answer was always the preposterous “Well, they didn’t want more troops”. Of course they wanted more troops. There has never been a general born that did not want more troops.

  52. cole3244 says:

    i can’t spell.

  53. mirror says:

    I’m curious. Why don’t you push the shift key?

  54. mirror says:

    You are probably right. Sticking with that line is his right-wing meal ticket. The second, as in individual citizen and veteran, that he begins to question anything, that is the second he will be treated by the tax cut political class as one more undeserving entitlement recipient.

  55. cole3244 says:

    i understand, besides you probably wouldn’t get the point i was trying too make anyway and the less confusion the better.
    ps – i know you won’t read this but the response was for my own edification.

  56. mirror says:

    So, you are supporting the idea that one should never ask a combat veteran, as a citizen, what the point was, because they are mindless obedient robots and it might crack their fragile emotional state if they have to process the question as a citizen, independently of their robotic professional duties?

    I have more respect for them than that, but perhaps I’m wrong to do so. It does make me feel even more sorry for them, as I do all the veterans who have been abandoned by the tax cutters.

  57. Hue-Man says:

    The war casualties continue. Friday’s Headline: “Canadian soldier’s death 3rd suspected suicide in a week” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadian-soldier-s-death-3rd-suspected-suicide-in-a-week-1.2492125

    “Former soldiers and veterans advocates said little attention is paid to
    helping physically wounded soldiers and those suffering from Post
    Traumatic Stress Disorder make the transition to civilian life.”

  58. KHilde says:

    You are ridiculous. Out of any random 100 people on any U.S. street, only about 20 can point to, say, Canada, on a blank map. Maybe 10 could point to Russia. Maybe 2 or 3 (if that) could point to Afghanistan. Much less spell it. And probably only 8 or 9 (out of any random 100) would even know we have military deployed in a country called … “Afghanistan”. So what would be the point? The Left has achieved its dream of an opium-drenched society where the man on the street knows everything about the Kardashians, but nothing about anything else. Leaving the Left to do what it will.

  59. KHilde says:

    Luttrell spoke plainly and bluntly: he knows his chain-of-command and did (1) what he was trained to do and (2) what he was commanded to do. Meaning, he was a true professional.

    Put another way, he surely respects the office of the President (from when the order ultimately came) … though he likely is disgusted by the person of the President.

    As for the “journalist” (=editorialist) Jake Tapper, Luttrell chopped him off at the knees when he (Tapper) tried to inject the new-found “love” the left-wing has for the military … when it suits their purposes, of course. “Oh, we hate it when U.S. soldiers die, could you please explain the hopelessness to me…?” Luttrell slam-dunked Tapper, and Tapper has spend every day afterward twitter-ing up a storm protesting his innocence. Methinks Lady Jake Tapper doth protest too much…

  60. Just_AC says:

    So, I got a question. Go up to 100 people on the street and ask them “why are we at war in Afghanistan?

  61. Bill_Perdue says:

    I agree but we have to remember that many join because they’re poor or are given the choice between enlisting or going to jail. That’s not and excuse, but it is reality. It’s another form of exploitation of working people and it has has horrifying consequences.

    USMC Commandant and Major General SM Butler summed up my views: ‘War is a racket. It always has been… A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by disarmament conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys
    at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.”
    Democrats and Republicans can’t and won’t take the profit out of war. Socialists will.

  62. Bill_Perdue says:

    Anyone, Democrat or Republican – LBJ, Nixon, Bush, one of the Clintons or Obama, and the principal military actors in their regimes – who uses American troops in wars of aggression should be investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity. .

    Aggression is murder and it’s a crime. It makes Chevron and Haliburton rich and wastes or ends the lives of tens of thousands of GIs and hundreds of thousands of civilians from Libya to Palestine to Pakistan. It has nothing to do with the security of American working people and everything to do with the profits of the rich. Total responsibility for the deaths of GIs and civilians since the inauguration rests with Obama and the Congress.

    Wars or aggression are not beyond our control. The US government ended its invasion and occupation of Vietnam in 1975 by getting their ass handed to them on a silver platter by a combination of Vietnamese resistance and the enormous power of the civilian and GI antiwar movements. Those same factors prevented Obama’s planned aggression in Syria, after we saw the results of horrific results of the NATO/US attack against Libya, and will play the major role in forcing the US out of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  63. Monoceros Forth says:

    It is like when today’s soldiers call themselves heroes simply because they enlisted. Becoming a soldier does not make one a hero.

    It’s part of the whole nauseating glorification of all things military and the impossibility of questioning the armed forces’ sacred mission because supposedly they’re defending freedom instead of (to pick a more apt description) basically doing what France did to Algeria.

  64. emjayay says:

    Particularly someone who went through something like what Luttrell did obviously has a psychological need for self justification. It’s always a fine line for critics of a war to toe, even a completely unjustified completely pointless and counterproductive one.

    Yes, you did your duty, yes it was totally exemplarary, yes you did entirely the right thing, and also it was a totally stupid waste of lives (yes including people you knew intimately and were bonded with) and money. People like that aren’t able allow the last part of that in. The first part is too fragile and too necessary.

  65. Monoceros Forth says:

    There’s hardly anything surprising about this. “Support the troops” as a shibboleth of right-wing discourse has never meant anything other than “Support the war” or (when he was still President) “Support Bush Le Petit.” It’s never about real people, only about abstract causes and unrealities, with them.

    But even literally interpreted the “support the troops” slogan has never sat well with me. It’s like asking me to cheer for the ball team when I never wanted the damn stadium built in the first place.

  66. emjayay says:

    I might have enjoyed reading that if you had bothered pressing the shift key at appropriate places. Skipped it instead.

  67. emjayay says:

    It’s a part of the vastly increased propaganda level in all areas of our lives. The ubiquity and sophistication of advertising everywhere in our lives is completely unprecedented. Baseball statiums used to sell advertising space for painted signs in the outfield. Now they sell the name of the stadium. We have a whole 24 hour propaganda driven teevee network designed to feed the emotional needs of millions.

    Everything is branded – a word that wasn’t even used that way until recently. NYC cops are New York’s Finest. The firefighters are The Bravest. Presidential candidates are criticized for not wearing a flag pin, something that WWII (you know, a real war for real reasons) General Eisenhower would have thought ridiculous.

    I’m sure some sociology profs must have have written analyses about all this somewhere.

  68. zerosumgame0005 says:

    LUTTRELL is the one who needs to be looked at closely. He really seems to be acting like a “sole survivor” who pimped out his own story as the “hero”…

  69. Indigo says:

    The one predictable thing in this life is that no matter what we say or do or think, someone will praise us and someone else will condemn us.

  70. Fireblazes says:

    It is like when today’s soldiers call themselves heroes simply because they enlisted. Becoming a soldier does not make one a hero,. This is a new phenomenon, peculiar to our recent endless middle-east wars. In our prior endless wars, heroes were accidental, a spur of the moment decision to do something brave. Our new heroes seem to be have a new government propaganda definition, driven by an unquestioning MSM, meant to legitimize wars fought for invented and sketchy reasons.

  71. cole3244 says:

    how about the deaths of combatants from other countries, we in america treat them as is if they are insignificant but they aren’t to those that love them.
    as a vn vet those that glorify war have never experienced it and would never volunteer as i did to join (a mistake).
    the chickenhawks that push and support conflict or those that use the phony glorification to promote their careers and war are equally guilty.
    the elites in all countries pit the masses against each other and then send them off to fight and die while the they stay safe at home and reap the benefits they never earned.

    as far as wahlberg goes if you know anything about his past he isn’t someone i respect or hold in high esteem but that’s america for you, our sense of justice is only skin deep and we are a nation of hypocrites as are most powerful nations as history shows.

  72. If we truly love and support the troops we wouldn’t send them willy nilly into NeoCon ThinkTank wars. I belong to a patriotic org and I could never imagine thinking like this. These men are trained to follow orders no matter what and who is in charge. That is their training. Then can not afford to sit back and think about the idiots in political office and you don’t really want them to until they are retired and return to civilian life which never really happens.

  73. Henry Owen says:

    Perhaps the movie will expose some of the horrors of war, but I have my doubts that a film made to entertain would be very effective in changing people’s minds in a country that not only glorifies war, but makes the glorification of war some sort of Litmus test of patriotism.

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