Wednesday, September 5, 2007

War is exhilarating

Ralph Peters, former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, told chickenhawk war apologist Jim Vicevich on WTIC today that morale among the troops is high, particularly those who engage in front line combat operations, which they find "exciting, exhilarating." Peters also claims his main occupation is writing novels, and that his reportage is "public service." In either case he seems to be writing fiction.

Peters has been to Iraq more than once, and undoubtedly has found troops with high morale, but there's a flaw in the logic.

First, when a conservative columnist goes to Iraq to gauge troop morale, he's like to find what he's looking for. In fact, the military is likely to point him toward service men and women who will support his hypothesis (Peters has been a well-known supporter of the invasion of Iraq since day one).

Second, service men and women are probably savvy enough not to complain to someone who has the potential to do them harm simply because they complain. What enlisted man or woman is going to risk his or her life, or career complaining about the war, the President, their mission or their commanders?

Third, statistically speaking, a dozen men and women do not represent the thoughts of an entire army, no matter which perspective you are trying to portray. So when Vicevich says he's going to hang out at a pig roast with a bunch of soldiers who all support the mission, it's likely he's found a group who like each other's company because they agree with each other. Just imagine what it would be like to be a veteran at that pig roast who stands up and and calls the President a liar and a fraud, suggests the war is immoral, and says that the mission is futile. That guy is probably not going to be at the pig roast, not even going to be invited, and if he is, he will probably keep his mouth shut.

Vicevich says he'll change his position when the soldiers change theirs. Time to encourage some enlisted people who hate the war in Iraq to call Jim and make him eat his words.

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