I was watching the History Channel, and they're showing a documentary on the liberation of Luzon from the Japanese, probably the least studied of the US Army's major campaigns.
The aging veterans are describing how they participated in the battles there, a story not told outside the Army. When we discuss the Pacific War, it is the Marines battles in the Central Pacific, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa which make up the narrative. The brutal battle for Manila, the liberation of Santo Tomas, Los Banos and Cabantuan prison camps are the stuff of history buffs.
I bring this up for a reason. If you hit my site, The News Blog, you'll see a couple of stories, one on how the US released techincal data to make nuclear weapons. The other, about a group of Washington assholes called the Late Night Shots. There are others, like the Capitol Club, groups of young rich assholes who spend their weekends and evenings drunk and hitting on their fellow Hill Rats and other Washington parasites.
These are the people who cheer the war on and talk about patriotism. They want to lead America, they think they are on the path to power. But they have no sense of duty, no sense of what it really means to serve this country. Most of them would "support" the war, but few would risk their lives in it.
As you hear the veterans speak, they were younger than these parasites when they ran through a burning Manila, they had a sense of duty and knew they were fighting for something they could give their lives for.
Now, military service is far from the only way to serve this country. But in wartime, it would be nice if the war's supporters didn't think they could be cheerleaders and it would be acceptable. It so clearly isn't.Even the neocons are now running away from the war they supported.
If you read this month's Harper's, you'll see an article on training conservatives for the future. What I found so amazing was the level of fantasy they were engaging in. They were going to be warriors against liberalism, oppose this fantasy of the left. What was so amazing was that they took it seriously, as if these fever dreams existed in the real world.
This is why they can talk of supporting the war while drinking and getting laid in Washington.
Conservatism used to be the home of hard minded realists, who didn't trust government. Now, you have people acting as if they're living in a real life Evercrack game. Liberals are uniformly evil, conservatives always right, it was an amazing world view to see on display.
When I think about the release of all of Iraq's nuclear secrets, what strikes me most is that the right blogosphere thought they were qualified to assess documents that the CIA and DIA would spend years going through with experts, debriefing people, comparing it to things in their archives, checking patterns. Not one of the right bloggers revelling in this thought for a second of the consequences of this, that people who could use this information would also be playing along.
They had no responsibility, no sense of duty beyond ideology. By placing party above country, they have proven themselves to be anything but the patriots they imagine themselves to be.