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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Saturday, June 04, 2005

"Forsake the Troops" and The Terms of Civil Discourse

I have watched the small but fiery blogstorm that has grown up around this verminous oxygen thief in the last few months. Correspondent CaveDave introduced me to Mr Crook ("if," to quote Wg Cdr Lionel Mandrake, "that is your real name...") by showing me his interview on Hannity and Colmes from last week. That video is here. Even Skeletor Colmes was incensed. Unbelievable.

Here is his organization's "vision" statement:

This website is proudly dedicated to the following ideals:

The excessive base salaries [of US military members] must be reduced.

All of the extra allowances must be eliminated. Soldiers should be made to pay all of their expenses (food, rent, uniforms, etc.) from base salary, just as it is in the real world. The soldiers should be made to pay 100% of the cost of medical insurance, and co-pays should be doubled from their current rate.

If a soldier chooses off-base housing (and is eligible) he/she should pay for it out of base salary. We, the taxpayers, should not pay their rent. Isn't it enough our taxes pay for barracks? We'd be better off with pup tents.

No soldier should get a tax break, as referenced to in IRS Topic 853-- No amount of money earned overseas by a US soldier should be exempted from taxes.

The taxpayers should not have to pay for burial. If life insurance won't cover it (i.e. war) then the family should pay for it, just as it is in the real world. How is it our fault they chose to die?

Our underlying problem is this: the military is a lifestyle these morons chose. What idiot risks their life for a country? It's what they chose. Hopefully, they knew in their hearts this is abusing taxpayers' money, and they enlisted anyway. So...Forsake our Troops! Let 'em die in combat-- we don't need their ilk in this country!

U.S. Soldier = Poster child for retroactive abortion.

Number of US soldiers killed in the Iraq War, of their own doing, because they CHOSE to be leeches: 1,583. These scumbags asked for it, and got it. Simper Cry.

His website is filled with posts like these:

Don't military pukes learn anything? Nine more Marines bite the big one in combat. Stupid is as stupid does!

From: (CNN.Com, May 14, 2005)

Add three more to the body count. They just don't learn how to stay alive, do they? Didn't boot camp serve any purpose?

The military is finally acknowledging that they have reckless punks for pilots. This is what our tax dollars pay for, folks, people to play with government property and destroy it for fun. Good going, soldiers.

From: (CNN.Com, May 9, 2005)

Stupidity comes to Central New York. Two soldiers from Fort Drum, which is about 90 minutes from the Forsake The Troops headquarters died, due to an "explosive device" that didn't work as it was intended. You might say the choice to join the military...well...blew up in their faces.

From: (WWNYTV.NET May 2, 2005) get the idea. The site's most charming feature is its photographic depiction of wounded and dead Americans with insulting captions, entitled "punk soldiers." I'll let you check that one out for yourselves.

Mr. Crook is, of course, exercising his right to free speech--a nationwide service brought to you courtesy of the US Armed Forces, now a global enterprise. This is the sort of exercise that makes a soldier cynical, however. I can attest first-hand that it's easy to let this kind of excess lead you into thinking, "what am I defending their liberty for? They don't appreciate it and don't deserve it." That road leads to fascism, however. There are some who seriously think the US is already travelling that path. Citizen soldiers must just be resigned to the fact that this sort of thing is an inevitable undesired indirect effect of obtaining their national strategic objectives and end state. That is paltry consolation, however, in the face of something this egregious. My Christianity forbids me from wanting to off this meat puppet. But...temptation knocks.....

It seems that both Mr. Crook and Prof. Bacevich hail from some weird, dark corner of ideology where right and left meet out in the back alley. Basevich in The New American Militarism calls himself a "moderate conservative" but rails against how "neocons and evangelicals" have coopted American strategy. Mr. Crook endorses many leftist anti-military initiatives, but is also a white supremacist. (There is a revealing interview here. More interesting stuff here concerning his own attempt at military service.) Here is a picture, just in case you happen to run across him and have a metal bat handy. He looks more like Bunthorne from Patience than anyone else I can think of. (To understand him, cling passionately to one another and think of faint lilies...)

There is also significant evidence that Crook set all this up as a way of advertising the sale of webhosting space he owns. Crook is certainly no stranger to wierd publicity--he faked his own death and then tried to sell his "forsake the troops" domain name for $10K on e-bay. Quite the budding entrepreneur, our young troop-hater. This whole thing is just as odious if it is a publicity stunt and not ideologically motivated--perhaps more so. But is his antimilitarism's affectation just born of a morbid love of admiration? Dunno. Could this be part of an eeevil Karl Rove plot to rouse the party faithful? I'll never tell.

Seriously, perhaps this strange nexus of right and left betokens the beginning of a fundamental poltical realignment, where those of the Crook and Basevich stripe (agnostic/atheist, relativist, materialist, isolationist, fiscally conservative but socially liberal) join with the left (atheist/agnostic, relativist, materialist, internationalist (that is, favoring surrender of foreign policy to international bodies like the UN), fiscally and socially liberal/radical) against some new alliance yet to be named--"religious," perhaps (God-believing, "absolutist," naturalist, pro-American (and proactive), fiscally and socially conservative-to-mildly libertarian).

There's another issue at work here. Whether Crook hails from right or left, and whether he's doing this for money and fame or out of conviction, he is able to say what he does with impunity and minimal negative reaction because the terms of public discourse have been coarsened over the last few years. Both right and left have played their parts--the right with its often-unbalanced coverage of Clinton; the left with its Bush-Chimpy-Hitler meme. The left is more at fault, however, since its rhetoric and actions have been more virulent, more violent, and more recent. It's probably no coincidence that Crook lives in upstate NY--a land of finger lakes, snow plows, bolsheviks, and muslim infiltrators from Caunckistan. This part of the state voted overwhelimingly for Kerry in '04. Mr. Crook probably wouldn't fare as well in my part of Alabama.

It also shouldn't be surprising that this kind of rhetoric is "on the table" in public life today:

This soldier [picture of dead American] was not a victim of anything else but his own poor choices. Forsake The Troops spits on him and all other "veterans" who died because of something that they chose to do.

...when the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee says things like this routinely:

You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home and still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well Republicans, I guess can do that. Because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives."

(Here's more from Reverend Dean) ....or when the Secretary General of Amnesty International likens Gitmo to the Soviet Gulag:

Guantanamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law.

By peddling the politics of fear and division, this new agenda has also encouraged intolerance, racism, and xenophobia.

Let's see...making 520 enemy combatants strip to their underwear and suffer verbal "abuse" equals seven million zeks frozen, starved, and shot. Right. (Reynolds has good coverage here.)

The fact that a)I didn't see anything quite as verminous as Crook's site even at the height of the Vietnam War and b) it has elicited less outrage than Janet Jackson's nipple does not bode well for the terms of civil discourse in this country.

Monk the Reckless Punk

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