Waking Joe Repya: He's back and STILL tired!

Joe Repya, as you may recall, wrote an op-ed piece about how tired he was with a whole list of boogeymen back in 2004.  The letter became the darling of the Rightwing nuts and circulated across the Internet. (Repya was identified by his military rank, but not by his co-chairmanship of Veterans for Bush).  Well, it's back and making the rounds, because Repya is running to head the Minnesota Republican Party.

Below is his list of beefs, punctuated by my point-by-point response.  Could be a fun read...

I'm Tired--

    Two weeks ago, as I was starting my sixth month of duty in Iraq, I was forced to return to the USA for surgery for an injury I sustained prior to my deployment. With luck, I'll return to Iraq to finish my tour.

      I left Baghdad and a war that has every indication that we are winning, to return to a demoralized country much like the one I returned to in 1971 after my tour in Vietnam. Maybe it's because I'll turn 60 years old in just four months, but I'm tired:

 I'm tired of "a war that has every indication that we are winning" about three years ago but has produced little mroe than ever more death, destruction and squandered resources.

      I'm tired of spineless politicians, both Democrat and Republican who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to see these difficult tasks through.

I'm tired of spineless people who who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to admit when we've made a mistake and take action to correct it.  I'm tired of people who lack enough sense to stop digging when they discover they're in a hole. Col. Repya might consider the words of a real conservative, Edmund Burke: "A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood."

      I'm tired of the hypocrisy of politicians who want to rewrite history when the going gets tough.

I'm tired of anyone -- including politicians and their hacks -- who: a) thinks that the history he or she carries around in his or her head is the true, complete and accurate history; and b) willfully edits history to suit his or her needs and justify his or her deeds, prejudices and desires.

      I'm tired of the disingenuous clamor from those that claim they 'Support the Troops' by wanting them to 'Cut and Run' before victory is achieved.

I'm tired of the disingenuous clamor from those that claim they 'Support the Troops' by wanting them to continue to be squandered in an objectiveless war initiated and "justified" with lies, with no definition of either "the enemy" or of "victory," without a proper mission or the proper training, proper rest, proper armor, proper medical care or proper support from the civilian economy.

I'm tired of the dishonest political hacks who continue to smear legitimate disagreements among patriotic Americans with cheap slogans such as "cut and run."  Hiding behind gross distortions of the ideas, plans and goals of those with whom you disagree (in this case, those who are trying to end the war) is evidence of both weakness and cowardice, in addition to dishonesty.  Men and women of character do not behave thusly.

"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." -- Benjamin Franklin

"May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"The president is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." --Teddy Roosevelt

      I'm tired of a mainstream media that can only focus on car bombs and casualty reports because they are too afraid to leave the safety of their hotels to report on the courage and success our brave men and women are having on the battlefield.

I'm tired of a mainstream media that refuses, or is unable, to do its job of asking tough questions and digging for truth and -- instead -- simply repeats, and too often trumpets, the lies that launched, justified and perpetuated this war.  

I'm tired of a mainstream media that acts as an accomplice to the crimes committed by this administration.  

I'm tired of a mainstream media so bent on genuflecting to the "president who would be king" that it weaves denigration of the opposing viewpoints, and those who hold them, into its supposed objective news language and coverage.

      I'm tired that so many Americans think you can rebuild a dictatorship into a democracy over night.

I'm tired of living with the moronic notions that it is possible or proper -- ever -- to impose democracy on a foreign culture at the point of a gun and that it is possible to force-fit the heart of our less-than-300-year-old culture onto a culture that is thousands of years old, especially when we proudly proclaim that we are willfully ignorant of that culture's history, religion, politics, values, language and world view.  (Even worse, when we deliberately taint the entire culture and entire population with the ugliness of a few nutjob fanatics.)  I'm tired of the blinding arrogance of the notion that we should impose our culture and values on others.

"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going." -- Retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, on why he turned down the role of Bush "war czar," April 11, 2007.

      I'm tired that so many ignore the bravery of the Iraqi people to go to the voting booth and freely elect a Constitution and soon a permanent Parliament.

I'm tired of dishonest politicians and their hacks who prop up and knock down straw men whenever they lack a real argument.  (By the way, one ratifies -- not "elects" -- a constitution.  Also, constitution and parliament are common nouns, not proper nouns, so they don't get initial caps.)  Name one bonafide US news outlet, commentator or leader who even suggested the Iraqi elections should, or could, be ignored.  One.  Please.  

Oh yeah, I'm also tired of those who hold up the Iraqi elections as a glorious example without noting how gloriously flawed they were.  

I'm grew tired with (and appalled by, as Juan Cole wrote)

the cheerleading tone of US news coverage of the so-called elections in Iraq. According to our media, this event was a "political earthquake" and "a historical first step" for Iraq -- an event of the utmost importance, for Iraq, the Middle East, and the world. All the boosterism has a kernel of truth to it, of course. Iraqis hadn't been able to choose their leaders at all in recent decades, even by some strange process where they chose unknown leaders. But this process was not a model for anything, and would not willingly be imitated by anyone else in the region. The 1997 elections in Iran were much more democratic, as were the 2002 elections in Bahrain and Pakistan.

Moreover, the Bush administration opposed one-person, one-vote elections of this sort.  If it had been up to Bush, Iraq would have been a soft dictatorship under Chalabi, or would have had stage-managed elections with an electorate consisting of a handful of pro-American notables. It was Sistani and the major Shiite parties that demanded free and open elections and a UNSC resolution. They did their job and got what they wanted. But the Americans were unable to provide them the requisite security for truly aboveboard democratic elections.

The Iraqis did not know the names of the candidates for whom they were supposedly voting. What kind of an election is anonymous?! There were even some angry politicians late in election week who found out they had been included on lists without their permission. Al-Zaman compared the election process to buying fruit wholesale and sight unseen. (This is the part of the process that I called a "joke," and I stand by that.)

This thing was more like a referendum than an election. It was a referendum on which major party list associated with which major leader would lead parliament.

Many of the voters came out to cast their ballots in the belief that it was the only way to regain enough sovereignty to get American troops back out of their country.


      I'm tired of the so called 'Elite Left' that prolongs this war by giving aid and comfort to our enemy, just as they did during the Vietnam War.

I'm tired of Rightwing nuts who violate the spirit, heart and dream of America by equating legitimate disagreement among patriots with treason.  If they don't like dissent, perhaps they should move to some fascist nation where dissent is disallowed.  And before they go, they can express their un-American views with Bush-appointed cabinet member Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who recently said: "The debate in Congress ... has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited.  The strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact ... in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment."

      I'm tired of antiwar protesters showing up at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. A family who's loved ones gave their life in a just and noble cause, only to be cruelly tormented on the funeral day by cowardly protesters is beyond shameful.

As noted above, I'm tired of dishonest politicians and their hacks who prop up and knock down straw men whenever they lack a real argument.  Searching the Internet, I am unable to find any anti-war protests at funerals of fallen soldiers.  CNN cited one, but it was really something else:  The protest was staged by members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas and they were protesting the funerals because they are anti-gay bigots and they claim that God is killing our soldiers to punish us for homosexuality.

I'm also tired of the perversion of describing this war as "a just and noble cause."  This war may very well turn out to be the most hideous crime and most vile sin perpetrated during most of our lifetimes.

      I'm tired that my generation, the Baby Boom -- Vietnam generation, who have such a weak backbone that they can't stomach seeing the difficult tasks through to victory.

I repeat:  I'm tired of spineless men who who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to admit when we've made a mistake and take action to correct it.  I'm tired of people who lack enough sense to stop digging when they discover they're in a hole. Col. Repya might consider the words of a real conservative, Edmund Burke: "A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood."

I'm also tired of the sweeping generalizations of bigotry -- as in calling an entire generation of Americans "weak."

      I'm tired that some are more concerned about the treatment of captives than they are the slaughter and beheading of our citizens and allies.

As noted twice above, I'm tired of dishonest politicians and their hacks who prop up and knock down straw men whenever they lack a real argument.   Show me one leader, political or otherwise, who even suggests that we should be more concerned about the treatment of captives than the slaughter and beheading of our citizens and allies.  One.  Please.  

Oh, and in case you're not clear on this point:  Using straw men is a dishonest tactic -- it's a form of lying.

      I'm tired that when we find mass graves it is seldom reported by the press, but mistreat a prisoner and it is front page news.

First, I'm tired of accusations lacking a substantive basis.  Try a simple test:  Go to Google News and search for mass graves.  You'll find them covered by mainstream media worldwide and without delay.  (I suppose Col. Repya may have a special way of learning about mass graves -- to which the rest of us are not privy -- and he has become aware of many mass graves that have gone unreported by the press.  If so, he should let us all in on it.)

Second, I'm tired of people not understanding (or pretending not to understand) what news is.  News is the unexpected; news is what is not happening most of the time.  

Example:  If an airplane lands safely, that's not news, because we expect airplanes to land safely and most of the time they do.  If an airplane crashes, that is news, because we don't expect them to crash and most of the time they don't.  

The same with mass graves and mistreated prisoners.  We expect people we perceive as bad to do evil things, because they do evil things frequently; we do not expect people we perceive as good to do evil things, because they don't do them very often:  Thus, the "good guys" doing something bad is bigger news than the "bad guys" doing something bad.
 
If Col. Repya is tired of the free press, perhaps he should move to some fascist nation where the press is more tightly controlled.

      Mostly, I'm tired that the people of this great nation didn't learn from history that there is no substitute for Victory.

Sincerely,
                         Joe Repya,
                         Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Army
                         101st Airborne Division

I'm tired of myopic men still trapped in an outdated machismo that used to be a culturally acceptable mask for their personal insecurities and weaknesses, but is now a sad and pathetic relic of a time long -- and blessedly -- passed.  I'm tired of their immature, immoral and impractical notion of what victory means, with its foolish reliance on dominance, force and power over (rather than power with) others.  

"War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses." -- Thomas Jefferson

In short, I'm tired of grown men -- especially those offering themselves as leaders of one sort or another -- acting like teenage boys.  That includes you, Joe.

Published

April 26, 2007 - 3:42pm

Author

randomness