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Friday, August 26, 2005

just grinding a political axe

Apparently, people who go to Crawford to protest (or counter-protest) the war in Iraq and who aren't "grieving family members" of the war dead just have a political axe to grind. At least, that's what Todd Zywicki is saying over at The Volokh Conspiracy.
My impression is that the overwhelming number of those down there are primarily professional activists rather than grieving family members suggested by the media. Nonetheless, the story I see coming from most of the media focuses on family members, thereby suggesting that most of the protestors are related to service members. I don't know that it changes the story that much, but to my mind, it would change my impression of the degree to which the various protestor sides actually speak for service members in any meaningful way as opposed to just grinding political axes.
Speaking as someone who's been against this war since before it started (and who did not go to join the Crawford protesters), I truly feel bad for the troops being sent off to die. To me, supporting the troops means using them for legitimate defense or these United States, not expending their precious lives so that some Iraqi woman can cast a ballot for the first time in her life. But none of my motivations matter; since I am not related to a war casuality, I guess my words don't speak for service members in any "meaningful way" and I simply have an axe to grind. Or does it become axe-grinding only if I take time off to go down to Crawford to protest?

It is also important to keep in mind that our armed services are a collection of individuals. As such, their political views and their feelings about this war vary across the political spectrum just like any other group of people. Nobody, prowar or antiwar, related to casualties or not, has the right to speak for their opinions; but everybody has the right to be concerned about their welfare, and the right to argue about what consitutes a legitimate reason to put them in harm's way.

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