One of my favorite authors is a guy named Peter David. He started out as a sales guy for Marvel Comics, started writing them (his 12-year run on The Incredible Hulk is considered by many THE definitive Hulk, and was a major inspiration for the movie). He’s a lifelong Star Trek fan, too. He wrote the comics for a while, moved on to novels and became the best-selling Star Trek author, and has been honored with creating his own Star Trek series (Star Trek: New Frontier only exists in novels and a single comic so far, but it’s the best-selling line of Star Trek novels out there). He also wrote for Babylon 5 and Crusade, and co-created the series Space Cases. His own original novels (“Knight Life” — King Arthur returns and runs for mayor of New York — and the Sir Apropos of Nothing trilogy, which features the single most despicable, unlikable, contemptible protagonist I’ve ever seen) have also been best-sellers.
He’s also a man of passions and principle. He’s a big proponent of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal assistance for comic shops that find themselves in trouble with the law over First Amendment issues. In fact, as a fund-raiser for the CBLDF, he got a tattoo (featuring a character from Elfquest), which is a big, BIG no-no for Jews, and he “sells” looks at it (it’s on his ARM) in exchange for donations.
But he’s also a bit of a left-wing whacko. He’s railed against Bush and his administration from day one. He’s posted gratuitous cheap shots and long-winded rants. HIs web site has a “Freedom Clock” that’s counting down the seconds to the end of Bush’s presidency. And he tells those who say they’ll boycott his work for his politics to, in effect, kiss his ass.
I disagree with him fiercely, but I don’t let that color my appreciation for his works and his deeds. (How the hell could you hate a man who has Jean-Luc Picard say, when asked if he runs Starfleet Academy, “I could never see myself heading up a school for such gifted youngsters?”) And recently, he inadvertently helped me to realize something that has always bugged me about the arguments of the anti-war crowd.
PAD (he often goes by his initials) said, as many others have, that he supports the troops, but opposes the war. He used the phrase “sending them off to die,” and it finally clicked.
The liberals who talk like that are showing their disrespect for our troops when they use phrases like that. We are not “sending them off to die.” We’re sending them off to SERVE. That service may put them in danger, and might even cost them their lives, but they are not going off to die. They’re too good for that.
What finally gelled it all for me was re-watching “Patton.” In the incredible speech delivered in the opening, he makes the following point:
Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
It’s the OTHER SIDE that “sends their forces off to die,” often with bombs strapped to their bodies. Our forces are heavily invested in avoiding death, both their own and those of their adversaries. The United States has put more money,time, and effort into developing less-than-lethal weaponry than any other nation in history — quite possibly more than all others combined.
So the next time you hear someone spout off about “sending our troops off to die,” ask them just why they think that our troops are so stupid and incompetent that they would do that. There’s a difference between being sent off on a risky mission and on a suicide mission, and to confuse the two is the grossest insult I can imagine.