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General Patton and opposing the war on terror

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.



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Comments (17)

It's the difference between... (Below threshold)

It's the difference between Thermoplyae and Kamikaze

Patton also said he'd rathe... (Below threshold)

Patton also said he'd rather two German divisions in front of him than one French division behind him. Patton was a very smart man.

Like you, I'm a big fan of ... (Below threshold)

Like you, I'm a big fan of Peter David's work. As has been pointed on his blog several times, it's amazing that he can portray Captain Mackenzie Calhoun (from his New Frontier novels) as a hero when it seems like everything he posts on his blog would be completely counter to Calhoun's actions. I understand that authors don't always (or even usually) write characters they agree with all the time, it seems that when you rail against certain attitudes as evil, then have a major character be an embodiment of those attitudes in a lot of ways, it seems... odd.

(Of course, Joss Whedon is fairly anti-Bush, and he created Captain Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly, which puts him in pretty much the same boat.)

Very well said, Jay.... (Below threshold)

Very well said, Jay.

I love that opening scene, ... (Below threshold)

I love that opening scene, talk about a motivational speech.

Excellent point, and one wh... (Below threshold)

Excellent point, and one which has bugged me in a similar, unconscious fashion.

Thanks for gelling that into words.

I have not debated Peter Da... (Below threshold)

I have not debated Peter David on any political issue since 1998 -- where, umm, let's just say that our flame war is still Internet legend, as is the part where he deliberately put unflattering cameos of a caricature of me into his YOUNG JUSTICE comic a few months after. The guy was a flaming liberal ass, and a backshooting cheap-shot artist, even as far back as then -- and apparently, he hasn't changed much since.

But yeah, the man wrote one helluva good HULK run. And "Q-In-Law" still never fails to put me in stitches.

How a man can put so much good into the fictional world and utterly fail to recognize the same things in the real one mystifies me completely.

"I love that opening scene,... (Below threshold)

"I love that opening scene, talk about a motivational speech."

link to Patton's original speech, unedited:


Patton was an unsung genius... (Below threshold)

Patton was an unsung genius, extremely well-read and with a unique understanding of how to win the war. Had Eisenhower, Bradley and Montgomery listened to him from the start the war would have been over months or years earlier. Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent description of this in "Soul of Battle."

Excellent post Jay.... (Below threshold)
Jim Hines:

Excellent post Jay.

I thought Patton was doing ... (Below threshold)

I thought Patton was doing his 12 y/o niece.

wish it was you julie? lol ... (Below threshold)

wish it was you julie? lol j/k

Where did you hear that?

Now, Henry, that's creepy, ... (Below threshold)

Now, Henry, that's creepy, joking or not.

I first read of it in the LAT magazine about ten years ago. After, I posted, I double checked by searching the internet. It does seem to be true.

If it's any consolation, it was his wife's niece. So, it's less incestual, and just plain pedophilia.

And Ghandi liked naked 12 year old girls, too. hth

Yeah, I'm with you here. P... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I'm with you here. PAD is an excellent author, but his politics are pretty out-there.

But y'know what I appreciate about him most of all? For the most part, he manages to keep his political opinions out of his writing.

For example: in After The Fall, PAD's newest novel, he could've spent plenty of time drawing parallels to what's going on in the world. He chose not to.

Meanwhile, Christoper L. Bennett, author of Ex Machina, drew a direct parallel between Starfleet and the US, the Federation and the UN, and the Fabrini planet (Lorina, I believe) as the Arab world.

Fortunately, it didn't detract from the novel.

But a lot of authors could take lessons from PAD in keeping their political opinions out of their fiction. Even myself.

Love the quote!Cin... (Below threshold)

Love the quote!


Correct Jay Tea.It j... (Below threshold)

Correct Jay Tea.
It just goes to show you. Kamikaze tactics are the tactics of a loser.

You've hit on one of my own... (Below threshold)

You've hit on one of my own biggest pet peeves, J.

Short story:

Just after 911, (Wednesday, actually) a friendly acquaintance of mine and I were talking about the recent events. Then she said something that shocked me.

She said that what happened to the people at the pentagon was bad- but that didn't bother her as much as what happened to the people at the WTC. Because, "after all, they were military, they're paid to die. The WTC victims were innocents."

Uhm. No. The military are not "paid to die". They are paid to keep us all from dying or from being invaded, bombed, etc, etc.

She didn't know at the time that my husband was fresh out of the Navy, nor that he was a block away from the pentagon when it happened, nor that I was on the phone with him at the time and heard the crash.






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