January 25, 2006

The Interview From Hell

Hugh Hewitt absolutely eviscerated LA Times columnist Joel Stein in an interview on his radio show yesterday. Stein, who penned an appalling essay published in the Times that starts off with the statement "I don't support our troops", seem to squirm while attempting to more fully articulate his moonbat positions on the military as the transcript shows Hewitt grilling him like a porterhouse steak.

Here's a portion:

Hugh Hewitt (HH): I want to make sure I quote it correctly. "I don't support our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car." Evidently, supporting the troops is a bumper sticker position?

Joel Stein (JS): It's not. Supporting the troops is. I think a lot of people have bumper stickers, and really don't do anything else, and are against the war, and have the bumper sticker anyway.

HH: "And at the end, I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after Vietnam." That's big of you. "But we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea." What I'm trying to figure out is what do you think is a good idea for the military to do?

JS: Well, again, that's not what my column was about, and that's something that people talk about constantly, and people give opinions on. There's a lot of Americans who are against this war and still think we should have a military.

HH: Now wait. This is the last...well, let me give you the two last paragraphs of your column. "I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War. But we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health, and a safe and immediate return. But please no parades. Seriously, the traffic is insufferable." So you obviously do not honor their service?

JS: I don't honor their service? The people serving in Iraq right now?

HH: Yeah.

JS: I honor them as human beings, and I want them home safe.

HH: But you don't honor their service?

JS: And honestly, I think that all these...for people who don't believe in the war and are putting up these stickers saying they support the troops anyway, my fear is that it's prolonging the war and putting them in further danger they don't need to be in.

HH: But Joel, I'm talking about you. I'm talking about what you honor, and you obviously don't honor military service.

JS: I honor police service. I honor military service. Any...I just think that...

HH: You do honor military service?

JS: Yeah. No, I'm grateful for people that serve in the military.

HH: But you don't support our troops?

JS: I don't...I don't believe in supporting the troops in an action that you don't believe in.

HH: And so, that would be everything I've named thus far. So I guess...did you support and honor the troops in the Pentagon on 9/11?

JS: Sure, yeah.

HH: All right.

JS: All the troops that are here to defend our country, I'm very, very grateful for. I'm grateful for the police...

HH: Provided they don't leave the country?

JS: Yeah, provided they don't fight in wars that I think are endangering them for no reason.

HH: And the moment they do, you stop honoring them?

JS: The moment I do, I think it's a poor idea to show support for them and prolong that engagement.

So Stein is pretty adamant about how he feels about our military and their various deployments overseas when he sits down and craps out what he undoubtably believes is a masterpiece. But when asked for clarification, he doesn't have the sack to say what he really means - that deep-down he really would like to spit on returning Veterans they way people like him used to do back in the good old days. But the most he's comfortable advocating these days is "no parades please".

Reading through the transcript, I can't help but recall a quote from the movie "Goodfellas" when Joe Pesci's Tommy DeVito says "You know Spider, you're a f*****' mumbling stuttering little prick. You know that?"

UPDATE: From around the 'sphere:
Captain Ed:

Supporting the troops really just means that you appreciate that they stand ready to carry out the policies of the United States in defense of our freedom and liberty, as expressed in the policies of our elected government. That has no bearing on any particular mission or enterprise, but instead comes from the sacrifice offered by our fellow citizens in uniform to give their lives so that we may remain free -- free to select our own leaders, free to write blogs, free to disagree with each other ... and in Stein's case, free to make an ass of himself by writing one of the most ill-conceived pieces of tripe published in a major media outlet.

Let’s break this down. Patriotism means “love and devotion to one’s country.” Dissent means “to withhold assent or approval.” Showing love can include disagreeing, but most often is an expression of approval and acceptance. Unless you’re a bumper sticker lefty, in which case according to the one on who’s car I spotted the ratty sticker, the highest form of love of country that it’s possible to show is one that constantly withholds approval of that country. Period. Being a bumper sticker, there weren’t any qualifiers like “when it’s clearly, unambiguously wrong” or “when it’s run by totalitarians like Stalin and Hitler and freedom has to be won back.” Just any old time, the best thing you can do for your country is to disapprove of it.

Very nice. I guess that makes me a very patriotic Frenchman.

WhatÂ’s most disturbing is that the same person who thinks that bumper sticker is true enough to make it a part of their car is actually allowed to operate that car on the same roads as the rest of us.

In the final breakdown, the sticker really is an exercise in self-flattery. “I disagree with this country. And that makes me better than you and all those deluded fools sent off on that war and stuff.”

Dr. Rusty Shackleford:
The underlying assumption of [Stein's column] is that wars are fought by Administrations, not by nations. By joining the military a soldier is volunteering as an extension of the Bush Administration. Hence, the soldier is complicit in Bush's alleged crimes.

While Administrations may start wars, they do not fight them. Nations fight wars.

There was no war against the Nazis. We fought Germany. And the Roosevelt Administration did not fight in WWII, America did. America is at war. When did the Left stop being part of America?

This is why the antiwar position is unpatriotic. This is America's war, and to be against it is to be against America.

There is a time to be against a war, and that time is before the war begins. Strategies for victory are legitimate debate, but as long as troops are on the ground then that is where debate should end.

In past wars an article like this would have landed the author in jail. Encouraging troops in battle to disobey commands is worse than the kind of defeatism that FDR would have arrested you for--it is inciting to treason.

UPDATE II: Another article by the unfunny Stein that shows how he really feels about the military.

h/t: The Corner, via Michelle Malkin

Posted by: Gary at 10:15 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 1276 words, total size 8 kb.

1 That's so strange...I had a different take. I listened to Dennis Prager talk about it earlier in the day, then blogged about it. I missed Hewitt because of work; but found out about him having Stein on his program. So I listened to the audio and followed the transcript. Personally, even though I agree Stein's ignorance is shameful, what I got from reading his article is this point: that the people who claim they support the troops but not their mission are wusses and liars- to others and to themselves. That's the whole point Stein was trying to make. He was just trying to be honest about it, rather than chant the Leftist lie that they support the troops, when they secretly feel otherwise, and their actions speak otherwise.

Posted by: wordsmith at January 25, 2006 10:33 AM (nrGCx)

2 Well, that's his story. That he's just being honest about it. It's also his rationalization for the column. But what he keeps dancing around in the interview is his utter contempt for the military in general - disingenuously grasping for nice things to say about it. This makes him a bigger wuss and a bigger liar than the people he criticizes.

Posted by: Gary at January 25, 2006 11:08 AM (QoxB+)

3 Rough week for Stein. He even made Atrios' Wanker of the Week.

Posted by: Cynical Nation at January 25, 2006 11:51 AM (vC1jc)

4 How does it make him a bigger wuss and a bigger liar? He's not lying by openly admitting to not supporting the troops! The liars are the ones who claim to support the troops, but at every turn, commit actions that speak otherwise. He's calling those "supporters" out on it. Yes he's clueless and out of touch in his views of the military. But this is missing the point of the article itself. And I also saw the comments over at Atrios. Sucks to be him when he's getting it from the left and the right.

Posted by: wordsmith at January 25, 2006 01:30 PM (nrGCx)

5 I'm not talking about the stated premise of Stein's column, I'm talking about the interview. Stein says he doesn't support the troops on this particular mission but when Hewitt presses him he's unable to clarify under what circumstances he does support the troops. If Stein were truly honest he would come right out and say he wouldn't support the troops under any circumstances. His own words betray him in his column when he refers to the military as "a fighting tool of American imperialism". (Another example of Stein's real feelings about the troops is in the latest update to this post). He wants to be able to say, "hey, I don't support the troops in Iraq, but it's cool because at least I'm upfront about it - not like those other phonies". He's trying to rationalize his position while hiding his true contempt for the military. He just didn't expect Hewitt to call him on it.

Posted by: Gary at January 25, 2006 02:47 PM (PLHs9)

6 Ok...let's discuss the interview, then. I think what it reveals, more than an outright hatred of the military, is that he really hasn't thought that deeply on the matter. Hugh Hewitt probed him for specifics on why the ingratitude of the military, and he sounded unprepared. He wanted to discuss the point of his article, which went right by Hugh. Hugh was fixated on the substance of his anti-troop support position. Stein sounds like he hasn't really thought along the lines that Hugh is pressing him on. Not that he is trying to lie about his position. He sounded like he was reflecting upon his own feelings on the spot; not making up lies to cover his ass. He stands by his column. And Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin are picking him apart when they should be grateful for his column. THEY missed the point. Michael Medved is on-air right now, talking about it and has my same exact position. Actually, he goes even further. Joel Stein's article is a gift for those of us on the right of this war issue.

Posted by: wordsmith at January 25, 2006 03:28 PM (nrGCx)

7 Both the article and the interview reveal a lot about Stein and the Liberal camp in general. It's a mindset. Theirs is still pre-9/11. They'll admit we're at war but they'll say its only because we choose to be.

Posted by: Gary at January 25, 2006 03:53 PM (PLHs9)

8 Absolutely true. The difference between Stein and the others is, the others live in denial that they in fact don't support the troops. They might care about the soldiers (I'm sure a good many don't, and think of them as baby-killers) and want them home safely; but that's different than supporting them. When Dick Durbin slanders them by comparing Guantanamo to Gulags and death camps and makes front page news on al Jazeera...that is not supporting our troops. When John Murtha says he would not join our military today...that is demoralizing and not supporting our troops. Believing the white phosphorus spin at Fallujah...that is not supporting our troops. And yet, they always say "don't question our patriotism" and "we support the troops, but not their mission".

Posted by: wordsmith at January 25, 2006 10:36 PM (nrGCx)

9 Swiped a photo of him from his own website. What do you think?

Posted by: Wordsmith at January 25, 2006 11:52 PM (nrGCx)

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