Bush Tones Down Attack?
After fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy. "People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," Bush said, three days after agreeing with Vice President Dick Cheney that the critics were "reprehensible." The president also praised Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., as "a fine man" and a strong supporter of the military despite the congressman's call for troop withdrawal as soon as possible.Sorry, but I just don't see any toning down here. Of course people should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions — nobody I've seen on the right has suggested otherwise. But they should not feel comfortable expressing falsehoods in order to bolster their opinions, not when those falsehoods give aid and comfort to the enemy. And I'm sure Murtha is indeed a fine man, with a history of supporting the military in general, but he's wrong on this war, and he's been wrong on it since the beginning.
Last week, TigerHawk wrote a thoughtful piece on the tension between dissent and patriotism. See also Instapundit's take.
This has always been a contentious issue, going back to Burke's support for the American rebels, and Thoreau's condemnation of the USAn invasion of Mexico. Could they be described as unpatriotic, or even as traitors? FTR, I think Burke is best seen as having taken sides in a civil war, so the question of patriotism didn't arise. And Thoreau explicitly rejected patriotism, or any duty of loyalty to a country, so he wouldn't object to being so described.