Kelley Vlahos' column from last Sunday, firing back at supposedly "conservative" apologists for the blatant war crime of body desecration recently captured on video in Afghanistan, is arguably the finest critique in months of what has gone so horribly wrong with the right in our country:
"Writers at The Weekly Standard, National Review, The Washington Times and Commentary have been ruthless non-apologists for the indiscriminate killing of non-whites as a means to their ends, from the “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq and the flattening of Fallujah to the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, today’s drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, and all of the wars’ human repercussions (death, disease, displacement). In their world, these are always treated as time-wasting, politically motivated afterthoughts that merely muddy their own paper-white narrative."
The blanket support demanded by these reactionaries for this litany of destruction, death and worse is anything but "conservative." It's radical in the extreme. They have been at it for so long, as Vlahos notes, that there is no longer any daylight between these once staid publications and the most hateful supremacists.
Vlahos takes aim at Bill Kristol in particular:
"Now, Kristol, in an effort, again, to downplay what many are already calling a war crime, has declared U.S Marines urinating on (desecrating) Afghan corpses part of an American military tradition.
But it’s also worth noting that pissing has a distinguished place in American military history. Most famously, General George S. Patton relieved himself in the Rhine on March 24, 1945—and made sure he was photographed doing so. …
It wasn’t just American generals who seemed preoccupied with pissing back in 1945. Three weeks earlier, Winston Churchill had visited the front lines near Jülich. Churchill had long dreamed of urinating on Hitler’s much-vaunted Siegfried Line to show his contempt for Hitler and Nazism…
So perhaps, as Rep. Allen West, once a battalion commander in Iraq, put it last week, all the sanctimonious Obama administration bigwigs “need to chill.” Did Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta really need to speak up at all?Does Kristol realize he is comparing dead men to a river or a territorial boundary, suggesting these corpses were never human at all?"
Whether or not Kristol has any moral compass left at all is another good question. To quote Allen West, a man who managed to wiggle his way out of war crimes charges and is rejected by our country's most respected veteran's organizations, on the matter of war crimes is obscene.
"Kristol and his ilk don’t think much of the Geneva Conventions, so it is almost not worth the breath to remind them that desecrating corpses is in violation of international treaty, but it is also against military law, which means the Marines already recognize such desecration is not heroic, funny, eye-for-an-eye, nor proof of battlefield supremacy. It’s wrong."
Funny how even suggesting such behavior was happening in World War II or even Vietnam is taboo, but today Kristol and his more deranged ideological offspring like Pamela Geller of the popular Atlas Shrugs website, now appear to be cheering it on, even questioning the loyalty and politics of those who don’t.
“I love these Marines,” wrote Geller after the story broke last week. “Perhaps this is the infidel interpretation of the Islamic ritual of washing and preparing the body for burial.”
What a hoot! Even scarier are the comments, some of which suggest that if al Qaeda wants to field an army of bloodthirsty psychos, beheading and dismembering their enemies and desecrating the dead, then our Marines have every right to do it too."
Again, these people have moved so far from American tradition and basic notions of honor that to describe their views as anything other than dangerously radical is ridiculous. It's "not" conservative by any historical standard.