Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2003/ 7 Tishrei, 5764

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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When military folk make me hinky | The valor and sacrifice of our men and women in the military entitle them to an ethereal pass on criticism. One shuns speaking ill of those who put their lives on the line for liberty.

However, Gen Wesley Clark's tossing of his hat into one of the rings in the Democrats' circus presidential pool overpowers decorum. Eisenhower was a general, a military man. Teddy Roosevelt was a "Charge!" kind of leader. Gen. Clark fits specs Ellen Goodman and Ralph Nader would conjure up at a jojoba conference in Berkeley: pro-choice, anti-war.

General Clark makes me hinky, and not just because he's from Arkansas. Clark has taken the king's gold, but now bad-mouths the king. Clark has trouble with loyalty. Indeed, Clark has trouble following orders.

In 1994, Clark was sent to Bosnia by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for fact-finding. Clark was told by the State Department not to meet with Serbian officials because of their involvement in, oh, war crimes. But, like all good liberals, Clark couldn't pass up the chance to make nice with fascist dictators. Clark not only met with Ratko Mladic, a still-wanted Serbian war criminal, he and the murderous general were photographed wearing each other's army hats. The Weekly Standard features the photo in its Sept. 29th issue.

Clark's treatment of Mr. Bush is inexcusably bizarre. Clark told NBC's Tim Russert that the White House called on Sept. 11, 2001 with orders for him to go on CNN and blame Saddam Hussein for the attacks. When the White House denied the command, and Clark couldn't name a White House contact, he back-pedaled and said the orders came from a "Middle East think tank in Canada." Ah, confusing the two would be easy. The think tank is a one-man operation, the Montreal office of Israel's Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies. The one man from Canada denies ordering an American general what to say on CNN. Odd, Thomas Eagleton odd.

There is a cadre of Clark military men and women, those who take the gold but hate the work, publicly bemoaning their lot in the military life they have chosen. I wonder if Gen. Clark would surrender his pension out of principle. No, because gutting armies is the goal.

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Mrs. Candance Robinson has been floating about the various news shows because she and her husband, a reservist stationed in Iraq, believe the president doesn't have a clear plan for Iraq and, as a result, her husband is bored and would like to come home. Well, la-de-da!.

Plug into Mrs. Robinson's group, Military Families Speak Out (, and you hit one box in a complex Fortran flow chart of organized whiners and complainers such as Bring Them Home Now, Veterans for Peace, and Veterans Against Iraq War.

An excerpt from Susan Schuman's thoughts about the war and her son in Iraq, ". . . where he is stationed, they are under constant ambush. . . . They're engaged in guerrilla warfare on a daily basis." Imagine, a soldier in a war zone being subjected to such hostilities!

The crux of family protest groups' issues percolates in Schuman's letter, "Of course, he's in the National Guard and these guys and gals are all signed up and are perfectly willing to do the job. But they find themselves in a situation where it wasn't what they bargained for." Translation: "We wanted the benefits and pay but, like, war??? This is so bait and switch."

Another MFSO member moans, "We have pacifists and those who are trying to figure out why their kids are in the military." Their kids are in the military because they joined, voluntarily, and now have a change of heart brought on by the harsh realities of a world inflicted with terrorism. They dump their miscalculations at their parents' doorsteps for resolution.

I wrote once before about Jaimie Strathmeyer, an Army Reservist who was called up for Afghanistan. She gave the New York Times a front-page story about the injustice of a mother going to war. She didn't think war was part of signing on for military service. Ms. Strathmeyer called me to object. After a national whining fit, she expressed anger at me for questioning her behavior, accusing me of being un-American.

Far more disturbing than the whining of these anti-war military groups are their subversive alignments. A vast, left-wing conspiracy exists. One group's motto is "Going to war 'on the wings of a lie,'" a quote from the New York Times' Thomas Friedman. Veterans' peace groups link to the forthcoming "Third Annual North American Conference on the Palestinian Solidarity Movement" at Rutgers University. Endorsing organizations for this intellectual feast include: Maui Earth Day Collective, Queers for Peace and Justice, QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism), Campus Greens, and the Communist Party of Argentina. Left-wing extremists use military families and Vets to garner attention and credibility.

What do members of these families and groups believe military forces do? They want Gen. Clark's army: Join for the perks. Don't like the orders? Circumstances change? Bored? In danger? Then fuss, complain, and question the commander-in-chief.

It's no way to run a country or a military. Little hope for peace exists in a world in which its strongest military force falls victim to the end-runs of its disloyal members. Be all that you can be, but honor the president and country you serve. Gen Clark, these Vets and current whining soldiers and their families should be ashamed.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2003, Marianne M. Jennings