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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

James Taranto to Head to Iraq? 

What can we say but "Semper fi"?

The royal we being James Taranto of Wall Street Journal's polemic OpinionJournal commenting on a letter apparently written by Marc Fencil, a senior at Ohio University who is also a Marine currently stationed in Iraq and published in The Post, the student newspaper. Fencil, sarcastically criticizing students who had staged a "die-in" to protest the “liberation” of Iraq, invites them to shower, shave and head on over for a real “die-in.”

While Fencil does make some great points, humorous too – and while it is easy to take aim at annoying, pampered university students who have never seen a day of combat resort to staging “die-ins” while real people are being blown to bits -- he goes beyond that, unfortunately weakening his argument and revealing his own lack of understanding about what he’s doing there.
There is a man here, we just call him al-Zarqawi, but we think he'd be delighted to sit down and give you some advice on how you can further disrespect the victims of Sept. 11 and the 1,600 of America's bravest who have laid down their lives for a safer world.

Actually, protesting the war in Iraq has as much to do with disrespecting victims of September 11th than America’s stated desire to rid the world of evil dictators has to do wit the “re-election” of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The widely publicized report by the 911 Commission found no tie to Saddam Hussein and September 11th, despite the foul-mouthed Dick Cheney’s protestations to the contrary. Marc Fencil may have good reasons for choosing to become a Marine, and his motives may well be admirable, but his sacrifice is of his own choosing. Fencil fails to appreciate that the “die-ins” might also be designed to draw attention to the perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who are maimed, dead or orphaned, for whom the opening of a school means precious little. To characterize those sentiments as somehow disrespectful to the victims of September 11th is not only a stretch, it’s simply delusional.

And while students staging protests against a war must appear as a joke to servicemembers fighting, it shouldn’t be forgotten that thousands of American students peacefully protesting for the release of Nelson Mandela, while not quite the same as laboring in lime quarries on Robben Island for twenty five years, eventually did have a collective impact on world opinion and Mandela’s eventual release.

Fencil also writes that if Michael Moore “can shave and lose enough weight to fit into a pair of camouflage utilities, then he can come too!” If a pampered, overweight “journalist” like James Taranto could fit into a pair of camouflage utilities perhaps he too should head on over. Unlikely though. This clown prefers to inflame Muslim extremism so that Wall Street Journal writers end up being treated like Daniel Pearl rather than Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

Without minimizing the sacrifices made by Marc Fencil or his choice to fight for his country, it’s disheartening to think that he’s been successfully duped into thinking September 11th has anything to do with Iraq.

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