Monday, November 28, 2005

Why maybe we should hurt troop morale

I think this news brief in the Washington Post oversimplifies a really important point about criticism of the Iraq War.

It's about a poll from bipartisan political consultantancy RT Strategies that found 70% of Americans think criticism of the war by Democrats senators hurts troops morale, with 44% saying it hurts morale "a lot." Even 55% of Democrats agree it hurts morale, with only 21% saying it helps.

That's a fair and interesting point. But in a sense, it's not surprising. I would certainly agree that, on the whole, criticism of the war probably hurts morale somewhat. But, well... so what?

The implication seems to be that Democrats shouldn't engage in criticism. I'm sure that's why conservative blogs like Instapundit are so eager to link.

But there are other considerations besides troop morale. Like... is it a just war? Were we misled into war? Are we losing the war?

Politicians certainly shouldn't hurt troop morale indiscriminately. But it's far from the only consideration. And maybe, when a war isn't going well or was built on deception, troops shouldn't be led to think they are doing a great job for a noble cause. It's tough to hear, since most troops are good people fighting hard for a cause they believe to be bigger than themselves -- as it should be. But as in all elements of life, sometimes the truth is tough to hear.

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