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The Hewitt-Stein smackdown

Joel Stein caused quite a stir this week with his "I don't support the troops!" Op-Ed for the L.A. Times. I didn't bother to blog about it, however, because to me he seemed like just another moonbat, albeit a refreshingly candid one.

Likewise, I'm not normally a huge fan of Hugh Hewitt, who tends to be a bit too "shit sandwich-y" for my tastes.

Still, when Stein appeared on Hewitt's radio show, the result was one of the most satisfying smackdowns in the history of talk radio, and Radio Blogger has the audio and transcripts of Hewitt expertly showcasing Stein's idiocy for the world to see. I'll excerpt some of my favorite bits below.

HH: All right. Now who is your...this is a column about the troops that begins, "I don't support our troops." We'll get to the specifics in a second. But who is your closest family member or friend who is on active duty?

JS: That's an excellent question. I wouldn't say I have a very close friend. I would say only acquaintances. No family at all.

HH: Who are your acquaintances?

JS: There was a guy who works at Time, that's where I worked last, who quit to serve in the military.

HH: What's his name?

JS: (pause) You know, I'm blanking on his name. But your point is well taken that I don't have many people that I even know who are in the military.

HH: Do you have any, though, other than this guy at Time whose name you can't remember?

JS: Who are serving currently?

HH: Yeah.

JS: Or ever served?

HH: No, serving currently.

JS: Or only in Iraq?

HH: Active duty. Anywhere in the world.

JS: (pause) I'd say I've been pretty isolated from that. I mean, that's a point I made in the column.
HH: ...I'm asking you, did you support them when they invaded Afghanistan?

JS: I've had really complicated emotions about Afghanistan. Obviously, I wanted to get Osama bin Laden and take out al Qaeda. I didn't know if that was the best method of doing it at the time.

HH: So, you didn't support them then?

JS: I did not support the invasion of Afghanistan, no.

HH: Did you support the troops when they were in the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, when the terrorists hit it?

JS: Sure.

HH: And so, what's the difference between supporting them there and not supporting them in Afghanistan or Iraq?

JS: Well, I think I said it clear in the column, too. I don't have a...if you are for the war in Iraq, I think obviously, then you should support the troops. My problem is the people who are against the war and support the troops anyway, I think that's kind of an excuse. I think that's a way of making you feel better about your guilt, and I think that's kind of a lazy form of pacifism.
HH: We have troops in Yemen, Mongolia, Jabuti, all across the globe in the Global War On Terror. Do you support those troops?

JS: It really...uh, the straight up troops? Or do you mean like...it really depends on the activity, but no, I don't...I don't believe that our forces should be a police force.
HH: And the people who've died in Afghanistan. Have they died in vain?

JS: Well, if they haven't, what have they accomplished?

HH: I'm asking you, Joel. You wrote the column. You tell me. Have they accomplished nothing?

JS: Well, um, do I think that I, as an American, are safer because of what they did?

HH: That wasn't what I asked. I askd did they accomplish anything in going to Afghanistan.

JS: If I were an Afghani, I would probably...if I lived in Kabul, I probably would think that they accomplished something, sure.
HH: Now, and in your piece, you wrote that, "when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes, you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times, it's Vietnam." Did you support the war in Kosovo?

JS: I had very mixed feelings about the war in Kosovo. Again, I don't know if the U.S. should be used as a police force.

HH: Well, mixed feelings is...you know, someone...either you've got to go or you don't. Should Clinton have sent them?

JS: At the time, I thought he shouldn't.

HH: And so, should they come home now?

JS: The troops in Kosovo?

HH: Yeah.

JS: The U.N. peacekeeping force in Kosovo? Or the U.S. part of the peacekeeping force in Kosovo?

HH: All of them. Just, you know, just U.S. Let's stay focused. Should they come home?

JS: To be honest...I'd like to know more about Kosovo before I said.

Sorry, but that's all I can take of this pant-load. You can read the rest if you want to. I actually had a lot more respect for Stein before this pathetic attempt to "explain" his column. He should have kept his mouth shut and left well enough alone, but Hewitt gave him a shovel and he just kept digging....


I particularly like this quote from Stein, "I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country."

The growing up with money and privilege, I buy, the not even serving on jury duty, makes sense too....but no one who "did well in school" (at least on any serious level) could possibly enter into a discussion so ill prepared as to have to say this about his own opinion about the U.S. action in the Balkans, "To be honest...I'd like to know more about Kosovo before I said."

Generally Joel Stein is a complete dope and not a particularly good writer either. I've read his earlier Time pieces, as well.

The one thing he's right about, is the inanity of those Liberals who claim to "oppose the war and suppport the troops."

It's been said many, many times, "If you support the troops, you support what they do."

At least Joel Stein is honest. He's still a dope, but at least he's a candid one.

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