August 24, 2008


David Harsanyi writes:

Biden on Haditha
In June 2006, straight-talking Joe Biden went on Meet the Press and demanded accountability from the administration for the so-called Haditha massacre. Biden spoke about the incident as if the accused marines were guilty (before a trial) and called on the administration to proceed — and to be treated — as if there were a cover-up at the highest levels of government.

Well, it turned out Biden was wrong about Haditha. Eight of the Marines charged for the “massacre” and “coverup” have already been exonerated. (One case is still pending.)...

[Thanks to
Glenn R]

He writes that Biden ought to admit he was wrong and apologize, especially since Biden demanded apologies and admissions of mistakes from the administration. In fact demanded that the Secretary of Defense should be fired immediately!

I completely agree with Harsanyi, but I don't think that's what's most important here.

There are claims made on us by things that are higher and more important than our selves. Of course the highest is our duty to God. But there are also claims on a lower level that work in an analogous way, and are mysteriously tied to each other. One of these is the duty we owe to our country. Especially in a case where ones country is not just a nation or a volk or race, but is based, like the United States, on ideas handed down from our forefathers.

And the claims of our country are strongest in time of war. We have then, all of us, an especial duty to put our selfish interests second to the needs of our land. This will involve for some people putting their lives at risk. Others owe different sacrifices. Politicians have a duty to put their political advantage second to the needs of war. (No, I'm not saying they can't criticize, but any criticism must be constructive, and done with the utmost care.)

This is a duty. There is no evading it.

An example of this is our four great wars of the Twentieth Century. All of these were Democrat wars. Democrat presidents led us into WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. And in each of these wars the Republican Party was a loyal opposition, and gave up many opportunities to criticize. No Republican stood up in the Senate and pointed out that Belleau Wood or Iwo Jima or Slapton Sands or LZ Bitch were blunders that threw away lives needlessly. No Republican demanded that Stimson be fired for the Battle of the Bulge. Why not? Because it would have undermined the war effort and the confidence of our troops.

When Joe Biden condemned the Haditha marines, declared them guilty before the incident had even been investigated, he violated this solemn rule. In fact what he did was to commit treason, just as much as if he had given secrets to the enemy. He voted to send those men into battle in the Iraq Campaign, and then he betrayed them. He sent American men and women to risk death in war, and then he turned around and spit on them.

This is close-to-certain evidence that he is a nihilist. That he puts nothing higher than himself. Why do I say that? Because the claims of higher things are tied to each other. Each one teaches us about the others. I put my children's welfare higher than my own, and this is a very easy thing for a parent to do. But that duty teaches me a lot about how to undertake other solemn duties. (As a Catholic I would say that these things are somehow linked sacramentally. The small things touch on the greater things, and vice versa, in ways that are supernatural and mysterious.)

Mr Biden's casual flouting of a solemn duty is strong evidence that he acknowledges no higher duties of any sort. Of course I could be wrong about this, but I would be surprised to learn that he has some philosophy or cause or set of deep principles that he holds sacred, that he would sacrifice his own interests for. And I think that what he is says a lot about the party and the type of people who have put him forth as a possible Vice-President.

Posted by John Weidner at August 24, 2008 9:02 AM
Weblog by John Weidner