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Andy Rooney: "Our Soldiers Aren't Heroes"

I don't think I ever once cared about anything that Andy Rooney had to say. Well, there's a first time for everything. Yesterday - as has been widely reported already - Rooney posted five questions for our soldiers:
1. Do you think your country did the right thing sending you into Iraq? 2. Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed? 3. Do the orders you get handed down from one headquarters to another, all far removed from the fighting, seem sensible, or do you think our highest command is out of touch with the reality of your situation? 4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take? 5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you?
Let that all sink in. Go ahead, read them again. I'm going to ignore 1-3 for now. Lots of folks have covered them already. Check Misha and Bastard Sword. Read Rantburg. Question number four: 4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take? Giving the soldiers these two choices is like putting a puppy and a child in front of a man and asking, which would you rather stab with a fork? No matter what the answer, the man will be viewed as a terrible person. Andy does not give the soldiers an opporunity to say - neither, I would much rather stay here and win this thing and come home in one piece, medal or not. Which, I believe, most of them would say. The question Rooney presents is very leading. He wants a certain answer that will allow him to rip apart the soldier doing the answering. So he asks the question in such a way tht is designed to give Rooney ammunition for the ensuing rant. Much in the same way 60 minutes conducts a lot of its interviews. So let's ask some other people the question, but let's be fair and put a third choice in there, which would be c) other. Lt. Smash? Sgt. Hook? Chief Wiggles? Black Five? Baldilocks? How would you soldiers answer that? Oh, Baldilocks gets off a good one on Andy: If someone loved you, Mr. Rooney, they’d stop you from drooling in public. Now, question number five: 5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you? This man is paid to interview people and this is what he comes up with? Well, no sir. We actually hate it when people encourage us. We hate when they call us brave and support us. We really like those other guys, the ones who call for our death. What a complete bucket of slop that question is. What kind of answer is Rooney looking for? Oh, he probably is just waiting to hear this "Please don't support us, America. We are bad people doing a bad thing. Mommy, I want to go home! They are making me kill terrorirsts!" Here's the real question Rooney should pose instead: Are you discouraged by the amount of American people supporting the insurgency? How does it feel to know that you are here putting your ass on the line so we don't end up on the receiving end of a massive bomb someday and there are people in San Fran marching the streets with signs calling for the insurgents to kill you? Are you discouraged by the show of support for al Sadr and Saddam's thugs right here in the U.S.? How do you respond when you finally get to see some U.S. news and you're greeted by people marching on the White House depicting you as a murderer who deserves to die? How do you feel when you see people calling for your withdrawal so that everything you have worked for so far will be all for nothing? And how do you feel knowing that your family back home is confronted everyday with images of your fellow soldiers being kidnapped, killed and maimed and there are an awful lot of people, your neighbors even, who think this is ok because soldiers deserve that? And I would add one thing to that: How do you feel about Andy Rooney asking these questions at all? Rooney has the right to ask these things of the soldiers. First ammendment and all that. You know, that thing they never had in Iraq. Free speech, I believe it's called. But once Rooney makes his senile, batty questions public, he is open to the backlash that comes with it, and he is open to people questioning his patriotism. Yes, his patriotism. Anyone who can look a soldier in the eye and ask the question Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed? is willfully, knowingly and deliberatley contributing to lowering the morale of our troops. Rooney should have give it up a long time ago. I say this not just because of these questions he came up with. I always questioned the wisdom of having this man on television. He has nothing to offer the world. His segments on 60 minutes are usually nothing more than the blusterings of a man who has yet to figure out that watching him is like watching corrosive acid leak out of a battery. In a different time, Rooney might have been fired for saying such things as he said in his column. The one titled: Our soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes bq. Treating soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it. But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home.

Our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful. It's disingenuous of the rest of us to encourage them to fight this war by idolizing them. But this is the new America. It's ok to talk about our brave (yes, brave) soldiers like that. It's ok, because America is evil and our soldiers are just the minions of Satan doing his bidding. It's ok, because Bush is a bad, bad man who willfully let 9/11 happen on his watch just so he can be a war president. It's ok because, even though we are at war with militant religious zealots who would prefer that the whole world be under their power, America must somehow be in the wrong to want to stop that. This is a very sad, sad time in this country. When people as famous and well-read as Andy Rooney can sit back from the comfort of their easy chairs and kick our soldiers in the balls and people just shrug, then we can honestly say this country has gone to hell and the people who encourage the enemies against our soldiers are leading the conga line into the furnace. And they are grinning. You win, Andy. You've taken the idea that our soldiers are evil out of the DU/Indymedia closet and brought it to the mainstream. You've put the idea out that our soldiers would like the opportunity to choose between a medal and a trip home, job in Iraq be damned. You've put the idea into their heads that the people in the states are somehow wrong for encouraging and supporting them. You've given them the idea that we are all sitting here in the states laughing and pointing at their commanders. Oh, there are people doing that. But they are a very small fraction of us. Unfortunately, the squeaky one gets the press and when someone with the fame of an Andy Rooney starts squeaking, the press starts feeding it all the cheese it wants. Squeaky mice make for good sound bites and great stories. The press no longer thinks yellow ribbons and support for soldiers is worthy of a few paragraphs or a segment on the ten o'clock news. Yep, you guys have won. Congratulations. When the soldiers in Baghdad turn on CNN, they'll hear about Rooney and the anti-war protests and their morale will sink. Just what you wanted, isn't it? Good work, Rooney. Good work, media. Nice job, anti-war crowd. Figuratively speaking, you've just fucked our soldiers up the ass. Update: Jim has more. And a good rant here.

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Comments

Uh-oh. Michele made a comment about ass-fucking!

It was supposed to be....ironic?

Man, those are some loaded questions. What does Rooney expect to accomplish with this? I tend to lean to the left on most things, including the war. I believe in supporting the troops, though. Rooney is being an ass.

Figuratively speaking, you've just fucked our soldiers up the ass.

You'll be pulling 25,000 hits a day in no time!

By the way, does this mean we can officially start referring to you as "sassy," "cheeky," and "irreverent"?

I always think of Phil Hartman when I read those Wonko write-ups. Sprechen sie sassy?

"Our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful."

This is of course true of all soldiers at all times--ancient Greeks, Sioux warriors, Americans on D-day. So what Rooney is really saying is that heroism is a meaningless construct.

Just wondering - is Rooney a veteran? Maybe he's still got issues with the way President Wilson ran the war . . .

Well, what do you expect from someone who spent his entire tenure during WWII as a whinging moron, pretending that reporting for Stars and Stripes was equivalent to fighting the Battle of the Bulge?

Yeah, I read his "War Memoir." Spent two weeks afterward trying to bleach my brain to purge it of the self-righteous bloviating "prose stylings" of our beloved "everyman commentator."

Andy Rooney has always been determined to piss all over everything. Nice to see his streak remains unbroken.

Dear Andy: Retire.
Sincerely, America.

Rooney is a curmudgeony old fart who only has a job because it's sometimes entertaining to watch a mostly senile old fart whine about the world around him.

Good show, Michele!

To selfish Americans, our soldiers in Iraq are not heroes. The selfish American doesn't feel the heat of the terrorists' desire to take his freedom away. He doesn't identify with the idea that it's better to defend our freedom from afar. It just doesn't sink home.

But somewhere in Iraq, there is a little girl who will one day grow up to be the Michele Catalano of her country, and to her the US Army will forever be praised as heroes.

Anyone here watch the History Channel regularly?

Last night they ran a story about the only u-boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico in May of 1942. How many of us were taught, let alone remember, that right after Pearl Harbor Hitler sent u-boats to sink American ships off the east coast and right into the Gulf of Mexico to stop oil shipments and mine the mouth of the Mississippi River? Indeed, for the whole month of May 1942, one American ship a day was sunk by German u-boats (operation drumbeat).

However, FDR, immediately censored all reports in newspapers, radio, etc about these attacks. Hell, in WWII there was an official Office of Censorship!

Whatever else, too many Americans act as if we are immune to foreign attack.. that 9/11 was a fluke that was only the negligence and failure of 8 months of the GW administration.

Hitler wanted and tried to bring war to American shores, realizing how strategic it would be to put America in a defensive position. Our current stategy is to keep fighting terrorists over there and not let it be here...yet the handwringing is somehow doing nothing or trying to find the "root causes" of Islamist seething will win the day and "keep us safe here."

BS. And it is infuriating to see a member of the WWII generation deliberately forget the lessons of war.

The man has gone beyond senility right into dementia.

You brilliantly covered all the parts of his article that I trimmed away as examples Andy Rooney's fatheadedness.

I focused on the bit where he says that National Guard and Reservists weren't expecting to go to war when they signed up, blah blah blah.

For a man who has spent his life vilifying the poor, ill-informed, risky decisions by the public in bits and pieces at the end of Sixty Minutes and his columns, why should he now suddenly decide to defend such poor decision-making on the part of those "unwilling" warriors?

When Andy Rooney opens his mouth, am I the only one who thinks of Grandpa Simpson?

"I was wearin' an onion on my belt, which was the fashion at the time..."

Hey Michele, love the site. I'm a former Long Islander, now living up in Salem, MA. Anyways, I was deployed to Iraq last year with the 106th Rescue Wing (from Westhampton Beach). And here's my answers to Rooney's retarded questions.

1. Do you think your country did the right thing sending you into Iraq?

Yes, and so did everyone around me.

2. Are you doing what America set out to do to make Iraq a democracy, or have we failed so badly that we should pack up and get out before more of you are killed?

We did what we were there to do, no thanks to douchebags like you.

3. Do the orders you get handed down from one headquarters to another, all far removed from the fighting, seem sensible, or do you think our highest command is out of touch with the reality of your situation?

They never seem sensible, but the farthest HQ we had to deal with was in Qatar, and they weren't out of touch at all.

4. If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take?

I hate this question. How about a democratic Iraq, followed by a democratic Middle East? And maybe a 1-way trip to Iraq for cock-jockeys like you.

5. Are you encouraged by all the talk back home about how brave you are and how everyone supports you?

Ignoring your sarcasm, yes, we were encouraged by it. We were not encouraged by Time magazine's cover "Mission Not Accomplished!", among other things.

Michele,

You've obviously gone completely crazy. Please take more Paxil.

Yeah, Farmer Joe, but Rooney's more like the Grandpa Simpson quote, "I used to be 'with it.' Then they changed what 'it' was. Now, whatever I'm 'with' isn't 'it,' and what's 'with it' seems weird and scary."

To answer Farmer Joe, Rooney was the one who turned dogs and cats against each other.

In addition, Rooney never thought that he could shoot down a German plane, but last year he proved himself wrong.

I wondered when the mainstream left was going to quit lying and saying "we support the troops".

I believe the next step is to call them "baby killers". And spit on them when they come home.

I am dying to hear the reasoned defense of Rooney's vile words.

Michele,

You've obviously gone completely crazy. Please take more Paxil.

Posted by Pat Kincaid at April 13, 2004 10:38 AM

Care to elaborate, Mr. Kincaid?

Wait - Has anyone ever seen Rooney and Helen Thomas together?

Thanx Crank...

I think I'll gouge my eyes out.

TV (Harry)

Mr Rooney is entitled to his opinion. And I am entitled to mine.

You are a disgrace, sir. Not only do I question the ethics of your journalism during time of war, I question your sanity.

Any sane person would realize the satisfaction that such infamous comments bring to those determined to kill the very men and women you so profess to want to "save." Any sane person would realize the potential damage to troop morale such ill-considered remarks might cause, even while the speaker bemoans the level of morale. And certainly, any sane person would recognize that by directly attacking the strongly held sentiments of millions of Americans who support the troops and their efforts would probably result in some commercial response.

How many Americans with sons and daughters in harm's way will not be tuning into "60 Minutes" this weekend because of your association with the show? How many potential viewers are right now on the telephone with CBS? How many incensed Americans will call that program’s sponsors and threaten boycott if CBS doesn’t censure or remove you?

Oh, you’ll cry about the your First Amendment rights and complain that you’re being “muzzled,” but how’s that going to play in the marketplace when folks just say “You, your program, and it’s sponsors can just go to hell?” I think your time’s about up, Andy.

For my dime, you can go to hell…but not until after I see you apologize. It would be insane to do otherwise.

Crank, you are an evil little man.

No wait, andy was the evil little man, Crank you just made howl in horror about an image of Andy Rooney cross-dressing. And it does look like Helen

Rooney is a senile old git who used to be rather amusing. He is sad to see his star sliding into oblivion so tries to be as contraversial as possible. He is to be pitied...and anyone who publishes/broadcasts him needs to be pilloried.

"Rooney, yer an asshole!"

I was interested in his analysis of the suicide rate, I read someone demolish it yesterday, on NRO's Corner. From a personal standpoint, I had a soldier commit suicide when I was a company commander. Given Rooney's methodology, obviously 1 out of 120 soldiers is way too high and must be a reflection upon the mission and the deployment. Of course, I was in a non-deployable unit, in Hawaii. What a jackass.

The CDC reports the US suicide rate for 2000 (most recent year they show) was 23,950, roughly 1 in 10,000. 23 soldiers out of the population deployed last year is higher, but not remarkably (1 in 8900).

I am saddened by anyone's despair, particularly those who are serving in Iraq. Even more so when I think about the families of those 23 reading Rooney's words, which dishonestly try to make a point about some higher level of depair.

I think Mr. Rooney has 1944 confused with 2004. Someone send him a dictionary so he understands what "volunteer" means.

As for your question, Michele:

Back in 1991, when I led a team in northern Iraq, all of us would have traded in every medal we had for a freakin' Big Mac, let alone a trip home.

Did we want to be home? Sure. I was missing former days spent at the Cubs game, drinking beer, looking at the girls...others had families and spouses they missed. Would we have wanted to abandon our responsibility to someone else so we could leave? Hell no. We had a job to do. We were volunteers.

Life in the military is tough. Apparently, everyone knows that except Rooney.

http://www.drudgereport.com/stp.gif

Rooney's eyebrows are actually the hairy worms that have devoured his brain (and heart).

Good show Michelle.

Rooney FUCKED YOU UP THE ASS! He slam dunked you Reich Whinghers all the way to Fallujah! They are no heroes - they are there for the money and the fun of killing darkies. Fuck them!

Here are THE REAL HEROES!

http://users.lmi.net/zombie/sf_rally_april_10_2004/signs/

Normally, I'm behind Andy. On this one, though, he clearly is dealing with the symptoms and not the disease. Soldiers by their very nature do their duty. If they were sent in to liberate my bathroom, they would do so (they might want to wait a few minutes, though...). It's what they do.

The problem here is not the people doing the fighting and dying. It's the man who sent them there to do said fighting and dying. If there is evil involved in our foray in Iraq, it begins and ends with George W. Bush. Period. Our soldiers are doing what they do- and brilliantly, by most all accounts. Let's give credit where credit is due.

You seem to have a strange definition of evil, Jack. Some of us think it would have been evil to have left in place a regime that (a)massively oppressed its own people, (b)created ecological damage on a grand scale, ©provided a haven to terrorists (viz the Achille Lauro hijacker), (d) provided cash incentives for terrorism (the $25k payments to families of suicide bombers), (e) had every intent of acquiring and using weapons of mass killing, regardless of their success or lack of same in such acquisition.

I'm daily leaning more back to my original contention that the election will be Bush in a landslide. Mainstream Dems have just about gotten themselves to foaming-at-the-mouth baby killer rhetoric and it's only April. By November it will be so bad that the American Center will turn away in disgust.

America will never vote in a party whose main argument is I Hate America.

I think the Dems have been the "I Hate America" party for a long time, and they got voted in anyway.

Besides, the argument put forth by the Dems does not get translated as "I Hate America" except by people who will not be voting for Kerry.

However, I hope you are correct and I am wrong. I'd rather be wrong than have Kerry as my president.

Look, Robert "Strait-jacket, size 9 please!" McCleland popped in! How nice!

Still can't get more than 2 people per day to your site Bobby? Have you quite come to the realization that you're a pathetic little man? I realize that's probably a false dichotomy, but I'm sure you'll take time out of misspelling 'wingers' (yer not brittish, give it up chap) and have good retort.

Thanks for the link, Michele.

I am so sick of these twits, young and old, condescending to the military while claiming to be its member's advocates.

Most military personnel know that they don't really give a rat's behind about us. We're just a collective weapon to be wielded against the president. After the election, leftists will go back to being openly scornful of us. I like it better that way.

Juliette, if you want to see how 'compassionate' these assmunches are, ask them for accidental military death numbers from 2002. Because, you see, they care SO much that they know the numbers from the war but don't give two shakes of a rat's ass from anytime else.

I've been out of the Marines since '99 but this crap doesn't piss me off any less now.

iNo. 5. It's called an open question. It actually gives soldiers the opening to thank those who have supported them.

You have got your knickers in a rtwist big time.

4. No one says soldiers can't answer "neither one." You made that up.

I have never heard Rooney's rants on 60 Minutes, but speaking as a journalist who gets to ask questions - give it a rest, will ya?

And 1-3 are OK? I thought those might be the ones you'd have a concern about. But as it turns out - no.

I also liked Humpty's response.

I should add that if Rooney had further comments you didn't post here - then I have not read them.

Wow, Andrew, that's brilliant: to know that the reason you haven't read something on someone's blog is because they haven't posted it there.

Giving the soldiers these two choices is like putting a puppy and a child in front of a man and asking, which would you rather stab with a fork?

My reply: The sadistic bastard who put a puppy and a child in front of me and ordered me to stab one with a fork.

For Rooney's original question: To arrive home save and sound when my tour of duty is up. With the knowledge that I now have friends in Iraq, and that someday soon I and my family will be able to visit a free Iraq and see those friends again.

The other day I felt impressed upon to fisk Andy Rooney's inane rant on my site. Here's an excerpt:

"We must support our soldiers in Iraq because it's our fault they're risking their lives there. However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes."

If the picture of the mass reenlistment I display on the homepage of ColoradoPsycho.com is any indication, there are Soldiers out there who do not regard themselves as victims but have bought into the values of the Army. While it is possible to involuntarily extend a term of service, as long as we have an all-volunteer military, one cannot be forced into reenlisting.

"America's intentions are honorable. I believe that, and we must find a way of making the rest of the world believe it. We want to do the right thing. We care about the rest of the world. President Bush's intentions were honorable when he took us into Iraq. They were not well thought out but honorable."

Aha! At the very end of this whining rant we find the real reason for dumping on service members, i.e., animosity towards President Bush!!

Thank You! I just heard about this morning..thankfully I didn't hear it or I'd have been too pissed to sleep. Andy Rooney just STFU already!

Pat Kincaid, could you please for once in your life post at least one thing without an informal fallacy in it?!