I’ve slapped Michael Cohen around a bit before for his cowardly and intellectually dishonest “analysis” of the counterinsurgency fight in Afghanistan. I’ve pointed out before that he is driven by the fear that if we are successful counterinsurgents here, that COIN will become a cornerstone of American foreign policy. I’ve also pointed out that this is self-defeating, given Mr. Cohen’s advocacy of civil capacity-building development within our foreign policy organs. I’ve pointed out his ridiculousness, to be sure. He’s outdone himself today, and he’s drawn my fire.
Cohen writes today in rebuttal of an Op-Ed by Thomas Friedman, taking “offense” and taking Mr. Friedman to task for this snippet:
In grand strategic terms, I still don’t know if this Afghan war makes sense anymore. I was dubious before I arrived, and I still am. But when you see two little Afghan girls crouched on the front steps of their new school, clutching tightly with both arms the notebooks handed to them by a U.S. admiral — as if they were their first dolls — it’s hard to say: “Let’s just walk away.” Not yet.
While I disagree with Mr. Friedman’s analysis of the “grand strategic” reasons for our involvement in Afghanistan, let’s get to Cohen’s bit:
It’s hard for me to put into words the anger that wells up inside of me when I read such an odious and manipulative op-ed like this one. This is the equivalent of liberal humanitarian porn. Perhaps Tom Friedman should attend a military funeral and write an op-ed about the looks on the faces of two little girls in America whose daddy is killed in Afghanistan pursuing this mission.
Odious and manipulative. Methinks Cohen’s rage is concocted, and here’s why; he doesn’t have the right to tell someone to attend a military funeral to gain awareness. Cohen himself is engaging in sanctimonious emotional blithering that he is not entitled to engage in. He also doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
You see, I didn’t read Mr. Friedman’s remarks as being a definitive reason to stay in Afghanistan. In my book, Mr. Friedman has a lot to learn about national security and about the causes and conditions of insurgency, particularly this one. What I read was an emotional response, which I am entirely in tune with, which Cohen has labelled “humanitarian porn.” You see, I have seen with my own eyes what Mr. Friedman describes and I have felt the pangs in my own soul for not being able to fix this country for those children. It is real. It is unbelievably real. It is gut-wrenching and much deeper than Mr. Friedman even attempted to convey. Cohen would not know that. He has never seen it.
I’m not here for the Afghan children. I’m here for my children. The paradox is that in order to help my children, the Afghan children must benefit. Cohen could never comprehend this fact. He is too afraid that someone would read Friedman’s piece and somehow be titillated by it. He responds with an accusation of an emotional appeal and then makes an emotional appeal of his own, invoking flag-draped coffins.
My flag-draped coffin, perhaps?
NO. I categorically deny Cohen the right to invoke the image of my coffin. I categorically deny the cowardly, dishonest Michael Cohen permission to victimize me in order to fight back against his childish nightmares. I categorically deny Cohen permission to abuse my two little girls to make his sad political point. You see, Cohen has no meat in this game. I do. I am here willingly. Cohen does not have to look at my two little girls, nor, in the case of my death, would he. He does not have to right to use my family or the family of any Soldier in this country right now at this moment to make his mock indignant point. That is offensive beyond belief.
I am an American Soldier. I am, not him. His maudlin emotional blackmail offends me. I risk myself, and the sorrow of my children, of my own volition and due to an oath that I took that he cannot comprehend. He accuses Friedman of “humanitarian porn.” No. His was a fair observation that did not reach a conclusion but was a real observation of an emotion that I can tell you is real. I can also tell you that the high-minded Cohen does not give a crap about me or my two little girls. Not one crap.
Cohen is the pornographer here, wrapped in a faux flag and bleeding concern that he does not hold in his heart. Today his performance is on par with the best of the Taliban IO meisters, but I am not applauding. I am condemning. Cohen can go #^< ! himself. He does not, nor does anyone, have the right to portray the image of my grieving daughters in some self-serving argument. No one does.
Get a load of this:
I’m more than happy to argue with anyone about why I think the current mission in Afghanistan is the wrong one, but I’m not going to argue with someone who throws cheap, manipulative and emotional arguments in my face about two little girls in Afghanistan.
Oh yeah? Well I will argue with any son of a bitch who throws cheap, manipulative and emotional arguments in everyone’s face about two little girls in Ohio. Cohen argued with me via emails for a bit a few months ago, but he couldn’t take the criticisms of his simplistic and knee-jerk response of attempting to discredit the doctrine, which I will help show can be successful in preventing the descent, once more, of Afghanistan in to dark chaos, out of political fear. His opposition to the doctrine is based on childish fear, and due to this intellectual dishonesty, he would further endanger my country. I am willing to put my ass on the line to prove him wrong. It’s on the line, while he sleeps on a freaking Serta tonight and thinks about what flavor of chai latte to sip at Starbucks tomorrow morning. It’s bad enough that he is practically in bed with the Taliban on this issue; I can deal with that stupidity. But to drag my kids (yes, my kids, just as much as anyone who’s over here right now,) into it in his desperation to deny the effect of seeing poverty-stricken children getting a few sheets of paper and a pen, possibly for the first time in their lives, is crap. I’ve had just about enough of his chickenshit whining.
Cohen paints himself as some kind of intellectual. There are actual intellectuals over here in a program to study various aspects of insurgency and how to work through it. They are studying the types of things that Cohen likes to advocate from his psuedo-intellectual “speechboy” (a name he comments under at Abu Muqawama) persona, like how various aspects of civil development and rule of law affects violence. They are from the best schools; Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and others; professors, PhD candidates, and students. None of them have ever heard of Cohen. Ha. Now that’s funny. To them, his foolishness is completely irrelevant.
I just have a problem with suffering jackassery in silence. And leave my kids out of this!