Nicholas F. Benton: Gen. Peter Pace Is Immoral

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 2007 08:00:00 PM
Some might say you have to feel sorry for the likes of Little Miss Potty-Mouth Anne Coulter and now General Peter Pace, chair of President Bush’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. They’re indicative of the new cultural trend sweeping over certain factions of the national right wing since, oh, last November.

These folks’ newest pastime is frenzied rug chewing. They got thumped, I mean demolished, in the November election and their, shall we say, colorful behavior can be attributed to that.

They remind me of the guy who pleads and admonishes the girl to marry him, and when she refuses, he starts railing against her in the nastiest of ways.

In the shadow of defeat, these folks are showing their true colors. It’s not enough to attribute it merely to being poor losers. They think they’re being cool, stepping outside “political correctness” to demean the only elements of society they think may still be weaker than they are.

They’re taking their political humiliation out on the cat at home, like the real tough guys they are. “No more Mr. Nice Guy,” they think. “I’m going out and bashing some gays.”

As they become more and more obsessed with their failure, many of their erstwhile associates are looking at them with a kind of pained disgust. So this is how they handle pressure. This is who they really are.

Such acts of self-destruction, resembling the bleating of the Wicked Witch of the West as she shriveled into steamy nothingness, are the hallmarks of bullies, whose internally-fragile psyches were held stable only by an unchallenged ability to intimidate others. It’s what they get like when someone finally steps up to kick their ass.

Who are these mental and moral cretins, these women and men with no couth, no class, with about as much appreciation for the Renaissance notion of “virtue” as a slug?

Former Rep. Tom DeLay, amongst the long list of fallen former political thugs who would surely get his due if he were just a little cuter when dropped in the slammer, is a case in point. This man had no viable or public career, no notion of cultural values and nothing to claim for himself, whatsoever, except that he won an election.

How dare Gen. Pace, implicated in the invasion of Iraq, the most immoral act of unprovoked military aggression since the days of Hitler, call “immoral” a whole class of patriotic, law-abiding American citizens, by virtue merely of an orientation for which they’re not responsible?

Who cannot see in this disgusting, and deliberate, provocation by Gen. Pace an eruption of hate that owns its source to his own, and his administration’s abject failure?

There is a certain irony in the fact that this man, holding forth over a war that an overwhelming majority of Americans (much less folks in the rest of the world) consider a failure, the result of a deliberate deception by their leaders, and an obscenity, raises the issue of “morality.”

As with the man who is advised to look, instead of at the toothpick in another’s eye, to the giant logjam in his own, Gen. Pace needs to focus instead on what he and his political patrons have wrought.

So should the American public. Let’s have a real discussion of morality for a change, of a national morality, of the kind of expectations, in terms of morality, a population should have regarding its political and military leadership.

That’s the real issue here. Rather than wagging their forefingers at Gen. Pace for his dirty little outburst, those who oppose what he said should challenge him to a debate. The issue should not be homosexuality or gays in the military, per se. It should be morality. If you don’t think that Gen. Pace would be thrust up against the wall by the force of a strong argument on that subject, then you haven’t been following Iraq.

Morality has a lot to say about lying, about deception, about unprovoked lethal aggression, about looting, about torturing, about willful disregard for the rule of law to spy on and hold unindicted citizens against their will for indefinite periods of time.

Yes, Gen. Pace, thanks for raising the subject of morality. It helps to remind us of your own abject lack of it.