it's not easy defending positions you've never actually thought about.
sully erna, frontman of top-of-the-charts grunge metal band godsmack, attempts to explain to jay babcock of arthur magazine why he doesn't have a problem with licensing his songs to the military for their recruitment videos:
jb: well i have a quote from you here: "we've always been supportive of our country and our president, whereas a lot of people i thought" — and you said this in 2003 to mtv news, you said — "a lot of people i thought lashed out pretty quickly at what we did and i thought the government did everything pretty cleanly and publicly as possible." se: yeah ... ? jb: well, what are you talking about? se: that was my opinion at the time. the whole war thing, and trying to keep us up to date like ... if you remember, back in other wars, we didn't have the opportunity to follow it through the media, and cnn, and the news — live updates and that kind of thing. and i thought that for the most part you know we were allowed to follow it as best we could through the media sources that were feeding us information. jb: [incredulous] you didn't think the media was being controlled by the military?!? se: well, it could be. i don't know. jb: you didn't look into it? se: listen, are you a fucking government expert?
oh shit, another one of these friggin' experts! man, i couldn't get outta high school fast enough to get away from these geeks!
se: so i just feel, well, you know, whatever we can do to say 'thank you for protecting our country' is what we try to do. i'm not trying to make this a big political issue. jb: okay. have you done anything to prevent people from joining the military? se: no. jb: to maybe educate them as to what's in store for them? se: i don't have enough education in the military to educate them in anything.
besides, it's not like there's any possible reason you wouldn't jump with both feet on gettin' your song in a recruiting vid, right?
se: we just simply — an opportunity came up, they wanted to use some music for a recruit commercial. what are we gonna say, no? jb: yeah. how hard is it to say 'no'? se: why would we, though?!? jb: because — se: is it because you don't feel the same way about the government that we do, makes you right and us wrong? jb: yeah. what do you feel about the government? tell me what — se: aw, that's crazy, man! that's just an opinion. jb: i can back my opinion up from here to tomorrow if you would like to talk to me all day long. se: well, obviously you've done a lot of research and you've — jb: that's right, because — se: — got a different opinion. we don't know that stuff that you know, so — jb: why don't you do some research before you get involved with these sorts of things? you're talking about young kids' lives. you're talking about kids — se: [yelling] would you rather not have us be protected so they can come and overrun our country?!?
because, after all, if we were to actually do some research, the terrorists would win! but if you like your fuckin' research so much, they still got libraries in iraq!
jb: you know what i'd like, sully? a department of defense. not a department of offense that attacks other countries — sovereign nations — who do things in a different way than us, who we have no right to go over and invade and change their governments. would we want someone else to do that to us? se: i'm not saying — jb: how hard is that to think about? se: i'm not saying that we were right on every war that we've created. i know that we've been damn wrong at times about stuff — jb: when have we been wrong? se: [yelling] but they have also been wrong too! jb: when have — se: i don't trust someone like fuckin' sadaam and osama to come in here and try to control — jb: [incredulous] when did sadaam try to come in here and control our country? se: dude, [yelling] why don't you go live in iraq then if you have such a problem with america? why are you here?
because, you know, you can love it or leave it, you osaddama-lovin' geek! love it or leave it!
now, if you'll excuuuse me, i have some recruiting song$ to cut.
now i could care less whether sully erna supports the troops, or how he chooses to demonstrate his support. there's a broader issue on display here.
the issue here, which jay babcock clearly illustrates, is that sully's position is completely bankrupt because he's made no effort to think about it in anything but the shallowest terms.
whatever your beliefs, especially if you actively promote them in order to influence the behavior of others, you have a responsibility to learn what all the facts are. because sully hasn't made any effort to learn anything about the military or the war, he's unable to offer any credible or coherent rebuttal to jay's arguments. all he has are cheap slogans.
sully obviously has no interest in the military beyond indulging himself in some kind of feel-good give-em-hell rock-and-roll fantasy that he's getting paid to promote. and not being in the military himself makes him not just an idiot but a hypocrite.