What exactly is this asshat trying to accomplish when he says shit like this?
I think what makes us different, and what makes us in some ways, when we have good leadership, much more ruthless and much tougher than any other country in world, is we don’t send soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen to war. We send our children. We send our fathers. We send our brothers and sisters. We send our mothers. And therefore there’s a preciousness to this decision unlike any other country I know of.
(I hesitate to call him an asshole; an asshole is useful.)
I’m sensing several layers of Wingnuttery being piled up here. If I’m not mistaken, Newt is telling this audience that,
1. Unlike any other country he can think of,
2. Americans recognize our armed forces as our family members, and furthermore,
3. That makes us more powerful and ruthless than other countries, so
4. We’re Number One.
I suppose it would be too much to ask of a GOPer to consider that after racking up thirteen figures’ worth of debt on invading Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe we should base our national self-worth in something other than our ability to wage war.
Does he honestly mean to say, though, that other countries don’t love their military personnel as family members? Does he think all other countries only enlist troops who don’t have families who love them? Or that everyone outside the USA ceases to love their relatives once they join the military?
Better yet, does he also really mean to say that America tops the charts in military might because our servicemembers are so much more loved by their families than in other countries, and not because, say, of the percentage of the federal budget we devote to defense?
Not that I assume Newt only says what he genuinely believes in front of his campaign audiences. I have no doubt this was a carefully crafted message tailor-made to suit his audience’s prejudices. That doesn’t make it less reprehensible, though. Regardless of how deeply the candidate believes such things, people do choose to listen to their messages, and those messages have consequences. I’m sure it must be very comforting to believe that American casualties in wars that we orchestrated from the ground up are so much more tragic than, say, the deaths of Iraqi and Afghan civilians and combatants, because we’re the ones who love our troops.