The question is not who is qualified to opine, but whether an opinion has merit, irrespective of the characteristics of its proponents or opponents. Under liberal logic, the rich-from-birth Ted Kennedy is disqualified from empathizing with and advocating for the poor. And, the Framers should have limited the franchise in presidential elections to military personnel and their parents, and maybe their grandparents, but not aunts, uncles, brother, sisters or cousins.
Interestingly, Boxer pretended she had no standing to opine either, since her children are too old and her grandchildren too young to serve. But that didn't stop her from making clear her view that the war is not worth American lives, because her opinion is sanctified by its liberalism. Since she's against the war, the ending of which would supposedly end the risk to American lives, her opinion is legitimate.
What this really boils down to is the antiwar left's intolerance for dissenting opinions and their propensity to make decisions on an emotional, rather than logical basis. If you don't agree with them, you either aren't listening -- another charge Boxer leveled at Rice -- or you don't have the right to opine. But Boxer's logic is self-defeating: If your personal circumstances disqualify you from opining, they do so regardless of the nature of your opinion.
Further, Boxer's underlying assumption is that the Iraq war is not worth the risk of American lives. While that is something about which reasonable people can disagree, we can't ever get to that point in the discussion if one side intimidates the other into silence.
It is conceivable that the implementation of Boxer's antiwar opinion could put more American lives -- military and civilian -- at risk in the long run, by weakening the United States emboldening terrorists and contributing to the conversion of Iraq into a launching pad for global terrorism. Or do I have enough of a stake in America to entitle me to such an audacious opinion?
Many on the antiwar left are still oblivious to the global nature of the war and that Iraq's destiny is central to it. They seem to believe we can flip a switch and end this war -- by a solitary executive order.
But disregard my opinion on that, too, since I've never been the commander in chief.
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