Little is more obnoxious than when political commentators appropriate ancient verse to lend “moral clarity” to (clear-as-day) aggressive and thoroughly illegal, seemingly never-ending occupation — all the more irritating when it’s done in the name of supporting our fighting men and women. For the sake of fairness, Dennis Prager’s intentions seem to be in the right place: fight evil, good soldiers; we support you, don’t listen to the nay-sayers. All well and good. Here’s his passage, which is quoted from the Book of Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” Here’s the rest, which is omitted: “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who … acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!”
It makes sense to not include these, because no one can reasonably apply them to the soldiers themselves. But it is quite clear that our occupation has entailed the very sort of hypocrisy, corruption and denial of human rights that the prophet Isaiah rightly condemned those “two-and-a-half millennia” ago, as Prager can tell you. His letter to our Armed Forces in Iraq, who have been shafted at every turn by policies that Prager supports as immutably holy, is simply a dishonest pose, masked with the trappings of false patriotism and dishonest piety.