The eighth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq is coming up later this month. To mark this occasion, let's play a logic game.
Back in 2003, when the Tucson Weekly opposed the war (while fully supporting the brave men and women who were sent to fight it), a lot of critics claimed that we were being unpatriotic.
The same thing has been said about people who have questioned or criticized previous United States actions in other countries—like, say, President Barack Obama, whom conservatives lambasted for "apologizing" when he said that U.S. foreign policy at times has been less than perfect.
One possible conclusion: If you dare question or criticize United States actions, you're not a patriot in the eyes of these conservatives.
You with me? Good.
Now let's switch the focus to Phoenix, where GOP state legislators have introduced a stunning series of bills that question federal authority. For example, SB 1433 would set up a legislative committee to determine whether federal laws are constitutionally legitimate (no matter what prior court decisions may have to say). Another bill would force federal regulators and investigators to register with county sheriffs. Yet another would claim the state, and not the feds, has the right to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.
In short, these conservative legislators are daring to question or criticize United States actions.
Now, I am not saying that these GOP lawmakers are being unpatriotic. I am saying that whenever one political faction engages in what amounts to name-calling (patriot, unpatriotic, socialist, warmonger, etc.), you should file it away as political bullshit, and nothing more.