Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Don't Beat My Neighbor's Wife Because My Boss Is a Jerk

This War on Terror is un-winnable and has damaged America's place in the world to a degree that will take at least two generations of good work to overcome. To occupy and terrorize two of the poorest populations on the planet in the name of promoting democracy is absurd. To seek vengeance in Iraq for the events of 9/11 is like beating your neighbor's wife because your boss is a jerk.

In today's Wall Street Journal Peggy Noonan has had her opinion published. In short she thinks that Americans should feel proud, and the rest of the world should thank us for what we've done in the world since September 11, 2001. I'm not making this up.

Because I believe that my grandchildren are going to want to know what I did during America's Nazi period I am going to respond to Noonan. I feel Noonan's opinion piece here reflects a general sensibility of many Americans over the past seven years. The general trajectory of popular sentiment has been expressed well by Noonan in this article. But, general sentiment is what adolescents excel at, adults make clear statements that are actionable and reflect insight garnered over the years. Noonan lacks that. Well, probably has it and chooses instead to fan the fires of hatred and ignorance to her own profit. Thanks, Noonan.
We are about to startle and reorder the world. We are going to win this thing, and in the winning of it we are going to reinspire civilized people across the globe. We're going to give the world a lift.
The world’s pretty much gotten over the startling they got when we reordered the world by announcing that countries are now allowed to preemptively attack other countries on the suspicion that maybe someone might no something about who might attack at some point somewhere in the future. That was pretty startling. Now the world’s finding ways to do without us. Great.
It is going to mean, first, that something good happened. This sounds small but is huge. The West has been depressed since Sept. 11, 2001. It has been torn, riven. It has been a difficult time. The coming victory is going to be the biggest good thing that has happened in the world, the West and the United States since the twin towers fell.
It’s depressing living in America when lies are repeated as truth. It’s depressing that you would make a career peddling deceit that bolsters the lies that send our people to die in foreign countries. You’re putting the cart before the horse here, America’s war mongering problem is not too dissimilar to an alcoholic’s problem. The alcoholic doesn’t say, “hey I’m not drinking anymore, so I’m no longer depressed!” It doesn’t work like that. First thing’s first: the depressed have to recognize they have a problem, then ask for forgiveness to those in its community.
It will demonstrate that we are not part of a long and unstoppable slide, that we can move forward and win progress, that we don't have to cower in blue suits behind the Security Council desk. We can straighten up, join together and make things better.
The only person that would be cowering behind their desk seems to be you, mirroring yourself in this editorial. When has the U.S. not sent its troops into countries without regard to the logic of the engagement or the long term Foreign Policy ramifications? Just look at the first go-round in Iraq, at Iran, at Chile, at Guatemala, the Bay of Pigs, Somalia, Vietnam, Korea, Nicaragua, Argentina, Israel, the list is pretty convincing that the problem America is having at the U.N. is that it won’t stop ripping its shirt off at its desk and then announcing, “who’s gonna get a whuppin’ next!”
The United States is showing to the world, to its friends and foes, that it will pay a high price to make the world better. We will put it all on the line. This country is, still, the place that will take responsibility when no one else will. In this our entire country is like the firemen of 9/11 who looked up, saw the burning towers and charged. In the past few days, weeks and months, America charged. It has a lot to be proud of. (Being America it will soon be beating itself up again, but it should take some time over the next few weeks to feel the healthy pride it's earned.)
America can spend all the money in the world and still can’t win, that’s what’s happening right now. That’s because Bush’s administration never even established a clear enemy or goal. The Bush Administration simply spent all the money and blood it could.

In the case of these firemen, it was clear there was a fire, there were people that needed to be rescued, and they did as their profession called. There is no connection between what happened in New York on September 11, 2001 and what was happening in Iraq that day. In fact, the guy running Iraq hated the guy that planned the attack on New York. But Bush decided to kill the guy that wanted to kill the guy that killed Americans. Nice.
The American president has, meanwhile, demonstrated to the entire world that he is neither a bombastic naïf nor a reckless cowboy but, in fact, another kind of American stereotype: the steely-eyed rocket man. Don't tread on him. It is good for the world that it see him as he is.
Rocket man? The world knows Bush as a naïf and not bombastic, but as the solid C student he was, just average. Your average American, that’s what Bush looks like. He is the embodiment of what Hannah Arendt would describe during the Nuremburg Trials as the “banality of evil.” There’s nothing remarkable about the character of Bush, just his very plain determination to act on his misguided values and lack of ability to find a better solution than to kill as many people, spend as much money, and create as many nights of terror and horror as was possible during his terms in office.
The American victory will mean that the United States has removed a great and serious threat to the innocent people of the world. An evil man who was gathering to himself weapons of mass destruction was, is, a danger to the world. And so, with the successful prosecution of the war, the world will be safer.
Which evil man are you referring to? You use the verbs “was” and “is” but which is it? Where is/was this person with WMD’s didn’t we all establish that there were no WMD’s in Iraq? So where are the WMD’s? Where is/was this person that was threatening the US?
With Iraq taken care of the United States will be able to move with enhanced strength toward an Arab-Israeli peace that might last.
What do you mean "with Iraq taken care of?" Will the tanks role out and the bread trucks role in? Will the U.S. begin the herculean task of compensating for the six years of occupation and decade of economic sanctions which left Iraq without medical supplies and foods? How is the U.S. going to tell Israel that they must give up their territory and give it to the Palestinians? How is that connected to the desolation the Bush Administration has made of Iraq?
And, finally, victory in Iraq means this: every terror state and terror group is more than ever on notice and newly aware that the West does not exist to play victim.
When was it that the West was attacked by Iraq? Again: I don’t beat my neighbor’s wife because my Boss is a jerk.

Ultimately, how proud can the people of America feel when the Bush Administration made up new rules for how international law functions and then announce, when it's become apparent that the mission of violence and terror that the U.S. visited upon the people of Iraq can no longer continue due to Bush leaving office, "We Won! Mission Accomplished! Again!!!"

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