Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Unbearable Moral Bankruptcy of Being Center-Left

Michael Kinsley, on Al Franken this week (or was it Morning Sedition? Whatever) proved the ABSOLUTE idiocy of the erstwhile Kerry Platform/Centrist Democrat approach to Iraq.

As usual, the nonsense began with something making sense...

"Has there ever before been a war that so many people disapproved of but so few wanted to stop? Have the reasons for starting a war ever been so thoroughly discredited without turning into reasons for ending it? " Kinsley asks in a recent (21 November 2004 LA Times) article.

"What seems to be today's antiwar position — it was a terrible mistake and it's a terrible mess, but we can't just walk away from it — was actually the pro-war position during Vietnam. In fact, it was close to official government policy for more than half the length of that war.

Today's antiwar cause doesn't even have a movement, to speak of, let alone an agenda. It consists of perhaps 47% of the citizenry — the ones who voted for John Kerry — who are in some kind of existential opposition to the war but don't know what they want to do about it."

Thank goodness he represented this as the 47% of the citizenry that voted for JK -- I'd hate to be confused with having an existential* opposition to the war. I have a very DEFINITIVE opposition -- we were wrong, and we should come home now. After all, the earlier worry for why we SHOULDN'T come home is we could leave a civil war in our wake, right? WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON NOW, EH?

Just in case you think that there lay some kind of logic or reason left unvoiced by Kinsley, some deep motivation that stands up to examination that he forgot to mention -- an answer to the implied question of what sense this existential opposition makes -- nope, he cleared that up on old standby Air America Radio. He's just whistling into the wind.

I can't find a transcript... but more or less, he said the only reason to stay IN Iraq is the belief that things will get better if we stay there: that in the next couple years, our presence will finally help restore a stable society. He WENT ON to say that he saw no particular reason to believe this, he just supposed he hoped that it wasn't the case the it would continue as it was now. He didn't have a reason for such beleifs, but, he said, he wasn't ready to say that the US should pull out.

GREAT. What a towering intellect you're showing Mike; a) the only rational reason to not advocate for a pull out is if the US will help stabilize Iraq in the next couple years, b) that's not happening now (stabilizing influence), c) there's no particular reason to believe it will happen in the future, d) but what the hey, just cuz it's logically inconsistent, let's continue our existential opposition.

THIS is (was) the case for Kerry? EXISTENTIAL OPPOSITION? Hope for something you don't think is likely? WOW, the military-industrial complex, worried after Viet Nam that the US' citizenry's irrational confidence that using US power to kill other people (and to have our own soldiers killed) in service of our myopic economic interests, appears to have had a tremendous victory. Kinsley, the token-Leftist Talking Head, has confidence in our use of the military's force as a force for good, DESPITE the already serious problems doing so (between 20,000 and 100,000 civilians dead, the use of napalm, torture in Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and recent reports from the Red Cross "alleging" continued torture (see earlier Red Cross report at The Smoking Gun).

Can all of you see this? How morally repugnant and weak this is? THIS is the Kerry legacy -- opposition equivalent to support from the Viet Nam era.

There is, in my opinion, LITTLE REASON to think that we will be a force for good in Iraq in the short or long term, with our troops on the ground there (see: Haiti, Nicaragua, Grenada, Viet Nam, Korea, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq Part I...). Therefore, pulling out is the only, rational, opposition stance to have. Further, if one is to believe in democracy and/or Tariq Ali, Iraq should, Iraq must be allowed to develop their own government, their own way -- to say that we must stay there to create a democratic utopia for them is anti-democratic and simply intellectually incoherent... not to mention ignorant of our incontrovertible history of only supporting and implanting puppet or semi-puppet governments. (Yow! Haven't read this yet, but check out the transcript of Mr. Ali v. Chris Hitchens... if there aren't some sparks here, we deserve our money back...)

Chalk another one up to the failure of today's so-called liberals...

*J-Friend Sarah points out that she doesn't believe existentialism has ever been used correctly, and indeed may not have a coherent meaning. She tems some razão (to use super-portuglish, after J-Sister's super-spanglish "I gotta voy") -- that is, she's got a point. "Existential" means both "grounded in existence or the experience of existence : EMPIRICAL b : having being in time and space" -- in other words, something solid and perceivable in a mundane day-to-day way, and also means related to existentialism, " chiefly 20th century philosophical movement embracing diverse doctrines but centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for his acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad", in other words, something uncertain grounded in a universe that is inherently thus. As Sarah points out, there's little better than those english words that mean both something and a concept almost exactly the opposite of that something.

And that's... one to grow on.