Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dispatches from the political forums

 An forum thread started with claiming that Republican Party people were dazed and bewildered about how to react to the Egyptian revolution and President Obama's response. The thread quickly devolved into partisan rock-throwing that revisited events of the past 50 years, with some right wingers taking credit for all the good (or describing disasters as Good Things), while blaming all Democrats for everything bad always in every way. I finally weighed in with this response:

Q. Who won the war in Iraq?

A. Iran. And Iraq's Kurds.

Q. Who lost the war in Iraq?

B. Iraq's Christians, middle class, women, Sunnis, Turkomen, and Gypsies--and Al Qaeda.

If George Bush II had been an Islamofascist mole he couldn't have done a better job for that cause. He took a just war--against the people who actually attacked us--and let Bin Ladin live by diverting resources away from Afghanistan--then validated everything Bin Ladin (still alive) was saying about us by invading Iraq--then validated everything Von Clausewitz said about war by violating all his rules of war in the Iraq invasion and occupation--then turned most of the Muslim world against us along with many people among our allies with an invasion based on willful falsehoods--then left Iraq largely under the influence of Iran's despots, albeit on the sly, which is how Iran does things--as, for example, its being the world's leading sponsor of terrorist organizations.

And if Bush II were an Islamofascist mole it would explain how his incompetent occupation of Iraq resulted in the virtual elimination of Iraq's million-strong Christian community, which had been there for around two thousand years.

And today in Iraq a woman can't walk down the street unless she's wearing approved conservative Muslim garb--otherwise she'll be murdered. That wasn't the case under Saddam, a secularist for most of his reign.

So Bush II did more harm to the Christian religion in his eight year reign than all the other presidents of America combined.

So if you hate Christianity--yay Bush!

Of course in reality Bush didn't intend to kill all those Christians. Any more than the average drunk driver intends to kill the busload of schoolkids.

But: "by their fruits ye shall know them."

Note that the choice wasn't between invading Iraq under false pretenses or letting Saddam's vicious misrule continue. We could have used his taking constant potshots at our recon aircraft as justification for occupying the Kurdish part of the country and the Shiite south. That would have been easy and relatively cheap.

We also could have taken more time and lined our ducks up better with our allies--and, especially, we could have waited until we'd wrapped up in Afghanistan instead of giving the Taliban a chance to regroup by trying to make war on the cheap--which out to be by far the most expensive way.

But these alternatives required a president who could speak to people who weren't already his followers. Bush II couldn't do that (unlike his dad).

And as for Vietnam--try the brilliant, purely military analysis by Colonel Harry G. Summers, On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War. According to Summers we lost that war through a combination of top brass incompetence combined with arrogant civilian interference by McNamara et al.

All this "My Side Good, Your Side Bad" stuff is idiotic. The world is complicated, the problems are complicated, the needed actions often nuanced--and rarely what's advocated by either the extreme Left or Right, who try to derive reality from their ideas instead of deriving their ideas from reality.

The biggest problem America now faces is how much its voters fall for propaganda--mostly from the Right's patrons, but also from the Left's, at least in Blue states.

Propaganda works because the effective campaigns pander to people's fears and prejudices. No one wants to hear bad news or accept any responsibility. Both the Right and the Left are obsessed with their rights and care little for their own responsibilities--just those of others.

So stop working off cartoon versions of reality.

Egypt is a prime example. It's complicated. Islamofascists could win. Even a fair democracy there will be anti-Israel in all likelihood. But what if it inspires Iran's masses to overthrow the Mullahs there? That would be amazingly wonderful, whether you're a Democrat or Republican.
We have to thread our way through this issue with tremendous care.

Thank heavens this has happened while we have a president with a three-digit IQ. My fave for the job at this juncture would be Eisenhower, but he wasn't available.

On the other hand, imagine if the GOP had won the last presidential election, and its elderly candidate had augured in, and the President of the United states during the Egyptian revolution was the Republican Party's choice--Sarah Palin.

Now if that doesn't make you feel like you dodged a bullet, I dunno what will.

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