Round and Round

Being philosophically-self aware is a very special kind of hell. The simpler your thinking, the more complicated your life becomes. While other people have no problems with the inherently self-contradictory, people like me get stuck on little details like how the entire world has obviously gone totally batshit.

I had this problem with the war in Iraq, for example. I just don't understand how people could have thought this was going to turn out well, for any number of reasons. I've been thinking a lot about this because with the primaries rolling around, we've seen a lot of tragically hilarious backpedalling from candidates trying to figure out on which side their bread is buttered, electorally speaking. Not to mention the whole litter of bloggers and pundits who have rejoined reality.

I summed up how I feel about The Kerry-cum-Hillary defense with a text-only cartoon I posted here in April 2004:

<table border=0 cellpadding=0 cellspacing=3 width=100%>
<td colspan=3 align=center>Presidential Election 2004</td>
<tr align=left valign=top>
<td width=50%><ul type=square><li>Complete Moron</li></ul></td>
<td bgcolor=black width=1><img src=imgs/blackdot.gif height=1 hspace=0 vspace=0 width=1></td>
<td width=50%><ul type=square><li>Fooled by a Complete Moron</li></ul></td>

So, here we are three years later, and we have to wade through this same bullshit again? It's funny, as I started typing this, the Antibalas song "World War IV" started playing on my a{http://www.gnome.org/projects/rhythmbox/”>Rhythmbox}a. Were the lyrics prophetic for 2000, or is it just that shit never changes?
This tune is called World War IV.
Everyone's wondering, what happened to World War III?
…The war makers of this world are so crafty that they can have World Wars without people realizing they're even going on, people can just sort of disappear. Everything happens silently.
…We have all these war criminals going around. There's a big war criminal in the United States named Bill Clinton. And Madeleine Albright, right, who've been trying to starve people to death in Iraq, and Cuba, and North Vietnam.
So that's World War IV, it's the president of Mexico trying to starve all the different groups of Mayas in Chiapas to death…
It's the New York City Police officers' war against black people who come out of their houses with their wallets in their hands.

Frightening to think, if we're not careful, it'll be Giuliani-time again, only this time all across the country.
At any rate, let's compare the two Democratic hopefuls who both voted for the war: Hilary Clinton and John Edwards.

Up until today, I thought that Hillary Clinton's foreign policy was stupid. Well, in preparation to write this piece, I read the speech she gave on the floor of the Senate before she voted to authorize the war. Now I know her foreign policy isn't stupid, it's totally insane. Here's a good indicator:
If we try and fail to get a resolution that simply, but forcefully, calls for Saddam's compliance with unlimited inspections, those who oppose even that will be in an indefensible position. And, we will still have more support and legitimacy than if we insist now on a resolution that includes authorizing military action and other requirements giving some nations superficially legitimate reasons to oppose any Security Council action. They will say we never wanted a resolution at all and that we only support the United Nations when it does exactly what we want.

I believe international support and legitimacy are crucial. After shots are fired and bombs are dropped, not all consequences are predictable. While the military outcome is not in doubt, should we put troops on the ground, there is still the matter of Saddam Hussein's biological and chemical weapons. Today he has maximum incentive not to use them or give them away. If he did either, the world would demand his immediate removal. Once the battle is joined, however, with the outcome certain, he will have maximum incentive to use weapons of mass destruction and to give what he can't use to terrorists who can torment us with them long after he is gone. We cannot be paralyzed by this possibility, but we would be foolish to ignore it. And according to recent reports, the CIA agrees with this analysis.

"What's so crazy about that?" I hear you cry. I'll tell you; the very next two sentences of her speech:

A world united in sharing the risk at least would make this occurrence less likely and more bearable and would be far more likely to share with us the considerable burden of rebuilding a secure and peaceful post-Saddam Iraq.

<b>WHAT?!?</b> Lady, you should fire those speechwriters. First you say that peace is working, and the only way to make Saddam a threat is to go to war with him. Then you say that if the whole world seems to be against him, this will make the likeliest outcome of the war 'less likely and more bearable' somehow.

It's as though Hillary thought that terrorists are a national army with a limited budget. If we give them more targets to hit, you know what'll happen? They'll hit more targets! The resources of terrorists are directly tied to public perception of the United States' foreign policy. the more people we kill in Iraq, the more money the terrorists get from sympathizers. Not that this is a direct metaphor, but it's also like trying to keep yourself mosquito-bite free by catching one and making an example of it for the rest of the insects.

On to Edwards.

I might pillory these people for voting to authorize the war, but I can't really assign the whole blame to two out of 200 senators from the minority party.

The changing popularity of the war has necessitated a national version of the Texas-Two-Step.


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