One of the signers of the Project for a New American Century letter, Peter Rodman, has died. They are as vile a bunch of villains as one could imagine, who worked tirelessly for years in the service of world domination and exploitation. Some of them have been fouling politics since Nixon's time. Their influence was/is deadly.
One down, 16 left to go. My money's on Rumsfeld. The world just isn't the same if you no longer can kill a hundred foreigners before breakfast.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
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Ouch. I knew him personally, and worked with him on some topics when I was in college. There were a number of things I disagreed with him on, but he wasn't actually a supervillain.
Oh boy, there's always a risk I'll insult someone somebody knows. It would be hypocritical to apologize, but I do regret hurting people. But I'm also so angry and ashamed, and I do want to hurt the people that did this, or helped do it.
I think that PNAC was a horrible, horrible influence on Bush and its think tank was filled with people who never considered the consequences of their actions, especially regarding Iraq. All the dead and maimed and tortured.
Hasn't this been well-established by now? Most people aren't supervillains, even the worst of the worst (Hitler loved animals, etc.) Nobody sits around watching infants tortured for an evening's entertainment, they don't bathe in the blood of twelve year-old virgins, and they don't shoot people on the street just to watch them die.
They do, however, use their education and luxury to sit around pontificating and coming up with intellectual justifications for why other people can physically do those things and have it be totally awesome, which is why they don't deserve any fucking sympathy because they called their grandmother every week or refrained from mutilating helpless pets.
There are a lot of things that PNAC advocated, but the "justification for other people to 'bathe in the blood of virgins'" wasn't it.
Bush cooked the books to get his war, and a number of PNAC names were part of his staff getting there. But I do think one can seperate the concept with the implementation.
There has been a long running strand of Liberal Intervention that periodically emerges from American Foreign Policy - to which, this particular bungling did a disservice.
There was a not-insubstantial volume of folks on the left who felt that removal of Saddam could well have served the country - presuming of course, it had been done in a realistic and competent way rather than as an exercise in ideology. A lot of people have mostly gone very quiet about that in recent years. I never particularly trusted this admin to topple Saddam, but that doesn't mean there weren't people I would have trusted to do it or ways that it could have been made to work.
I know what purpose radicalism serves, but hyperbolic comments like Blognoscenti's mostly just lose me. And if you want to know part of what keeps a war effort going - it's when undecideds decide they dislike the radicals more than they actually dislike a war that doesn't seem to affect them all that directly.
The liberals who helped--and I'm sure there are plenty--are just as to blame. Being a liberal doesn't automatically mean you're a good person, or even anti-authoritarian.
We had no right to take down Saddam through force. Legallity aside, invading another country without being attacked first is immoral. When your goal is corrupt it doesn't matter how well or badly you implement it, everything that flows from it will be corrupt also. You know what we've done to justify the invasion, you don't need (more of) a lecture from me.
I really hope people don't make such decisions out of spite. It's awful to think someone would want their government to kill people because it doesn't affect them personally.
"Bathing in the blood of virgins" was clearly offered up as a caricature of what a person would have to do to make people like you consider them a "supervillain". And since you're so excrutiatingly literal-minded, no, the PNAC didn't literally list virgin blood-baths as a perk to invading Iraq. However, anybody who's not a fucking moron could see equally shocking atrocities coming back in 2002 when the new product was rolled out.
See, here in the real world, people who aren't high on whatever they're huffing in think tanks understand that however pretty your scheme looks on paper, overthrowing governments in an already-unstable region is going to lead to horrific violence. Then there's the slight matter of how we don't have the fucking right to go around doing things like that in the first place. That kind of thinking only makes sense to people who take for granted the imperialist idea that the U.S. owns the world and can do whatever it sees fit.
But yes, if only it could have been done "competently" and "realistically". Jesus fucking Christ.
But I'm glad to see that all it takes is a little sarcasm to get jackasses like you sniffling and whining about how you're going to support the war if the dirty hippies don't stop being so mean. Whatever. Go fuck yourself if you're actually going to say that people shouldn't be outraged at what we've witnessed in the last eight years.
Or, another way to put it: how telling it is that to people like dlgood and his hordes of imaginary Americans, the "radicals" are those who use bad words and insults to express their anger, not the monsters who sit around dreaming up ways to exploit and annihilate countless thousands of people.
And how's that stellar example of "liberal" intervention, Kosovo, doing these days? A lot of drug running and sex slavery happening, not to mention who knows what health effects from the depleted uranium we dropped on them. But I guess that's all okay since it was a Democratic initiative.
"Legallity aside, invading another country without being attacked first is immoral."
Well, yes, with caveats...
In terms of individual self-defense or the defense of a third party, preemptive use of force (sometimes up to and including lethal force) is morally acceptable if and only if you believe yourself or the person you are assisting to be in danger of death or grievous injury. (For example, if you tackle a mugger who is pointing a gun at a little old lady.)
Some might suggest that it's morally wrong not to intervene if you see someone in danger.
The same principle applies on the larger level: preemption is morally permissible if and only if the nation or a third party nation is in real danger.
Note that proof of danger is not actually required. (If someone is pointing a gun at you, you don't have time to investigate whether the gun is loaded, if it's real, etc. You assume that it is, and morally, you would be justified in acting on that reasonable assumption.)
That's where the debate over Iraq actually falls: did the U.S. really believe itself (or Iraq's neighbors) to be in danger, or were they using that as an excuse?
An analogy might be a man who goes into his neighbor's yard and subdues him, because he believed the neighbor was pointing a weapon at his house. It's a sloppy situation that is probably illegal, but not really immoral.
I'm not advocating vigilantism (far from it), but I do want to recognize that there are morally permissible forms of intervention that don't require having been attacked first.
(P.S. - A handful of Christian moralists would even go so far as to assert that you may only use force in defending another person but never to defend yourself. It's an intriguing concept, but would probably make an unworkable foreign policy.)
Citizen grim, we are the United States of America. We are an enormous machine that can crush almost any country at will, through economic punishment and pressure on allies, denial of aid, and a hundred other ways I know nothing about. We outlasted the USSR. There is never a situation where we need to invade to get our will done.
War is a decision, always. Justification is found afterwards. And "the people" or their representatives do not make that decision. The elites that finance them make it. You might even say it's a business decision.
We were attacked during WWII. We didn't declare war until after Pearl Harbor; we helped in other ways before that time.
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