Monday, May 10, 2004

What Do You Mean "We," White Man?

The essential reporting on the Abu Ghraib story's being done by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. Piece the first, piece the second.

I've heard Hersh interviewed a couple of times today, and the bit that's probably the most disconcerting is that he's said in those interviews that additional abuses were carried out by members of a different military group, which indicates that the torture practices were widespread and, shockingly, systematic.

Of course, the Bush administration has regularly argued against protections for any of the dudes captured in our great and ungoing War Against An Abstract Noun. Which doesn't look so good, now, does it?

I've found it eerie how often commentators talk about how special deference must be granted the president, how special measures must be taken "in wartime." Scary when you realize that there's no declared (ie by congress) war, and that you could use the rhetoric with almost anything else. Need to suspend habeas corpus for US citizens? War on Terror. Next, need to to suspend habeas corpus for the wily Negro? War on Drugs. or Crime. They don't have to be actual Wars, you know. We just need the rhetoric.

Though I will give the conservatives some credit. I half expected them to come out in favor of the behavior in the photos. This is a war! We can't be all faggotty liberal with Joe Towelhead, because 9/11! To see them claim that porn is to blame - well, that's retarded but fine in comparison to what they could be saying. Oh, and by the way, I have never seen any porn which featured a naked dude being attacked by two German shepherds threatening to tear his sack off. I've seen some crazy bme shit, but never the dog/castration threat porn.

So now Andrew Sullivan's wringing his androgel-and-ky-stained hands, almost to the point of saying that the Iraq War wasn't worth it. What a cunt. This asshole was so certain that this would be a success before the war that he had the gall to call those questioning the war "objectively pro-Saddam." The people who now have every right to scream "I fucking told you so!" The people who turned out to be right, who actually used their brains to think through a complex situation and deliver a rational evaluation of the war, these are the people whom Sullivan smeared as anti-American. It's disgusting. He should stop writing for shame.

My other current fave in the world of conservatism is David Brooks. Brooks now writes editorials for the New York Times. A funny theme in his writing thus far has been this notion that the current political climate is too polarized, that the two sides of the political spectrum aren't talking to one another. This would be much more convincing if Brooks had been writing this in the 90's. Now, it seems to be just a lame reaction to the strong (and, as Andy Sullivan now knows, often valid) criticism of the Bush administration. It's as if he's so offended by Al Franken writing a nasty little jibe at the right that he must decry partisanship.

The attempted right-wing coup during the 90's, though, apparently sailed beneath his radar.

Now Brooks gives us this crap. Some choice samples:

Nonetheless, it's not too early to begin thinking about what was clearly an intellectual failure. There was, above all, a failure to understand the consequences of our power. There was a failure to anticipate the response our power would have on the people we sought to liberate. They resent us for our power and at the same time expect us to be capable of everything. There was a failure to understand the effect our power would have on other people around the world. We were so sure we were using our might for noble purposes, we assumed that sooner or later, everybody else would see that as well. Far from being blinded by greed, we were blinded by idealism.

There was a failure, there was, there was. It's like when politicians say, "Mistakes were made." It isn't a case of "there was a failure," it's a case of "we failed." More specifically, it's a case of "We were blinded by a fairy tale of establishing an empire of good that we ignored rational criticism and denounced the patriotism and sanity of those who were telling the truth all along."

We went into Iraq with what, in retrospect, seems like a childish fantasy. We were going to topple Saddam, establish democracy and hand the country back to grateful Iraqis. We expected to be universally admired when it was all over.

Who's "we," shithead? Some of us were saying all along that this was a childish fantasy. David Brooks, if you'll recall, before the war was busy not considering the opposing side or even refuting their arguments. David Brooks called those who opposed the war anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. He dismissively wrote that those who talked about the plans of the "neoconservatives" thought that "neo" stood for "Jewish." Of course, Brooks now clearly lays out the neoconservative agenda without wringing his hands over conspiracy theories and without the need to paint his opponents as anti-Semites. Of course, he could have considered the opposing side's arguments at the time, but it's so much more convenient to call them Neo-Nazis, isn't it?

Oh, and as for the universal admiration bit, I'd just like to say three words. Freedom Fucking Fries.

Now, Brooks goes on to argue that the Iraqis must destroy us in order to survive, basically. It's all terribly poetic. You see, we have valiantly tried to save those poor towelheads, but they resent us so that the only way for our mission - a free, democratic, stable Iraq - to be realized is for the Iraqis to throw off their new American oppressors and become independent. Then, on that glorious day when our hopes and dreams will reach fulfillment, when the True Freedom-Lover inside every Sand Nigger shines forth, America will let go of its once wayward child and look, with bittersweet love at the new Iraq.

And we will have learned about the irony of our situation.

Actually, I think we've learned a couple of different things.

1-PNAC/neoconservatism/the Bush Doctrine were all shit. Nation-building's fucking hard and it hasn't worked. Now they hate us more. Do you really think we're safer from Islamic extremism now that we've got pictures of the US Army siccing German Shepherds on naked Iraqi prisoners. Prisoners who might not have done anything. According to the Taguba report, up to 60% of the people in Abu Ghraib were guilty of nothing, picked up for no reason, and should've been sent along their merry way long ago. Oh, and if you think it's bad now, what do you think the reaction will be when the supposed videotapes of soldiers raping young boys come out? Do you think that Johnny Jihadi's gonna look at that footage and think, "Whoa, America's awesome! Let's give up our shit religion and lube up our assholes!"

2-My way or the highway-ism doesn't work. Standing alone sometimes means that you're completely in the wrong and should seriously think twice about why nobody else other than fucking Poland is on your side. Seriously. The "let's be tough" stance was an utter failure with China, North Korea, and Iraq. Which is to say that the Bush foreign policy of moral clarity is retarded. Fucking conservatives love that "there's right and there's wrong and neer the twain shall meet" shit. Of course, when we've followed that kind of thinking, in Iraq, we've fucked up big time. With China and North Korea, that shit didn't even get out of the gate before we had to go back to being all diplomatic and negotiating and all that stuff that you have to be smart and wise to do.

3-Mainstream conservatism is intellectually bankrupt. These assholes constantly smear the left, constantly bitch about how we think we're so much smarter than they are. Thing is, we apparently are. The moral clarity bit, supposed to be the hallmark of Bush foreign policy, key to his "us vs them" "good vs evil" worldview, is a recipe for disaster. This is restoring honor to the White House? Give me a zillion adulterous blowjobs (no, really, give em to me!) before you start sicking dogs on some poor dude's gonads. But more than just Bush, it's those fucking commentators who are so fucking busy talking about how leftists are objectively pro-Saddam, how we're anti-Semitic, how we're conspiracy theorists, how we're Stalinists with the morals of Lynndie England (ok, maybe they didn't make that comparison), that they don't open their fucking ears and listen. They've got a fucking fairy tale, and they're good to go. Democratize the middle east? Sounds awesome, let's do it! Think it could be difficult, then you suck Trotsky's rotten dick, you faggot.

Which brings me to my final point. It's a charge that's being leveled at liberals more often. Brooks brought it up in one of his awful red vs blue columns. The charge is that liberals think they have a more nuanced, intellectual view of political matters than conservatives. This charge really bothers me, because I think there's some truth to it.

I really do believe that people can have honest disagreements with one another. I don't believe in painting all the members of a group with a broad brush. There are certainly intelligent conservatives, and I don't think that to be conservative is to be stupid or dull.

But. After Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, George Bush, Bernard Goldberg, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Medved, David Brooks, Andrew Sullivan, George Will, objectively pro-Saddam, "neo" means "Jewish," "Democrat" used as an adjective, 9/11 used as an Iraq war justification, "Socialism," "Stalinist," "Feminazi," "Hitlery Clinton," "Klinton," calling Chelsea "the White House dog," "Kerry looks French," "Liberal Media Bias," "Al Gore is the basis of Love Canal." After all that thoughtless, meaningless pap conceived to do nothing more than play to peoples' worst instincts, after all that demagoguery, I have to say the right is infected with a willfull ignorance and stupidity that expresses itself in a kind of cultural radicalism that can in no way be called "conservative."

And this ugly, pustulent tumor on America's democracy is anything but intelligent.

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