Thursday, March 20, 2008

Give War a Chance

Christopher Hitchens reflects on the benefits (and costs) of the IWE:

""""""A much-wanted war criminal was put on public trial. The Kurdish and Shiite majority was rescued from the ever-present threat of a renewed genocide. A huge, hideous military and party apparatus, directed at internal repression and external aggression was (perhaps overhastily) dismantled. The largest wetlands in the region, habitat of the historic Marsh Arabs, have been largely recuperated. Huge fresh oilfields have been found, including in formerly oil free Sunni provinces, and some important initial investment in them made. Elections have been held, and the outline of a federal system has been proposed as the only alternative to a) a sectarian despotism and b) a sectarian partition and fragmentation. Not unimportantly, a battlefield defeat has been inflicted on al-Qaida and its surrogates, who (not without some Baathist collaboration) had hoped to constitute the successor regime in a failed state and an imploded society. Further afield, a perfectly defensible case can be made that the Syrian Baathists would not have evacuated Lebanon, nor would the Qaddafi gang have turned over Libya's (much higher than anticipated) stock of WMD if not for the ripple effect of the removal of the region's keystone dictatorship. """""

At least Hitchens, however jaded, grants that War is hell. That slice of RealPolitik--the machiavellian gambit-- probably offends many sentimental leftists (most of whom never bothered with the finer points of the Robb-Silbermann report). Regardless, the IWE could conceivably result in some good, and the furthering of democracy (and it might be recalled that Hitchens, to his credit, pointed out the BS of the Lancet report a few years ago). The IWE, while hardly a cakewalk, was not a 'Nam.

CH's assertion earlier in the essay that "we were not lied to" also important; that's not to say that we here at Contingencies buy it completely, nor have we ever blessed BushCo, or the GOP (in the words of another great political thinker, Matt Stone of South Park, "I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals.") Really, we are not attached to the dogma of links oder rechts, and grant that Hitchens could be a lying sack of scheisse wrong, but his fibs are not completely lacking in wit. Compared to the usual prattling, hysteria-case of DailyKOS, Hitchens seems about like Friedrich Nietzsche hisself.

The ugliness of the IWE may hinge on the potential mendaciousness on the part of Bush admin.: alas, that's part of spectator democracy--DNCocrats are every bit as capable of mendaciousness. Apart from some Stockholm-like tribunal putting the entire US Govt on trial (not just the "Bush-Cheney regime," as most dimwitted, narcissistic gangsta-crats assert), however, little else can be done but to count the stacks remaining at the table, and prevent the Obama-gang from enacting their bogus retaliation.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, ah hope you read this, Scumbagonius: regular krak tests, ASAP

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

The Real Machiavellian gambit would have been to leave the bastard in place, 1)to act as a counterbalance to Iran (AKA, to prevent a Shia crescent) and 2)to keep the God damned country together, and contain him. As it stands now, we're potentially looking at something that could make Lebanon look like "West Side Story".

J said...

Perhaps. My readings of the Robb-Silbermann report, however, lead me to believe there were grounds for some actions against Hussein and the Baathists. The baathists had been ignoring UN compliance orders for years; they had already gone shopping for weapons-grade uranium, they had missiles of all sorts (some aimed directly at Tel Aviv) and they had manufactured bio-toxins (like anthrax, etc.). Hussein had liquidated thousands, as Hitchens noted. I wager the Israeli hawks wanted Hussein and the Baathists removed, ASAP.

The GOPers then ran with the scant evidence, and sold the war. We may not have been lied too, but there was some hype and flag-waving of course, assisted by the media, and the 911 hysteria. Regardless, nearly all the leading US democratic senators and congresspeople agreed to the IWE-- at each stage.

The recanting BS of an Edwards thus seems pretty hollow: the politicians (not exactly average citizens) were briefed by military intelligence, CIA, given all sorts of evidence, etc. They COULD have raised a bit f-n stink at the time. Few did. Those who consider the IWE a great injustice must acknowledge that it involves bipartisan "collusion" including legislative and executive branches as well as the US military and who knows what else.

(I sympathize, to some degree, with the isolationist sort of arguments, and the Ron Paul sort of analysis. Isolationist policies on the part of the USA however probably don't go over too well in Tel Aviv, not to say Europa. It may be a situation where the USA, given their actions over the last few years (not all to be applauded) must remain strong).

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