Sunday, April 15. 2007
Here's a quote from Tony Karon apropos of my last post:
Emphasis in original. Not sure what David Rieff has to do with this, and don't really want to know. But this makes clear the basic conceptual leap that those who've come to oppose, or at least regret, Bush's Iraq war have to make in order to prevent further wars. And Iran is just the beginning here: the war plans there are so similar to what we went through in Iraq that even the most rudimentary pattern-matching skills should be able to see clear through it. From Iran there is another leap to where Brezinski is on the War on Terror. I happen to be reading Bill Bradley's book, so I can report that he hasn't made that leap yet -- he doesn't discuss Iran, but from what he says about Iraq it seems pretty unlikely that he would repeat a mistake he didn't make in the first place. And there are further leaps beyond Brezinski: not only is the War on Terror a crock, so is the prefix War. And once you understand that war isn't politics by other means -- it's the failure of politics by any and all means -- then you have to doubt those acts which prepare and enable it, and ultimately the emotions that fuel them.
That may be asking too much, especially of a politician stuck in a media world that allows so little for rational discourse. But if you don't start from a firm conviction that war is something to be avoided if at all possible, you set yourself up for rhetorical ambush by everyone more bloodthirsty than yourself. You can think of this as an arms race: the choices are either don't participate or jump in whole hog and win -- any in-between position fails. One of the big problems that Democrats have is that they think moderate, centrist positions work because most people really are moderate centrists. But in politics they don't work, because all of the good rhetoric comes from the fringes, and that's what ultimately registers in people's minds. So even if philosophically you have doubts about pacifism, there's good political reasons to stand up against Bush-Cheney warmongering in the strongest possible terms, to question what makes them think that war ever works. I don't see how they can answer that.