Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mighty Quiet in Here
Christ, what a retard. That was my reaction to Bush's speech yesterday before the VFW. It's bad enough that he keeps flogging September 11, bad enough that he yammers about staying the course like an obsessive/compulsive parrot--but his attempts to characterize the "war on terror" as every 20th-century war rolled into one is the kind of thing you'd say only if you'd flunked a lot of history courses. And I wondered again, for the 114,376th time since January 2001, "How did somebody so goddamn dim ever get to be president?"

Regarding Iraq's purported similarities to other American wars, a person with half a brain cell capable of critical thinking should be able to understand the difference. Let's take World War II as an example. That war began with unambiguous provocations--we knew who we had to fight and where to go to fight them. If Bush had been president when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he'd have gone to war against Brazil. World War II had clear objectives that would bring it to an end when accomplished--the capture of Berlin and the crippling of the Japanese war machine. If Bush had been president during World War II, we'd still be hopping islands in the Pacific looking for "evildoers."

That Bush feels the need to go on a five-day PR campaign to shore up support for the war is evidence enough that his equation of it with other American wars is false. Go ahead, ask somebody who remembers World War II. The reason some people remember it as "the good war" (rightly or wrongly) is that it transformed American society, giving every citizen the opportunity to feel like they were contributing. Nearly everyone knew somebody who was fighting, and in the unlikely event they didn't, things like gas rationing and war-bond sales brought the war home anyway. There really was a "homefront" in that war. FDR didn't have to explain the stakes to people with the same tired cliches again and again and again, because Americans knew the stakes in a visceral way.

All we're being asked to contribute now is our silence as the war spins out of control. Those who try to think constructively about ways out end up getting vilified--but Digby observes that trying to escape that vilification, whether it's by taking the Biden/Hillary line, which essentially boils down to "keep doing what we're doing and wish harder," or not talking about the war at all, is a losing strategy for Democrats. By talking about ways out of the quagmire, we can make the Repugs defend what they're doing, and take ownership of what they've already done. After all, it nearly got Paul Hackett over the hump in Ohio, where a Democrat shouldn't have had a snowball's chance in Hell.

"Will No One Rid Me Will Rid Me of This Meddlesome Priest?": Eight hundred years ago, Henry II said it about Thomas Becket and got results--so somebody ought to say it about Pat Fucking Robertson. If an equally prominent liberal called for the assassination of a democratically elected foreign leader, Repugs and the media from coast to coast would be demanding that the Democrats disavow the remark, the speaker, and everything the speaker ever stood for. So we await the equivalent condemnation of Robertson.

(Insert sound of crickets chirping here.)

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