Sunday, April 30, 2006

My Dear Ms. Huffington...

Several days ago Arianna Huffingtion (nee Conservative, now a Very Agitated Liberal) imagined she had something of worth to say by way of “rebuttal” against those who maintain that we should not allow Iraq to be Vietnam Redux – the job is too tough, so we must flee. I thought there might be something of worth, in reading an Actual Rebuttal of points I hold valid – a “rebuttal” after all carries the promise that it will be based on evidence and logic. Golly, I thought to myself, maybe there’s something I didn’t think of! An opportunity to be corrected! Priceless! Ah, so young and idealistic I was in those days.

Imagine the crushing disillusionment I suffered, to find my fond hope so cruelly dashed! I’m still somewhat unnerved by the trauma (but recovering apace, thank you for your solicitude. In lieu of flowers or candy, please make a non-tax-deductible contribution to The Rightwing Homophobic Reactionary Racist Biblethumping Bigots Against Freedom & Common Sense Fund – fascists/ hatred/ donations.).

Below, then, is a revised version of my comments to the lady in question, expanded and somewhat modified for clarity – the comments, I mean, not the lady … it is outside my power either to expand her or to modify her for clarity.


Ms. Huffington -

You write in your very badly organized opinion piece that you are “stunned” when your wish to bring the troops home from Iraq is met, even by your fellow liberals, with the claim that “we can’t leave until we’ve finished the job.” This is rebutted, as you suppose, by your wry observation: "As if the job of building a stable Iraq (let alone a truly democratic one) could be accomplished by the use of military force."

Your logic is flawed. Your error lies in your failure to understand the proper usage of the word "building." You also exhibit a lack of facility with the term "military force." "Military force," madam, is NOT a tool for "building" a “stable” Iraq. The tools to accomplish that job would be the institutions of a liberal democracy. A helpful analogy, to guide you toward a competent understanding, would be of a municipal police force - which does not build stability, but rather damps down the chaotic elements which work against stability. Schools, utilities, traffic lights, just laws ... these are what "build" stability.

Your glib two-pronged self-styled "rebuttal" is this: “One: withdrawing our troops from Iraq does not mean abandoning Iraq” and “Two: Withdrawing our troops from Iraq does mean eliminating the insurgency’s best recruitment tool.” By One, you mean “we need to give our money, our brains, our support in every way -- but no longer the lives of our soldiers.” By Two, you seem to mean “we need to stop being the issue.” I’m slightly embarrassed for you. Alas, this would be the extension of your thinking: To stop crime, we need fewer police. Police need to stop being the issue. Police are a recruiting tool for criminals. This is called an "analogy," and is meant to illustrate the vapidness of your claim.

Glossing over your Sibyl-like ad hominem characterization of Mr. Bush's motives, I pause to note your Sibyl-like knowledge of the next hundred years. Your self-confidence seems inflated, madam.

"If civil war in Iraq is to be averted, it will happen not because the Iraqi military is ready but because the people of Iraq have been convinced of the value of finally putting aside their ethnic and political differences." No, madam. Your “putting aside” solution requires a maturity that would be nurtured only after the institutions of democracy are in place. Civil war would be averted because the cost of it is deemed too high. The cost of it would be extracted by the power of the US-trained Iraqi military. This is self-evident, given the fact that the minority in control of Iraq under Hussein, maintained its control by force. The "civil war" which was always potential was not manifest because of a coercive force against it.

”It’s about winning hearts and minds, not winning body count tallies. And, in their hearts and minds, the Iraqis see us as occupiers not liberators.” Your powers of telepathic precognition would be more impressive if they were supported with valid data. As for your Vietnam nostalgia, it is touching but irrelevant. We do not win hearts and minds. We provide incentives and disincentives. You're all for the carrot, madam. The side you oppose is for the carrot and the stick. Which seems the more congruent with human nature?

Jack H


The Iraqis deserve better than tyranny. Not because they are better than some other society, but because they have equal human worth. We would not stand for it - why should they? They have endured it because the institutions of their culture immobilize, neutralize and castrate effective action. Bad air poisons the spirit. We have brought freedom to them. We were not wrong in this, even if they cannot keep it.


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