Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On Scarecrows and other brainlessness

Okay, let me check this out. I'm going to try arguing like a Bushie.

(NB: By "Bushie" I don't mean "a supporter of Bush", but "someone who argues using the same pathetic logic and mendaciousness that characterizes supporters of Bush.")

"It's true that some conservatives think there's nothing wrong with the murder of innocent people, if you've declared that you're fighting a war, but I must point out that they've forgotten the lessons of 9/11, where we saw a terrorist-declared war lead to an atrocity that staggered our national imagination."

Damn. That's easy. It's also got some truth to it... the Bushies saw nothing wrong with invading Iraq, which clearly led to the murder of innocent people. Yes, I know, I know, "but murder is the unlawful killing of people! This is war!"

See, in Iraq, our invasion wasn't lawful, and the killings we caused weren't lawful. It's just that the entire government didn't have the power to arrest our invading force and hold them for trial[1]. Calling it "murder", since it was not done to prevent a imminent greater wrong, is reasonably accurate. If Iraq had been about to invade us, or even about to launch an attack, or even looking as if it was going to launch an attack... but it wasn't.

So, no, killing people, even in a war, is not okay. The Bushies are okay with it, and even too-damn-many conservatives are too, as long as it's not US citizens who are dying.

It's not fair, but it does have some truth. Which is scary, because I was inspired by Christopher "Scarecrow" Hitchens. I call him "Scarecrow" because he should be off to see the wizard for raising brainless strawmen. For example, in one column, he suggested that there was a big question over whether Saddam Hussein might have sent envoys to Niger to discuss possible uranium sales.

That was never a question. No one cared if there was talk; Niger knew what side of the bread was buttered, and it wasn't the Iraq side. Further, Bush's "Sixteen Words" weren't about talk... they were about "significant quantities," a suspicion of an attempted purchase.

But now, now, he's attacking "myths" about Al Qaeda in Iraq. I suppose it's easy to bash myths (like the myth that conservatives don't care about the deaths of innocent people) when you make those myths up yourself (as I did above).

Here's one of my favorite quotes:
The founder of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who we can now gratefully describe as "the late." The first thing to notice about him is that he was in Iraq before we were. The second thing to notice is that he fled to Iraq only because he, and many others like him, had been driven out of Afghanistan. Thus, by the logic of those who say that Afghanistan is the "real" war, he would have been better left as he was. Without the overthrow of the Taliban, he and his collaborators would not have moved to take advantage of the next failed/rogue state.

Iraq was the next failed/rogue state! Seriously:

To say that the attempt to Talibanize Iraq would not be happening at all if coalition forces were not present is to make two unsafe assumptions and one possibly suicidal one. The first assumption is that the vultures would never have gathered to feast on the decaying cadaver of the Saddamist state, a state that was in a process of implosion well before 2003.

Iraq was teetering on the brink, and *that* is why we had no choice but to invade to bring about regime change, because, uh... well, gee, if Iraq was a decaying cadaver, we could have found a better way than a full invasion, couldn't we?

And it is well known - even Bush knows this! - that AQI arose in the chaos after the invasion. Bush (with Bushies like Hitchens cheerleading him) created a chaotic situation that couldn't be controlled with the available resources; bad things happened because of this. Is this a surprise?

This doesn't faze people like ol' Scarecrow, though. He knows that the decision to invade was right, all he has to do is angrily insist it was, making up specious arguments along the way!

[1] Technically, of course, they wouldn't have been held for trial, but as POWs. The main point is that the Iraqi government would not consider the killings of its citizenry "lawful", since they had not acted aggressively against us.

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