Thursday, March 25, 2004

I started reading blogs after 9/11. I found myself increasily agreeing with conservatives -- a strange position for someone who had always vilified the Republican party. Yet, it seemed liberals were out of touch, absolutely crazy in their obsession with peace. I saw the people I had always agreed with lapse into incoherence. Examples:

A couple of days after the twin tower attacks, the local chapter of Amnesty International held a peace vigil. About 15 people showed up. Five people showed up to protest the vigil; they stood in the back holding up "America Is At War"signs. I was passsing by on my way to class and stopped to have a look. "We believe that bombing Afghanistan would not be what the American people want," I heard the speaker read from cards to mild applause. Who are you to be a spokesman for the American people? I thought. In fact, the American people did support overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan. Look around you and see that your opinion isnt representative of everyone else.

The event had a surreal quality to me. Imagine a peace vigil the day after Pearl Harbor. When you are attacked, the first thing on your mind should be finding out who attacked you and making sure it never happens again. These people would have opposed fighting Nazi Germany in the name of "peace." I saw their attitudes in an especially ironic light; in the months below 9/11, a few people have sent e-petitions for me to sign which condemned the Taliban's treatment of women. I refused to sign these things because it was an inherently pointless exercise; do they really think that the Taliban is going to change because of their petition? There is only one way of getting rid of a brutal regime that oppresses its citizens and inflicts violence on other nations, and it involves force.

Village Voice solicited a number of novelists and essayists for short statements on 9/11 shortly thereafter. I read with disbelief Alice Walker's statement: "But what would happen to [Osama Bin Laden's] cool armor if he could be reminded of all the good, nonviolent things he has done? Further, what would happen to him if he could be brought to understand the preciousness of the lives he has destroyed? I firmly believe the only punishment that works is love." I didn't even know Osama had a cool armor. Chomsky replied with something incoherent about Nicaragua. Naomi Klein blamed globalization.

Many respondents to the Village Voice tended to blame global poverty for terrorism, a point that does not stand up to scrutiny. Saudi Arabia, for example, is a pretty rich country: every adult male is guaranteed a job. Jordan, on the other hand, has very little oil and tends to be much poorer. Yet its share of the terrorism pie is very, very small -- especially so considering its proximity to Palestine and the natural affinity with the Palestinian cause.

Anyway, poverty was stressed; Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, wrote: "I don't know how you wage war against one person; it doesn't make sense. I can imagine a commando-type raid to capture Bin Laden, then a trial, with evidence, before the world court. But that would not address the vast global inequalities in which terrorism is ultimately rooted. What is so heartbreaking to me as a feminist is that the strongest response to corporate globalization and U.S. military domination is based on such a violent and misogynist ideology."

Call me crazy, but with the memory of the twin towers still fresh in memory, this sounded just plain idiotic. She doesn't like the fact that the suicide bombers are misogynistic??? Scratch that; its still idiotic, three years down the line.

I started reading blogs, mostly those with a conservative slant; Instapundit, Volokh Conspiracy, James Taranto's Best of the Web, Jane Galt, then later Andrew Sullivan and OxBlog. I especially liked Taranto, with his obsessive documentation of the various idiocies the anti-war activists were spouting during the Afghanistan conflict.

Lots of things happenned since then. We went to war with Iraq -- which I supported at the time -- and then we didn't find weapons of mass destruction there. Worse, it seems certain that Bush and company overhyped their intelligence. How can we expect other countries to trust America in the future if we mislead them? I've always been one for a hawkish foreign policy, but lying? We managed to turn a huge surplus into a large defecit. Goverment spending has increased at a record rate (so much for Republicans liking small goverment). And Bush has been deceitful on a number of issues, like the cost of his tax cut, the cost of his medicare bill, and so on.

So you could say I've had a fallout with conservatives.

When I go back and read my old blogs now -- ugh. Volokh Conspiracy is still great. Its the only one I still like. Best of The Web is nothing more than a Republican attack machine. Instapundit is just stupid. Today, I decided to take a look at Instapundit; the last time I read him was over 6 months ago. Here is the entry I stumbled onto that prompted this monologue. Its about Dick Clarke's appearance before the press 3 years ago when he was working for Bush; in that appereance he praised Bush's record on terrorism. Clarke, of course, has recently come out with a book thats very critical of the administration's terrorism record.

Clarke's current explanation -- he was lying then, not now:

"When you are special assistant to the president and you're asked to explain something that is potentially embarrassing to the administration, because the administration didn't do enough or didn't do it in a timely manner and is taking political heat for it, as was the case there, you have a choice," he said.

One "choice that one has is to put the best face you can for the administration on the facts as they were, and that is what I did."

This guy's working for Rove. By the time he's done imploding, Bush will have discredited the media and all his critics. It's the only thing that makes sense.

The other possibility is that Clarke held an important national security job for years while being dumb as a post, so dumb that he would write a book making explosive accusations against the White House while knowing -- or forgetting? -- that all sorts of contradictory evidence was on the record and bound to come out. Otherwise, wouldn't he at least have tried to explain this stuff up front?

Posts like this make me wonder how I ever enjoyed reading this man. There is nothing thats difficult to grasp here; Clarke was working for Bush and was asked to put the positive spin on something. He presented an optimistic view of the facts to the press. This isn't unethical; its what you do when you work in the White House. Now that he isn't working for anyone, Clarke comes out with his own perspective. Will it be easier if I diagram this for him?


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