Saturday, November 25, 2006

Burning Man

(As in Atrios' "Ow, the stupid .... it burns!")

Reader TA thinks I waste my time pointing out the mind-boggling stupidity of the punditocracy. But their nonsense occupies the main stage in our national thought festival, and as I've said before, ignoring them here in this tiny backwater blog is a rather empty gesture.

Anyway, Victor Davis Hanson avoids giving Richard Cohen a run for Dumbest Man in D.C. only because, well, he isn't in D.C. Yesterday my local paper ran his latest attempt to cast his steadfast support for Dick and Don's Excellent Adventure in a positive light, a bent nail he has been hammering for years now.

As I pointed out before, Davis has obviously noticed that his neocon bedfellows have been abandoning ship for months, and he ain't happy about it. With his latest delusion, he seems to have finally stopped trying to pretend that Iraq is a success. I guess we should be thankful for this favor. But Vic's fallback is one I have ridiculed when offered by his intellectual stablemate, Richard Cohen: that we invaded Iraq in a "surfeit of altrusim."

George W. Bush resolved to democratize Iraq also as a way to confront three grim facts of our recent past.

(1) The United States had been far too friendly with atrocious regimes in the Middle East. ...

(2) At key moments in the 1980s and '90s, the United States signaled it would appease its terrorist enemies rather than engage in the difficult work of uprooting them. ...

(3) The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed how the U.S. looked at the Middle East status quo. That attack was the work of terrorists enabled by our autocratic clients in the Middle East and emboldened by our previous inaction. In response, Iraq was an effort to end both the cynical realism and the convenient appeasement of the past -- and so to address the much larger problems of the Middle East that, if left alone, could lead to another large-scale terrorist attack in the United States.

As usual, Vic's writing is a dense fudge of lies and silliness, and I've already wasted too many hours of my life on the specifics. (I've noticed wingnut sites skip the fact-and-logic part of their arguments and skip to the blithe dismissal all the time. In their cases, it is usually because there is no fact-and-logic behind the dismissal. That ain't me babe, as the links above show.) But the breathtaking logical triple axel is what caught my attention. In essence, Vic argues thusly: what we did in Iraq must be good, or at least honorable, because it was done to correct past mistakes. "Don't blame me for steering the car into oncoming traffic on my left -- yesterday I sideswiped three parked cars on the right!" It would never occur to Vic that the right answer might be to let someone else drive.

Thus this pilgrim's sad progress:

1. We were right.
2. We were right.
N. We were right.
N+1. OK- maybe we weren't right, but two wrongs make a right, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first lesson in acting class is the double/triple-take. As in: Whazzat? The next lesson is the hollow, intended-to-be-understood-as-fake, expression of emotion: Ha-ha-ha. I don't so much recommend ignoring the assholes (ignorance=death catching you upside the head sooner or later) as I think that it's appropriate to simply give them the completely, obviously hollow ha-ha-ha. The people who get it will understand you're on their frequency, those who sort of get it will be inspired to look critically, and the rest… well there's not much hope. Please look at the possible outcomes before investing venom (or counting coup). Why waste good poison? National THOUGHT festival?? Surely you can't believe giving those folks such undue credit for thinking has any positive value?

Once you've gotten over taking idiots to task, you can note just in passing that they're doing it again (ha-ha-ha). There is no need to refute the idiocy. Then you'll have time to review the current events as revealed by facts and statistics that are often hidden (a job that really needs doing) and tell us what nuggets you've dug up.

One of my favorite T-shirt slogans: "Keyboard error or no keyboard present --- Press any key to continue." Does it fit in with idiot bashing? Do you really think that the people who don't/won't see the idiocy WILL, after having it explained to them in exquisite detail why the idiots are … idiots? Isn't it our definition of really, really stupid/dumb/idiotic behavior or arguments that the perpetrator won't ever see the stupidity, and anyone else who doesn't see it is equally an idiot? So, just how do you propose to enlighten them? See my comment concerning mirrors.

By the way, the third lesson is on how to display believable emotion, a subject for another post.


3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(1) The United States had been far too friendly with atrocious regimes in the Middle East. ...

Saudi Arabia has been in the bush dynasty's vest pocket for generations. They have promised personal gain to the bushes. In return, the bushes have delivered war and strife, and chaos in the middle east.

And Saudi Arabia smiles. They have become the lion of the middle east. One hand washes the other.

5:19 AM  

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