By Jeremiah Bourque
The title of this article was a phrase I read in an column
where the author was trying to establish his credibility by
mentioning leftists who "almost reflexively" opposed the war.
It's a nice way to dismiss your supposedly low-credibility
allies as low intelligence animals who respond by instinct
rather than thought, so as to bolster your own arguments.
The rest was not really important.
The problem I have with this is that my opposition is not
so much to the war, as a wide variety of mistakes being made
in it. I feel no pressure to toe the line to support the flag,
because the flag does not need my help; it is, rather, domestic
America which requires the help. It is not because of inherent
hatred of America that I think these things; it is because
of appreciation and affection for it. After all, why try to
change for the better, something that you hate? That's why,
in essence, old Communism failed to change America. It was
too consumed by what it found wrong, while dismissing what
was so obviously right.
The reflexes that are functioning without thought are those
on the Right, anyway. I mean, how else can we explain the
President's child-like simplicity in foreign policy, either
incapable of complex judgements, or preferring not to make
them? How can we account for Trent Lott's criticizing Daschle
for daring to question any aspect of the war, when he himself
made the bold declaration that he would support the troops
and the country, but not the President, on the eve of Clinton's
impeachment? He said it was all about timing. So what is a
good time for criticism? When there's nothing to criticize?
I've also read pieces of a Howard Fineman article that praised
Bush's personal qualities in such glowing terms that those
who take stock of these things continue to consider him the
top "Media Whore," which is to say, a lap dog. He also
recorded in detail, and then praised extensively, Bush's petty
vindictiveness against any reporter who crosses him, and his
ability to badger the media into submission through a combination
of brass knuckle politics and playing the Good Cop. The net
result is a vast reduction in the amount of diversity in the
reporting of the Presidency. This achievement (cough!) is
considered the mark of a great man.
No, it's just a shadow of a great man, the enforcer for his
clan, with his enforcer, Dick Cheney, a shadow of a
There's all sorts of stuff going on that my "almost reflexive"
instincts force me to look at. Exhibit A is the botched assault
in Afghanistan. A rescue chopper is shot down trying to recover
another, and we're all saying, "Oh, it's nothing, we bombed
them to kingdom come afterwards, just a pinprick." Well, then
I read the part about Americans encircling and attacking without
trenchworks or any sort of defenses, and then "retreated badly."
Trenchworks? Americans? 2002? It's obvious why they didn't
think of them (or wanted to bother).
After all, what's the lesson of the early part of the war?
Bomb to hell, watch enemy break and abandon fortifications,
Why wouldn't it work forever? They're too stupid to change.
Look who's talking.
Everywhere I look, I'm seeing reflexive behavior that has
nothing to do with actual thought. So what if some are on
the so-called anti-war side? Pro-war people are in charge
and dominate political speech at the moment. These people
have an incredible sense of self-pity.
Here's another little thing that I read today. Some group
of "Aztlan" supporters supposedly threatening with death conservatives
at Berkeley. What's next, KKK members complaining about the
Elders of Zion threatening them? Aztlan is more popular as
a right-wing focus of racist fear than as a Hispanic liberation
Also, I must wonder about the veraticity of the claim for
another reason: the worst insult they could come up for white
people is "gringo." Oh come on. At least try to use
something with the power of the n-word.
It's a simple ploy: Tell the press something that they want
to believe. (Well, in this case, it's the Washington Times,
and you know they want to believe this stuff. After all, their
whole existence is arguably founded on belief.) Doesn't matter
if it's true... they want to believe it. So tell them what
they want to hear, that supports your cause. The damage will
be already done.
These are the conservatives who spent their lifetimes fighting
the "evils of Communism" and their propagandist ways.
In my case, disgust is not a reflex. Rather, it is a conditioned
response forged by the power of logic. I know I'm not alone.
P.S. A piece
at Slate refers to the poison plan by the Pentagon and the
"uncurious" response of the Washington Post. I'm glad, in
hindsight, that I did an article
on it. It may be the last you'll ever read on the subject.
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