I’ve written before that while I prefer to see public debate conducted politely and decorously, there do come times — bad wars in particular — when other things are more important. (See When Bad Taste is Acceptable.)
It’s in that spirit that I bring you this long quote from Atrios,
Eschaton: I know regulars understand this, but for those coming in late and wondering what all the discussion of Friedman Units of time is about, it began with FAIR pointing out that Friedman was forever labeling the next six months in Iraq as a critical, decisive time. But the real issue isn’t about prognostication, but about the perpetual punting of The Iraq Question to a future date. It allows the pundit, or politician, to seem Real Concerned About The War without actually bothering to take it seriously.
George Bush is president. He is incompetent and a bit nuts. He is in charge of running the war. One half an F.U. or a full F.U. or even four F.U.s from now things in Iraq will be pretty much as they are, only a bit worse. If you are concerned about things in Iraq you’ll stop furrowing your brow while pontificating about how we’re, once again, At A Really Critical Moment, and start accepting the fact that the only thing which could possibly improve things is new leadership. This involves, at the very least: the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld and his replacement by a competent person, the resgination of Condi Rice and her replacement by a competent person, the permanent relegation of Dick Cheney to an undisclosed location far away from any actual power to make decisions, the replacement of the current military leadership who have been chosen for their loyalty to their incompetent civilian leaders, and the election of Democrats to Congress who can hopefully engage in some of the meaningful oversight that the Republicans have shown no interest in having in order to force some of these changes.
I didn’t back this war, but those who did have an extra moral responsibility to the troops they sent there, their families, and the people of Iraq to prevent President Bush from continuing his incompetent leadership there. But most of them don’t. They continue to punt the issue one F.U. at a time, while their little sociopathic brains dream of ponies.
One F.U. from now, what are you going to suggest we do differently? If you don’t have a realistic answer to that, then I politely suggest you S.T.F.U.
Not that it’s an easy question. But we should stop running away from it while our fellow citizens, and other fellow beings, are being killed by the dozen daily.
Sorry I just hate that “acquiesence” note. Acquiesence is not my best trick. I do not acquisese to that quote–I say, “Hear, hear!”
Hmm … it’s complicated. If you’re prematurely anti-Fascist (n.b. a historical allusion), you just get thrown out of the establishment, or marginalized. But if you’re really an avant-garde, you move the range of acceptable conventional opinion. It’s not clear beforehand what’ll happen.
I mean, I share the sentiment. But objectively, there’s a kind of recursive problem involved, a game-theory of activism.
Seth, I understand the allusion exactly. My uncle’s career was stunted by precisely that conclusion on the part of the FBI. They were wrong, though: a more accurate adjective would have been “genetically.”