Wednesday :: Jun 29, 2005

JustOneSelf-Parody (or JustManySelf-Parodies)

by eriposte

Being busy with a few important projects, I try not to bother responding to the daily right-wing myth-making on terrorism and the Iraq war, but today I found a post that was "priceless" because it comes from one of the supposedly "rational" people out there.

It started with my click over to Seeing the Forest, where Dave Johnson has a good roundup of the Saddam-9/11 myth-making blog-droppings on the right. As I clicked through to read some of the links, I found myself on John Cole's post criticizing attempts by right-wingers to claim Saddam was somehow linked to 9/11. John concludes his post with this, though:

I really don't know what is more maddening- the attempts to claim Saddam had something to do with 9/11, or the attempts to claim Saddam had nothing to do with terrorism in general. Tom Maguire addresses the latter.

However, when I clicked through to Tom Maguire's post (at JustOneMinute) I actually didn't see any specific evidence of any Democrat or prominent lefty denying Saddam's links to terrorism. What Tom sets up is a convenient straw man where he first chides lefties for focusing on the "past" (2002 and bin Laden - oh they're so passe!):

Paul Krugman last week and Nancy Pelosi last night were a lot more interested in discussing the events of 2002 than the events of 2005.

Well, considering JustOneMinute's Dear Leader focused on an even earlier past --- what do you call it, mmm, hmm, ah, 9/11/2001 -- one can hardly blame lefties for being a little more "forward thinking" (2002 > 2001). Thus began, JustOneSelf-Parody.

Then, Tom helpfully points out:

And we keep saying, this is not a war on Osama, it is a war on terror. Saddam's links to terrorist organizations were well documented, and Saddam's regime was a source of instability - both the unpopular sanctions and the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia motivated terrorist groups including Al Qaeda.

If U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia were so destabilizing as to have made Iraq unstable and motivated terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, a much much larger number of troops occupying and ruling a country not far from Saudi Arabia - in the middle of routine suicide bombings, casualties, destruction and corruption - IS a far far greater destabilizing presence (more here). Some people who were not neocons did point this out (even before the war), but I suspect Tom was just trying out the new JustOneMinute -- JustOneSelf-Parody. Thanks for (indirectly) pointing out what we've been saying all along Tom.

Also quoting from Josh Marshall's (outdated) positive review of Kenneth "I was so spectacularly wrong so Bush please give me the Medal of Freedom" Pollack's opinions doesn't change the facts about Iraq or containment. More of JustOneSelf-Parody in this Marshall quote (which I suspect Josh probably doesn't agree with today) summarizing Pollack's position:

Yes, war against Iraq would be violent, destructive, and destabilizing. What supporters of containment often ignore is that their policy has quite similar results--just spread out over time.

It is one thing to quote this opinion (which was wrong even) before the botched invasion, but to cite this approvingly given the extraordinarily expensive terrorist breeding ground extraordinaire that has been created in Iraq because of the invasion (thanks to Bush and his neocon cronies) is a sick joke. An invasion that didn't include a plan to secure the weapons that Saddam was ostensibly and orgiastically about to share with "Al Qaeda" is considered similar to or better than containment? JustManySelf-Parodies.

Just for fun, let's see Josh's main summary (at the time) of Pollack's case for war - to see more of the tortured logic used to urge war (bold text is my emphasis):

He expresses little fear that Saddam will make any serious trouble in the near future or that he'll actually threaten the United States proper for some time to come. This is a different kind of argument. Pollack sketches out a series of intersecting trends that, he argues, will almost certainly make Saddam into a very big threat in the near future.

So, a threat that might have materialized (say) years out was a greater threat than one that had not only materialized and exterminated thousands of Americans, but was then largely ignored in Afghanistan after the initial superlative assault on the Taliban and Al Qaeda, thereby allowing them to resuscitate and build an even more drug-money fueled terrorist haven.

Josh's article continues (to summarize Pollack's arguments):

If today, for instance, we build up a massive 200,000- to 300,000-man force on his borders Saddam can comply with inspections for, say, six months or a year. But it would be extremely onerous for us in military, diplomatic, and economic terms to keep such a force in place for that long. Probably impossible.

Really! Wow. I certainly invite Mr. Pollack to count the number of years we are going to stay in Iraq (with a 120,000+ force) almost entirely at American taxpaper expense, while the GOP and Iraq have become corruption central to also divert chunks of our taxpayer money to myriad, seedy and well-connected "have mores".

Anyway, Tom, as we lefties keep saying:

  • This is a war on terrorism with the highest priority given to the biggest and strongest threats, rather than to the weakest threats. If mere links to terrorism was a reason to go to war against someone, the list would be quite long.
  • There were much bigger threats than Saddam to focus hundreds of billions of dollars and a big chunk of our armed forces on. One such threat happens to be called Osama bin Laden and his organization called Al Qaeda. Other such threats include the states of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (and the terrorist groups they shelter), who were actually culpable in 9/11 unlike Saddam (and it appears that Mr. Maguire is in the "No Saddam-9/11 link" group at least - so the delusions are only partial) - not to mention Pakistan's (then) uncurtailed nuclear proliferation. (But yes, I understand, when one becomes Bush's "ally" the word "terrorist" no longer applies.) And there are more.
  • Iraq-war-lovers may love ultra-incompetent, corrupt neocons and others (like Pollack) who were spectacularly wrong about virtually every single claim they made about Saddam's capabilities, Iraq and the aftermath of the war, but we try to place our bets on people who know what they are talking about, who are competent and know how to win wars against real threats.

So thanks for the self-parody, but no thanks.

eriposte :: 10:11 PM :: Comments (13) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!