Wednesday, April 30, 2003

There were a lot of reasons to be thankful for a speedy victory in Iraq, but one that hadn't occurred to me is the refreshing break from the interminable "should we/shouldn't we?" debate in every blog/editorial/magazine, etc. First the Hitch calms down, breathes, and writes articles once again worth reading. Now, I've suddenly found myself agreeing with Andrew Sullivan 3 TIMES in the past two days. I had pretty much given up reading him--I always enjoyed his contrarian viewpoint, but the Bush ass-kissing and the war-fever were giving me hives. Now, he's writing convincing, urgent screeds against Santorum that I have enjoyed following. Today's rant against Norman Mailer was another I had to admire. In a Times of London article, Mailer claims that the war was a front for saving the self-esteem of the white male by writing:
the good white American male still had the Armed Forces. If blacks and Hispanics were numerous there, still they were not a majority, and the officer corps, (if the TV was a reliable witness), suggested that the percentage of white men increased as one rose in rank to the higher officers. Moreover, we had knock-out tank echelons, Super-Marines, and-one magical ace in the hole -- the best air force that ever existed. If we cannot find our machismo anywhere else, we can certainly settle in on the interface between combat and technology. Let me then advance the offensive suggestion that this may have been one of the cardinal reasons we went looking for war.

Sullivan responds with:
Yes, it is offensive, in as much as it is offensively stupid. Mailer also ignores the other obvious facet of the new military: the presence of women. So apart from the fact that the military is a showcase for feminism and racial integration, it's a symbol of white male supremacy? Does no-one even edit this drivel?

Agreed. Third and final point of agreement is a minor one, but quite telling. Sullivan has been bitching and moaning for ages about the extreme radical bias of the BBC. Mostly I ignore these posts because they are long and boring. But yesterday's was quick and striking. When referring to Osama bin Laden, the BBC says;
It is one of the main reasons given by the Saudi-born dissident - blamed by Washington for the 11 September attacks - to justify violence against the United States and its allies.

Sullivan comes back with:
Sakharov, Walesa, bin Laden. That's the mind of the BBC.

Agreed. It's not always jingoistic to call a spade a spade. Okay, bin Laden dissents, sure. But he's a mirror image of the others. Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela--these are men who put their lives and their family's lives on the line to achieve democracy and self-determination in the face of a oppressive regime. It is unconscionable that the commentators at the BBC do not have the moral intelligence to differentiate between a murderous ideologue and courageous reformers, and it is an insult to those we revere as dissidents to include his name in their ranks.


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