Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Andrew Sullivan today is positively offensive. He claims that "anti-war types" have forgotten that 9/11 ever happened. Not only is it insulting to me, I hope he realizes that plenty of 9/11 victims' families were skeptical of the war in Iraq and that by brushing with such broad strokes, he impugns them with the charge of insufficient reverence to their own beloved dead. It is only slightly less insulting that he charges others of us with the same by drawing the straight line from 9/11 to Iraq. Ipso facto. This fallacy has been beaten to death, but unbelievably, it still pops up. I really don't understand how he can write with a straight face that all skeptics of the Iraq War are traitors to the memory of 9/11--an attack by a borderless terror network populated and largely funded by Saudi Arabia with a temporary base in Afghanistan and no discernible ties to the Iraqi government. But I'll let that one go.

He goes on to say the following:
These people, it's worth remembering, believe that the exercise of American military power is almost always more morally problematic than any foreign tyranny or even a serious security threat to the homeland. They can only justify American military power if it is wielded under imminent, grave danger that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That's why they are so exercised about tiny pieces of evidence today. They still believe we were wrong to remove Saddam from power without incontrovertible proof of WMDs of a type unobtainable in police states; they still believe America had no moral sanction for such an action

Let's pick this apart real quick-like. If I'm to be maligned with the charge that I am hesitant to deploy the almighty forces of American military power, then I accept it. I do not see the moral superiority of the opposing position: American military power is justified where danger is not imminent, not grave, and cannot be proven. It does not take a doctorate in International Relations to see why this is a (let's be nice and say) problematic military doctrine. Furthermore, what is this "serious security threat to the homeland" he speaks of? Because it sure as hell ain't Iraq! The only moral case for invasion of Iraq, in my book, was the humanitarian case. And that is why I'm glad to see torture victims speaking out, and I'm fucking elated that Udai and Qusai are dead. But the Bush Administration's credibility on humanitarian invasions is a joke, especially considering their reluctance to get involved in Liberia, or, well, anywhere that isn't part of the grand Middle East plan. I don't think you can get very far by accusing skeptics of being judicious in the deployment of military might, of risking the lives of service people, and asking for an investigation if it appears that facts were bent to convince a nation to go to war. He should not take such pride in being so very ready to send soldiers into battle without the strictest of criteria being met. It's all so very easy from your wi-fi connection at your beach house, isn't it?


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