Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Maybe it's the mountain cedar in the air, but lately I've developed a serious allergy to uncomplex thinkers and simplistic generalizers. And people writing authoritatively on subjects they know nothing about has also had me popping Benadryl these days. I say this with full awareness that I too write about things I know nothing about, but I at least have the good grace to not be published in a nationally syndicated column or grant interviews to reporters.

So I don't mind that much when bloggers (except Sully) wax philosophical outside their spheres of knowledge. We're all just scribbling in our public diaries, more or less. But I do mind when William Safire thinks he has the answers to Russia's troublesome democratic development just because he started paying attention five minutes ago for the Duma elections. (Yes, Safire, the pre-election period was seriously marred by unequal access to state TV and opposition parties did not enjoy adequate funding. But if you think that a few more commercials for Yabloko and springing Khodorkovsky from jail would have lead to a landslide defeat for Putin, you haven't been paying attention.)

In the un-complex thought category, I place former eXile editor Matt Taibbi who has somehow gained entry back into our country after doing a perfectly good job being a brat in Moscow for the past decade. A NY Observer profile quotes Taibbi in The Nation explaining his distaste for Wesley Clark:
it troubled him that anyone in the anti-war crowd could support the general, because "it seemed to me that no person who found the Iraq war morally repugnant could have gone on television and talked sunnily about how this or that weapon was ravaging Iraqi defenses.

"I remember watching Clark on CNN," Mr. Taibbi continued, "and at one point he was actually playing with a model of an A-10 tank-killer airplane, whooshing it back and forth over a map of Iraq, like a child playing with a new toy on Christmas morning. A person who was genuinely opposed to the war as wrongful killing would be sick even thinking about such a thing."


Oh Jesus H. Christ, I thought. Anyone in the anti-war crowd who expects a four-star general to be a pacifist is a fool. Note to Taibbi and fellow protesters: a gag reflex to war in general is not the only way to be opposed to Bush's actions in Iraq. It is possible to think a military policy was sorely misguided and reckless without being squeamish about guns and thinking blood is icky.

Call me crazy, but I figure Clark's familiarity with the machinery of war encourages him to use it judiciously. But to the unreconstructed peaceniks, there is no judicious use of war. I don't want a president who is constantly brandishing weapons, but I also don't want one who shrieks at the sight of a missile silo. In other words, I'm not voting for Kucinich.

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