Proverbs for Paranoids, 3

· Iraq

Hit this quote today in Pynchon’s amazing Gravity’s Rainbow that summed up our current political situation way too perfectly:

Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.

Which leads back to the query my brain just can’t shake:
Prince Charles and his flowering love life aside, why the [expletive] doesn’t anyone in the media seem to care what the [expletive] happened in the Iraq election?
update: well, my conspiracy concerns can subside at least for a bit — the results are in and front page news.
still more update: well the news and initial analysis appears to be relatively positive. Ah, if only our country required a 2/3s vote to pick our leader.
I still think it’s peculiar in a disturbing sort of way that the media just went quiet on the Iraq vote for about two weeks there. But here’s hoping I was offbase with my recent alarmist rants.

Iran-Iraq: maybe, maybe not

· Iraq

Take 2…

Cecil was wondering whether we have just created “the perfect opening for an oil-rich anti-western Iran-Iraq alliance”. I happen to think the two countries will become very tight, and posted a line about the Anschluss of the Mullahs on my blog.

My friend Mark Lew, who knows more about world politics and history than anyone else I know personally, says a full alliance of Iran and Iraq is unlikely. He posted a comment to my “Anschluss” post sketching why, and he has analyzed this in more depth on his own blog; specific post is here.

Can anyone explain to me…

· Iraq

…without diving into conspiracy (already got that covered — thanks…) why it might be that the election results in Iraq are getting close to zero media attention?
A week ago this was the election of the century. Anybody remember purple fingers?
I get that they must still be counting the votes, but in this 24-hour news world, how can it be that we aren’t getting nightly updates of how things are looking, when the results will be in, what the implications are?
Have we all had our memories cleaned? Or am I just missing something here…?

Is this the week Iran won the Iran-Iraq war?

· Iraq

I read the news today and got a cold feeling inside. Have we just spent all this blood and treasure to create the perfect opening for an oil-rich anti-western Iran-Iraq alliance, complete with US-trained and armed troops? And will Bush’s great purple-stained success this week turn out to be yet another naive move by wide-eyed, naive, idealistic conservatives, and perhaps the biggest strategic blunder in modern US history?
I sure as hell hope not.

Iraqi elections are a good thing

· Iraq

That should go without saying. Opposing the war, thinking the opportunity costs weren’t weighed properly, despairing of U.S. leadership – none of that constitutes opposition to democratic elections. While I may have my doubts and pessimism about the entire operation and I may worry about how it will all come out, I don’t see any reason to detract from today’s election.
Corporate libertarian values liberal Jeff Jarvis takes the anti-war bloggers to task for their pessimism about the election. In the overall context of Bush-era mendacity and geopolitical spasms, I think it’s understandable to have doubts or to be wary about cheerleading for anything with the fingerprints of this administration on it. But to me it’s like being glad Saddam is out of power. I may argue about whether the cost was worth it (see previous post) but you can’t make me say it’s a bad thing in and of itself.

Truth and consequences

· Iraq

Good discussion in the comment thread for a recent post at Max Sawicky’s weblog (MaxSpeak, You Listen!):

That Hussein and the Ba’athist government of Iraq no longer seek a nuclear weapon is good, but if one had given me $200 billion and authorization to get up to 1400 Americans killed and ten thousand wounded to insure that Saddam doesn’t get a nuclear weapon for the foreseeable future, with the agreement that I get to keep the change and revel in the transcendant joy of sending each of the surviving, able-bodied Americans home to his grateful family, I suspect I could have done an awful lot better than George W. Bush has.

And that’s not mentioning the number of Iraqi dead and hurt from military or [Iraqi] criminal activity, malnutrition, and the like.

And that’s what we’re talking about: efficiency in a world of relative value and limited resources. Not absolutes. Having been beguiled by absolutes and been made servant to our fears, we’ve bogged down half of America’s ground forces in a vast undermanned nation-building mission, a task far more daunting than merely keeping Saddam and The Bomb in separate rooms.

Why not admit that critics of the Bush Administration might find its [stated] aims – a safe, free world – admirable, but believe that Bush deliberately avoids counting the costs to us and to the world? And that a real, transparent discussion and popular acceptance of the costs is essential to the success of the enterprise?

Indeed, acknowledgement of costs are missing from critiques like [Instapundit Glenn] Reynolds’, and absent from policy statements from the White House in all but the vaguest terms. We are effectively assured, then, that a total committment to world freedom doesn’t really mean a total dedication of this nation’s future, its economy, its youth, to reaching it….

I realize, now, that considering costs was never part of this “Bush Doctrine”, because costs are, intrinsically, questions, and questions are obviously, doubts, which faith, true belief, can’t admit. To mention costs is to imply choice, to impugn destiny, to face the possibility of failure. And, well, to do that is treasonable, even if history’s dustbin is full of leaders and ruling elites who launched grand schemes on misplaced faith.

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