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View Diary: Pro-war people were wrong (309 comments)

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  •  Carl (3.60)
    I think you've located the locus for this little malady in the wrong place: its not simply an inside the beltway mentality - the reaction against Dean's anti-Bush invasion of Iraq stance (please don't call it an anti-war stance)is a product of the entire demonization of any peace position what so ever.  Its simply not possible to be a dove and be taken seriously.  Look how often people begin their comments speaking out against the war with statements like "I'm no pacifist, but..." The fact that people feel a need for that caveat says it all (no one in this country is prepared to even accept pacifism as a reasonable position to be part of the debate, forget seeing it as a direction for policy.)

    This is far older than the DLC, dates back to at least media coverage of the peace movement in the 60's.

    "By focusing fear and hatred on the Tutsi, the organizers hoped to forge solidarity among Hutu." -- Human Rights Watch

    by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 18, 2004 at 03:21:02 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  The tendency to favor war (3.50)
      You are correct that there is a tendency toward military solutions to political problems, and a tendency toward war generally.  But I think you are wrong to place it inside the Beltway, or to attribute it to this country and this time.  I'm sure you read history and I'm sure you can find parallel events throughout recorded history.

      Two quotes, both of which I originally read in the first source, have been ringing in my head ever since the summer of 2002 when Cheney announced that Iraq was Enemy No. 1.

      Wars are all alike in beginning complacently.  The reason is psychological and compensatory:  no one wants to foresee or contemplate the horror, the inevitable ruin of civilized usages, which war will entail.  Hence the defensive exercise of the optimistic imagination.

      Paul Fussell, Wartime

      A singular fact about modern war is that it takes charge.  Once begun it has to be carried to its conclusion, and carrying it there sets in motion events that may be beyond men's control.  Doing what has to be done to win, men perform acts that alter the very soil in which society's roots are nourished.

      Bruce Catton, The Civil War

      The pro-war liberals exercised their optimistic imaginations, coupled with a complete disregard of that which is evident from history.  Now that its clear that this war, like all wars, has taken on a life of its own, the pro-war liberals are engaged in more optimistic imagining:  that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea and it was only BushCo's incompetence that ruined an otherwise worthwhile enterprise.

      The little malady is that humans persist in the belief that killing other humans will solve their political problems.  This only works if all of the "enemy" can be killed and history re-written to cover up or justify their deaths (Cf. The European conquest of North America.)  If this cannot be accomplished, the war-making effort fails.  The lesson of WWII was not that the politcal policies of the US and its allies were right, it was that Germany and Japan, who both initiated war for political ends, were wrong.  They failed, just as every war of conquest in the 20th century failed, just as this war will fail.

      The failure of military domination to produce peaceful, stable societies is evident, if killing people solved political problems, Palestine would be a peaceful place and close to the number one tourist destination.  However, the fact that war doesn't work is routinely ignored.  

      The root of this little malady is that militarism and war hold an unjustified and unjustifiable grip on human imaginations.  War and the warrior are equated with strength and any other person or proposed solution is regarded as weak.  No political leader, democratic or dictatorial, will ever take a position that is equated with weakness in the popular imagination.

      By noon on September 11, it was clear in my mind that the US would kill people in retaliation for the terrorist attacks.  It was also clear that the people killed would be Arab.  While optimistic imaginations might believe that President Gore would have done differently, the difference would have been in the choice of targets and methods.  Had he not responded with brutal, military force against some Arab population, he would have been forced from office in a matter of months.

      The tendency to favor war is as much at work in democracies as it is in authoritarian states, but in democratic states the tendency must lead to policy or there is a change in political power.

      This is why BushCo went to war, and why Gephardt encouraged it, and why Kerry went along with it, and why pro-war liberal bloggers embraced it.

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