Selling the War

The SFGate has an article called “Selling the War Without Lying”. It’s a hoot. I thought I could come up with my own version, because the straw-man exercise looked like a lot of fun. Here is mine:

Last year, the usual suspects were clamoring about trying to prevent the war. We heard calamitous warnings that if we attacked Iraq, the Gates of Hell would open, and there would be Mustard Gas clouds in Kuwait City, Anthrax clouds in New York, and mushroom clouds in DC. We were told that tens of thousands of Americans would die, that it would become a Viet-Nam like quagmire, that Baghdad would be the New Stalingrad and that the Iraqi people would fight every step of the way to protect their Beloved and Benevolent Leader.

When it became obvious that this wasn’t the case, and never really was a danger of being the case, the opposition switched gears. People who never had any sort of concern about the human costs of humanitarian work were obsessing over every causality. People who can’t find a problem that Someone Else’s Money can’t solve were scared to death of the idea of deficit spending and big government budgets. (Never mind that this money wouldn’t be coming from “every American” — half of America doesn’t pay any Federal Income Taxes.) The very same people who had been lying about how bad the war would be (and shouted during the Clinton Impeachment that everyone lies and it is time to “Move On”) were vehemently and voracious in defense of the Truth.

It all seems a bit disingenuous to me. I wish they would just argue about it on what the real points are. I think that if they threw back the curtain, the argument would go something like this:

“Yes, Saddam was a bad man. I said that right at first, because it is a requirement before you defend him. But we really need to look at the dirty job that Saddam did, because it isn’t getting done now. He kept the savages in line. That’s what they are, you know. A bunch of dirty savages crawling around on their carpets howling at the moon. Saddam was an oasis of modernity in that society.

“They need a dictator to keep them in line. They can’t govern themselves. Did Saddam use harsh methods? Sure. It’s a harsh place. Those People don’t understand anything but graphic violence. Saddam provided a valuable service for a nominal price. He was easy to buy off — all he wanted was a steady palace contractor and a few hundred tanks a year — and he would keep them in line.

“We’ve seen what happens when The People over there get in charge. You get Afghanistan. When the wrong people get money and power, they turn into Osama. That is what we mean when we say poverty breeds terrorism. People can’t get money suddenly; they don’t know what to do with it. It is better to give it to the Government (Saddam) so that it can be doled out — excuse me, redistributed — in a controlled fashion, to let them become acclimated to it. If that doesn’t happen, then they keep their old superstitious Moon-worshiping religion, and that breeds terrorism. That is why wealth has to be held by the state. When you let the free market handle it, the wrong people get rich right along with the right people.

“And we Socialists need to stick together. It is getting pretty hard to keep socialism legitimate. After the USSR collapsed, we were left with the Middle East, Cuba, and Africa, and frankly none of them are that great. Everything else is quasi-socialism, marred by some part of the anarchy-market. We can’t let Saddam fail. If he fails, then that means that we have another Hitler, another Stalin. We have another socialist who turned out to be a murderous tyrant. We are already on the ropes, and we can’t keep taking punches like this.

“That is why it is important to keep France relevant. That was the most damning loss here. France is showing real promise. It is one of the few places on the road to socialism without becoming savage. How can a culture are refined as the French ever become savage? That is where the world needs socialism to take root. Unfortunately, it can’t do it alone. Until you have the economies of scale, it needs cash from other places. That means that it needs money from the rest of Europe, and you need political capital to exchange for economic capital, and a lot of it was destroyed by the US. France was on the way back up in the social scale, but now America has bullied it back down to the dregs. America can’t stand to have a little competition when it comes to ruling the world.

“That is what this is really about. Pax Americana. What that really means is that America wants to be powerful enough that all the other countries in the world have act like America wants. America can’t be trusted with the world — it isn’t progressive enough yet. This war showed that the American Armed forces are too powerful for us.

“This war is only going to make that worse. America isn’t going to be fooled by an Information Minister again. Now, the Armed Forces know that they can beat any other army in the world, and that is bad. Morale is going to go up, and already has. They think they are doing a good thing, the poor deluded fools. (And they are fools, you know. Only poor and dumb people join the military. It wasn’t like that when we had a draft.) Enlistment is probably going to go up — something that you would never have seen under an intellectual, progressive president like Bill Clinton.

“The worst thing of all? Whenever we try to tell one of these ruffians that war never solved anything, he is going to throw this in our face. This has set back world government a century. Back in the good old days of Viet Nam, people understood that there was no such thing as a good or honorable war. War is always about bullying, conquest, and death. People want to talk about the millions of people that Saddam would have killed; what about the millions that filthy Americans are going to kill now that they think that it is the way to solve their problems?

“Worst of all, we have to look at the spiritual side. Think of the damage that this war has done to Mother Gaia. I know that a lot of people still worship those anachronistic Old Testament style fire and brimstone gods (including those Arab savages) but anyone with any sense is connected spiritually with the environment, Mother Earth. The first bad thing is that the Iraqi people are going to have not just Iraq, but Iraq’s oil. What are they going to do with it? Sell it, of course. They are going to rape the desert, and then sell that oil to Americans in SUVs.

“And it is going to make oil cheaper. That means that all the pressure that higher oil prices have been putting on people to get more fuel efficient cars and electric cars and all these other good things — FOOM. Right out the car window (to litter the roadside, no doubt.) People are going to get more oil cheaper, and they are going to use it to build more cars, more factories, more things to rape Mother Earth with.

“That’s all going to add up for more money to individual Iraqis. It is always bad when individuals get more money. Governments can be trusted with money, even ones like Saddam’s Iraq. But when individuals get that money, then they are going to waste it, or worse, they are going to use it for terrorism. American individuals have more money than anyone else in the world, and what have we used it for? To become the world’s biggest terrorists.

“This war is going to put a lot of money into the hands of a lot of Iraqi people with no government control, they are going to use it for what they want, rather than what the government whats. The Americans are going to become even more jingoistic (although they will call it patriotism). People are going to consider war as a viable means of dealing with perceived tyrants and murderous dictators, and the progressives of the world, led by France, are going to be marginalized. We cannot let this horror come to pass without a fight.”

(Via Prometheus 6)

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