Postmodern classic?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Criticisms of the War in Iraq, part 11

Plenty to be had. As a supporter of the war (even if not at first, before it started), I encourage an honest and constructive critique (ie: not like yesterdays onanistic drivel). My critiques of the war have to do with the execution, a sluggishness to adapt, but I clearly think the overall strategic goal is worthwhile.

Being more familiar with the criticial institutions of the American war effort, maybe I see more clearly (debatable!) than an outsider would. And what I see is really smart people raising critiques, much of it being ignored to political expediency or other motives. Political influence by itself is not bad, in fact, it's a critical component of democratic governance- someone has to make decisions, filtering out just as much garbage from all sides. It's not easy to sort out the critiques when there are 20 competing at any one time for an official like Rumsfeld's attention, although easy to cherry-pick them in retrospect. Part of the process, though. I think the best at explaining the problems has been a libertarian one (1, 2)- the Pentagon is the 'Post Office with Nuclear Weapons' with all the bureaucratic baggage that entails. In a certain way, we've built the Pentagon to counter the bureaucratic Soviet threat of the Cold War, and in the time following the disintegration of the USSR, have not kept up with the winds of change.

Because when people see how they can take advantage of a poorly prepared obstacle, such as the US has been in the Middle East, they will. That's why you have to give credit to Hezbollah and the Middle Eastern countries who are currently enjoying their PR bonanza, despite some credible reporting of their difficulties, and of course the obvious bombing. We are in a difficult position nonetheless, as Israel fights Hezbollah (for us, in a not so subtle way), while we argue about it in Congress.

An interesting thing for me too, is the 'Long War' side of it. While Americas involvement in the Middle East is important, I think the more critical component is a sort of existential worry over the future of war and conflict in our lives, and the continuing traditions of the 'West'. We have decent ideas, like the concept of 'Just War' (with which I hold qualms- mostly on interpretation, but respect nonetheless). But the truth to me seems that civilization as we understand it, is worthless unless we can defend it against those who have 'less civilized' appetites (excellently summarized here by an Israeli general). And in the face of ongoing missile bombardment, some anti-war folks seem to change their tune, which is comforting to know that they're not all insane nihilists bent on the destruction of their own societies.

Anyhow, maybe that's a bit more focused than my previous post. Glad I could finally post that picture of my cheesy Baghdad hat I bought before I went home the last time, which I love. Y'all take it easy then.


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