June 19, 2008

"Change" to Induce Vomiting So Extreme It Might Just Kill You

Obama's National Security Working Group:
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Senator David Boren, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Secretary of State Warren Christopher

Greg Craig, former director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig

Representative Lee Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder

Dr. Tony Lake, former National Security Advisor

Senator Sam Nunn, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Secretary of Defense William Perry

Dr. Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State

Representative Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner

Jim Steinberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor
"Change" to make you throw up into next week! Here's a more productive use of your time: you can immediately prepare war crimes indictments -- for everyone now in Washington responsible for planning, implementing and funding our foreign policy (yes, that includes Obama himself), and for everyone on this list. The only people who should be excepted are those who have voted against every Iraq-Afghanistan funding bill. I think that means Kucinich and Paul remain at liberty, and no one else.

I am extremely happy to report, on the basis of briefly traveling the liberal-proggy blogs, that the outrage in those parts is overpowering. "This isn't change!," all these writers passionately proclaim, so deep is their opposition to the U.S. foreign policy for over a century of endless, criminal, aggressive interventions all over the world, conducted by means of covert operations, assassination, overthrow, bombing, widespread murder and genocide as required. "Why, this means the continuation of the same foreign policy in every fundamental respect!"

Jeepers, sorry. My mistake. I thought that's what they were going to say, because I thought they had actually meant many of their criticisms of the Bush administration. Oops! So while you're working on those war crimes indictments, try to work up some charges against most of the liberal-progressive writers and commentators. Fun!



Et fucking cetera.

I find it interesting that the same liberals and progressives who speak of the importance of idealism, aspiration and the like retreat so quickly and so willingly into: "Well, it's politics after all. What can you expect?" In many cases, these would be the same writers who condemn some of us for being criminally deficient in hopefully hopey hopalistic hopiness. It's obvious we can't hold a candle to Nellie Forbush, who has hope enough to power tens of thousands of bombs, and even intercontinental missiles. Hey, if you're going to continue a foreign policy of brutality, widespread death and destruction without end, you can still do it optimistically! Here's a slogan for the hopetastic Democrats and their supporters: "Hopeful genocide! When we murder you, you'll die smiling!" No charge.

I saved my favorite for last: "I'm not sure what to make of this list." Completely understandable. I mean, it's not as if these people could actually represent Obama's own foreign policy views. That's far too obvious, so it can't be true. Like, you know, gravity or evolution.

Told you:
It must be noted that Atrios and Digby (and many other liberal and progressive bloggers) are obviously intelligent; on occasion, they are unusually perceptive on narrower questions. But when the story upon which we insist is used to trump history and facts, even when those facts continue to scream in our faces every day, even intelligent people render themselves functionally stupid. As a result, they "don't get it," and they cannot begin to understand why the Democrats act as they do.
Told you:
Whenever a preexisting and preselected narrative assumes primary importance in this way, the longer one clings to the preferred story, the stupider one becomes. This is why the truth or falsity of the stories we tell is so critical, and why our methodology matters so much. If a story that is central to our view of ourselves fails to comport with the facts, and if we refuse to give up or even question the story, this necessitates that we block ourselves off from more and more information that might "undermine" that story, to use Brownback's terminology. Rather than eagerly seeking out further facts and trying to find out if a given story remains accurate or needs to be significantly revised (and sometimes even jettisoned altogether), we will lower our heads, narrow the scope of our inquiry, and progressively restrict the kind of data we permit ourselves to examine and even acknowledge. As time goes on, our intellectual curiosity steadily decreases. We won't want certain facts and information, because we might have to wonder whether particular cherished beliefs are correct.
Told you:
I will frankly admit that one of my ongoing and often severe disappointments with regard to some of even the most intelligent of liberal-progressive writers and bloggers is their seeming inability to appreciate the continuity and uniformity of American foreign policy over the last century, and particularly since World War II. It appears that their determination to turn virtually every episode in our national life, no matter how disastrous, into an opportunity for partisan advantage and electoral victory overcomes analytic abilities which can often be very insightful on more limited questions. This myopic slant proceeds, in turn, from a willingness to allow the demands of tribal political identity to trump a more dispassionate (and I would submit, much more accurate) assessment of how the current Bush administration differs from previous administrations -- and how it does not.


In earlier parts of this series, I have explained how the Bush administration's foreign policy represents a continuation of the broad contours of our stance toward the world beyond our shores for more than a century. It similarly continues the policy embraced by all Democratic and Republican administrations since World War II. As Christopher Layne describes it, that policy's goal is to establish an Open Door world, a world that is "open" to both economic and ideological expansion by the United States. The Open Door doctrine considers such expansion a necessary component of national security; see the earlier essay for details. It is certainly true that the current administration is uniquely dangerous in certain ways. But in large part, and this is the absolutely crucial point, that is only because it has been and continues to be ruthlessly determined to cash in on the unavoidable implications of the policies pursued by those who have gone before.

To put it another way, and this is the issue that mere Democratic partisans adamantly refuse to acknowledge: Bush would not have been possible but for the Democrats who had preceded him. The historical record of the past century establishes beyond all question that the Open Door world is one sought just as eagerly by Democrats as by Republicans; in many cases, Democrats have been notably more zealous about this aim, as are many contemporary Democrats. As the inconceivable dangers of wider war, including possible nuclear exchanges, loom over us all, petty partisanship and party loyalty as the primary concern are morally distasteful at a minimum, and occasionally abhorrent in their worst manifestations, intellectually irresponsible, and immensely dangerous. Such an approach does nothing to decrease the continuing calamities that confront us, but only worsens them.

It should also be noted that, while many liberal-progressive writers and bloggers appear to imagine they are challenging "conventional wisdom," this mode of analysis only strengthens that "wisdom" and ensures that the governing class will never be seriously challenged. In fact, to maintain that this administration's foreign policy represents a radical break with history rather than admitting, as the record conclusively demonstrates, that it continues what went before, serves the purposes of the governing class in every way it could demand -- precisely because it completely fails to seriously question the basic underlying assumptions and framework. In this manner, many liberal-progressive bloggers and writers have been entirely coopted by the establishment elites, certainly insofar as foreign policy is concerned. The elites know it; many liberals and progressives haven't figured it out yet. I would say the joke's on them, but for the fact that the stakes involved may literally be the future of the world itself (although I have no doubt that many members of the governing class are enjoying much hearty laughter). Even if the damage is limited to our own country and those nations we criminally attack even when they are no threat to us, the scope of the present and possible future devastation is beyond contemplation.
It's okay. You can hate me or, much better, just ignore me entirely. After all, almost everyone does.