Thursday, June 03, 2010

Good guys

The Rev Paperboy notes this Andrew Bacevich article about why America is fighting another pointless and immoral war in Afghanistan. The Rev asks:
Why are we so sure we are the good guys?
Good question. Is it because our hearts are pure? Because God is on our side?
There's a throw-away scene in the movie, The Longest Day, where an Allied commander is trying to deal with some battlefield problem and says to his aide "Sometimes I wonder whose side God is on." and a little later, a German commander is trying to figure out some battlefield problem and says to his aide "Sometimes I wonder whose side God is on."
So how do we decide whose side God is on?
Oh, I don't know if there's a perfect answer, really. But I think all we've got is the United Nations -- far from perfect, but at least it is something we can use to help us to determine which "side" is right.
One critical difference between Afghanistan and Iraq is that the UN sanctioned waging war in Afghanistan, and they wouldn't sanction Iraq. I know, I know, the UN is awful in many ways, but there is a kind of collective wisdom that is meaningful.
I think we can at least argue that if the UN will not sanction a war, it should not be fought. When Bush couldn't get even a substantial minority of the Security Council to agree to support the invasion of Iraq, I felt that decided it. When people talked about how difficult it was to decide whether the Iraq invasion was right or wrong, I always found it simple -- if the UN won't support it, then its wrong. And Chretien nailed that one, too.
In a case where the UN DOES support a war, like it did with Afghanistan,then we still have to look at the arguments pro and con, and make our own judgment.
Initially I could support the war in Afghanistan because it was supposed to capture Bin Laden. But like everything else Bush and Cheney did, it was basically a corrupt and incompetent enterprise that rapidly turned to shit and came back to bite us on the ass: three of the world's great democracies, the United States, Canada and Britain, used the so-called War on Terror as an excuse to abandon the constitutional protections and civil rights that we had fought for and cherished for hundreds of years. In almost half the world, we will never be the good guys again, and for what? So that we could torture some farmers and teenagers and cab drivers.
Jesus wept.

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