Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Round up the usual suspects

At LGM, Scott Lemieux points out that the list of people who want to start a war against Syria are the usual gang of idiots -- Joe Lieberman, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Dan Senor, Paul Bremer,, Gary Bauer, Norm Coleman and a bunch of other people who thought war with Iraq and Iran were great ideas, too.
As Lemieux puts it:
I’m not 100% sure that military intervention in Syria is wrong.
But it is true that
    1. al-Assad is terrible
    2. ?????
    3. Bomb lots of stuff!
is a terrible argument
At Daily Kos, Meteor Blades summarizes the problem:
People high and low across the political spectrum in the United States keep saying there are no good options in Syria. When that is the case, how is it that bombing gets moved to the head of the queue as one of those options?
A decade ago, Gary Kamiya wrote in Salon about the upcoming war in Iraq:
. . . we have gone from being in a political moment to a historical one.
I use the words somewhat eccentrically, to distinguish between events that are simple enough to be fully explicable ("political") and those that are too complex to be defined ("historical").
The war against Afghanistan took place in what I am calling the political realm: It had a clear, limited and achievable goal, one understood by all -- and widely supported around the world. The impending war against Iraq, on the other hand, is a historical event. It cannot be explained or defined. When it comes, it will simply exist, with the opacity of history. Its outcome is not foreseeable.
The distinction also has a moral dimension. To exist in history is to have passed beyond the pieties and slogans of the political. History is tragic: politics is not. History is glorious. It is also fatal.
. . . The lesson every government should have learned from the bloody 20th century, one written in blood across the tortured soil of old, very old Europe, is very simple: Avoid history at all costs. History is too big, too abstract, too dangerous. Avoid men with Big Ideas -- especially stupid men with Big Ideas. Take care of politics: let history take care of itself. In a word, don't play God.

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