Monday, September 30, 2002

Edit: oopsie fixed.

Ok, I'm going to post some comments from one of my comments threads, because they should be seen on the front page. First, though, is this article written by Jay Bookman, which is a pretty accurate breakdown of exactly what the hell is going on here. It's not the first analysis I've seen of this type (I've made the point myself several times), but it explores accurately and intelligently exactly why the U.S. is moving in the direction of empire, despite the transparent rhetoric to the contrary from those who don't want the notoriously empire-averse American public to realize it's happening, or those who refuse to believe it themselves.

First is Yuval Rubenstein:

Certainly, this latest sideshow is maddening for its sheer irrelevance. However, when you stop to think about it, that's exactly what the pro-invasion crowd wants. Atrios just linked to what, IHMO, is the best analysis so far about the real motivation behind the desire to invade Iraq. The author, Jay Bookman, convincingly argues that invading Iraq is merely the neocons' first step in establishing an American empire. Lest you think this is merely crazed paranoia, Bookman offers some quotes from people like Robert Kagan who admit that this is their ultimate goal.

Therefore, I think those of us who consider ourselves anti-Imperialist (whether on the Left or Right)should be hammering home the point made by Bookman, instead of being bogged down in all these obfuscatory details. Specifically, we are wasting our time with all of our refutations concerning Saddam's WMD, connection to Al Queda, etc. because this only serves to deter us from discussing the real issue at hand. Of course, I could be dead wrong...
He's absolutely right, although the problem is that all these obfuscatory details serve as convenient justifications and if they're not refuted, they can be a problem. Fortunately, most of them avoid the real, basic critiques in question, and those that address said critiques are transparently weak (like trying to use the attempt on Bush 41 as proof that Saddam actually wants to get nuked.)

Next is Nick Sweeney:

It's the Bush modus operandi: objectives first, justifications once we think of them. Or even better, justifications once the original ones have been proven groundless. The means justify the end, because the end is the only constant.
The unfortunate part is that the ends are often so wildly arbitrary, and somehow manage to be both transparently obvious and yet difficult to address at the same time, thanks to the blizzard of annoying lies and spin brought up to justify whatever happens to be in their heads at the time. It doesn't necessarily even need to be consistent. We werenever at war with Europa and Oceania, citizen- to say otherwise is transparent WrongThink.

Finally is uber-poster Digby:

>>bullshit detectors are going off like obsessive-compulsive klaxons all around the world>>

You've got that right.

And Yuval's right about the Bookman piece. It's all there is anyone chooses to see it.

The problem is less that they don't know what the justifications are than that they are an undemocratic lot who are cynically using 9/11 as a pretext to launch this country into a completely new global foreign policy strategy that has nothing to do with it. They are obfuscating the reasons because they do not trust the citizens to allow them to do it if they know the truth.

Why am I not surprised that people such as this have huge hard ons for war and global empire?
They don't trust the citizens to allow them because they know they won't. That's the tricky little game involved in all of this. They say that Americans are reluctant of empire, and they're actually quite correct on that- but then they try to extend that to mean that the Americans that are currently in charge are reluctant of empire. As Bookman (and others) have pointed out, that's not correct in the slightest. It's a useful, entirely plausible defense against those who call "imperium" on them, though, because they can paint them as "conspiracy theorists" and take advantage of the tendency to paint all people of the same type (in this case, Americans) as having the same basic political culture, beliefs, and goals. Neo-conservatives are, as should be obvious, not like other Americans.

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