Sunday, September 22, 2002

Excellent entry by Josh Marshall about the idiotic phrase "regime change", and how despite the citation of Orwell by several conservative commentators lately there's no doubt that Orwell would take great pleasure in tearing that little euphemism into tiny bite-sized pieces. Marshall uses it to complain about the nature of the public debate...

[The public debate is] one in which assertions which are widely understood to be false are stated and not corrected, in which important distinctions are clouded with obscuring phrases, and in which discussion of the long-term consequences of specific actions are trumped by slogans. And that's a very big deal.
He dishes it out to both supporters and opponents of invasion, but I think he misses the important point that there are different reasons for each, and the opponents are much more "under the gun" than the supporters; there's a reason that Democrats avoid the issue, and it's a valid one.

Besides, I can think of at least one commentator who has been pretty damned clear about exactly why he believes what he believes, and a lot of opponents are opposing it because of the rules it would break and the precedents it would set that go far beyond the one country of Iraq. The implicit argument is that those rules exist for a reason, and breaking them would create global problems that dwarf even the prospect of a nuclear-backed Iraq. The burden of justification is on those who are arguing in favor of invasion, not those who are arguing against it, because invasion would have many, many more repercussions. they need to prove not just that the action is necessary, but that it is so necessary that the repercussions are something we can live with. As most pro-invasion types seem to think that those rules (such as the ones enshrining national sovereignty) don't even exist, it's necessary to first explain why those rules are important.

As those reasons can be complex, and as rather a lot of pundit types seem to dislike complex, "nuanced" arguments, it's kind of an uphill battle.

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