Thursday, December 12, 2002

While I'm on goofy Glenn stuff:

But regardless of whether members of the anti-war movement subjectively support Saddam (many of them, as David Corn has reported, are more accurately described as anti-American than pro-Saddam, but there are plenty of thoughtful folks like Henley who don't fit that mold) the fact is that their opposition to the war is a key element in his strategy. That doesn't make it necessarily wrong, of course: what's best for Saddam could conceivably also be what's best for America, though that's not much of a slogan. I'd take the misreport of Charlie Wilson's statement about General Motors over that one any day.

But when your movement is the key tool of a nasty dictator, well, it should give you pause, shouldn't it? Jim Henley's response is that he regards war as sufficiently undesirable that "the fate of some tinpot tyrant on the other side of the globe" doesn't matter to him. That's fine, and it's a reasonable argument even if it's one that I disagree with. But don't pretend that such an approach isn't, in fact, beneficial to Saddam, and that while it may not matter to you, it does matter to him and he's basing his strategy on it. What moral obligations flow from that fact -- and I think there are some -- is perhaps another topic, but don't deny the fact itself. Personally, it's not Saddam's fate that concerns me, but ours. I just think that Saddam's fate has a lot to do with our own.
Now, spin doctoring aside, Glenn isn't moving away from his core assertion: those who are against the war are Saddam's tools and are aiding his evil regime. Which remains ridiculous: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic is part of the reason why the United States ended up in this mess in the first place, even reversed into "the friend of my enemy is my enemy". The only way that Glenn's statement is even remotely accurate is if fighting the war turns out to be objectively good and if not fighting the war is objectively bad; otherwise we could be hurting Saddam, helping ourselves, helping the Iraqis, both, neither, or whatever. To claim "we're helping him" is meaningless, because we can't even determine what "helping" is. That begs the bloody question that we're arguing over in the first place! (He does imply that he recognizes that, but then proceeds to ignore it and minimize it with that silly bit about GM. As I said, spin.)

On the other hand, it ain't much surprise when you can also see this:

Here are the not-so-reasonable ones. Hesiod emailed me that by supporting war on Iraq I was "objectively pro-Al Qaeda, pro-Arab," etc. This is just dumb. People who oppose war on Iraq want to cover themselves by setting up a false dichotomy: war on Al Qaeda or war on Iraq. But, since there's no reason that one conflicts with the other, that won't wash. Indeed, I think it's more likely that the two reinforce each other.
Other than the reality of scarce resources and the negative effects of invading Iraq in terms of Al Qaeda membership and support(which are inescapable in the short term, even if the benefits of invasion outweigh them in the long term), this is just silly, because it really is the same argument upside down. The question is the benefit or harm of an action, and Glenn claiming that there is no harm to the invasion because of diverted resources or unintended consequences begs it as much as his implicit claim that invasion is a good thing or that not invading (and using some other solution, like containment) is a bad thing.

"To be against the war is to support Saddam" This, in a nutshell, is McCarthyism reborn. With better spin.

(I won't get into the odd assertion that "What's more, the 'antiwar movement' that they've relied on has been pretty much the same people, using the same slogans, regardless of the actual circumstances involved", tempting as it is.)

Edit: Hesiod collects a bunch of reactions, including a great one from Calpundit:

"Back in the 50s Mom had to sign one of those McCarthy-inspired loyalty oaths before she was trusted to teach our impressionable youths, and I spent my entire childhood growing up in Orange County, ground zero for the John Birch Society. My elementary school principal regularly warned us all about the evils of communists, atheists, socialists and their ilk, and he included in his warnings anyone who was merely insufficiently vigilant against their depradations.

So we know all about over-the-top patriotism here as Casa CalPundit, and it's not a pretty sight. You've had one chance to make the obvious apology — "I was just talking about fringe elements of the antiwar folks" — but instead chose to reaffirm what you said. Care to try again?"
Or, in other words, "why do those anti-war protesters hate America and love Communism/Islamism/Liberalism so much?"

Edit Again: GREAT bit on that "objectively pro-whatever" posted in Hesiod's comments section by "Randy Paul":

The phrase originated in the poisonous political climate of the 1930s as pure Marxist jargon, meant to lend an air of authority to the 'scientific' pronouncements of orthodox Stalinists. In a world of only two possibilities, see, anybody not 100% on Stalin's side with regard to every conceivable issue was 'objectively' on Hitler's, hence a traitor. It was by such logic that the 1938 Moscow 'show trials' so unforgettably satirized in Orwell's 'Animal Farm' proceeded.
Yeesh, I'm definitely not up on my Marxism- I had forgotten about that aspect of "objective" entirely. "If you're not with us, you're against us" is pretty damned Bolshevik, isn't it?

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