Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Digby on Dehumanization:

Adrian Brody, the guy nobody expected to win, came up and let himself be human and emotional --- for his win, naturally, but also because of the the nature of the role he was being rewarded for playing. He said:

“My experiences of making this film made me very aware of the sadness and the dehumanization of people at times of war,” he said. “Whatever you believe in, if it’s God or Allah, may he watch over you and let’s pray for a peaceful and swift resolution.”

Dehumanization. That’s what I’m feeling when I see the scared faces of those POW’s and the horrors of decapitated children.

This is why civilization was supposed to be beyond the superficially logical rationalizations of "preventive war" and grand global ambitions of world domination through military force. While tallying up the 20th century’s horrific body count we were supposed to have recognized that war must be a last resort in the face of NO OTHER OPTION. There can be no excuse but immediate self-defense to justify it. If Vietnam didn't teach us that, then it taught us nothing. Wars of aggression, by definition, cannot be glorious.

This war never met that test. And we have opened up Pandora’s Box.

The historians will sort out the rightness and the wrongness of the policy. But, as I was watching that glamorous telecast being held just a few miles from where I live, I could not help but be struck, once again, by the fact that we Americans are the luckiest people on the planet. I hope that we stay that way. We are good people, decent people, but we are being led astray by a leadership that is perpetrating a wrong. We simply cannot expect to remain safe and prosperous if we create a world in which it is the prerogative of one country, our country, to decide that a potential future threat is enough to justify a war. It is a dehumanizing undertaking that devalues every single one of us. It is not the America I know.
There's more, of course, and well written at that.

It's funny... I seem to have had a bad track record on this war. At first I thought that it would never happen, because Bush would never alienate the vast majority of the planet like that... nope. Then I thought that the US would probably get its resolution when it looked like it couldn't happen without said resolution... nope. France and Russia stood firm (and China... we can only speculate on how they'd react.) Then I predicted that the aftermath would be worse than the battle, which would roll right over the Iraqis. I'm wrong about the second part of that, and I wish I weren't... but now I wonder whether fourth time will be the charm, and the aftermath really will be that bad. Considering how weak Hashemite King Abdullah's position appears to be (which is bad... he's about as western-friendly an arab leader as exists right now), I wonder whether the important aspect will even be what's going on in Iraq.

If the rumors (also found at Digby's site are true about exactly how much responsibility for these problems can be laid at the neocons' feet, though, then the most important issue for Americans is exactly what should be done to these people. If Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and Donald Rumsfeld really have cost American and Iraqi lives through their inept and ideologically blinkered bungling, and it gets out...well, at the very least, the Bush II administration will go down in history as the worst the United States has ever seen. With luck, though, it'll also go down as a one-term presidency too. With even more luck, it'll bring down the "movementarian" conservatives once and for all, too. Considering what conservatives like Robert Novak have gone through for criticizing their Leninist apparatchik counterparts, I imagine the entire political spectrum, left and right, would be better off.

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