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July 14, 2004

Think Locally, Act Globally

I'd like to see the backpedaling continue on our invasion of Iraq. Soon, George will address the nation and point out that he did not sit idly by while Saddam bore that ridiculous moustache. With progressively more of the men around Saddam feeling coerced into copying their president, who knows where it would have stopped? Saddam had the capability to influence other grooming and apparel practices—it was important that we stop him to protect Americans, lest our wake-up call be a dirty fashion bomb. When the choice is between taking the word of a funny-looking madman or protecting the American people from, uh, things that might happen, he'll do the protecting thing every time.

It angers me every time I've heard the two choices that George presents to the People, i.e., word of a madman or protecting the American people. The premise for that choice is so simplistic and unfounded. It attempts to eliminate many glaring problems and wraps the decision in what is supposed to go down smoothly as an unassailable morality—perhaps a romantic and fallible view, but gosh darn it, how can you fault him for his love of this country? It's another facet of the with-us-or-against-us, love-or-hate paradigm that we keep hearing (and which seems frequently lampooned in This Modern World).

It astonishes me that "protecting America" could be the ultimate trump card in every situation (but especially for the Christians who apparently support the administration). I remember hearing an interview shortly after the invasion that included Slade Gorton; Slade was unabashed in his acceptance of responsibility for killing some innocent people if it would protect America. Hmm. (I should check to see how he views things now, after being on the investigative commission.)

Personally, that bold indifference to other people makes me uncomfortable, and I've liked better the bumper stickers that I've seen with Howard Zinn's take on the issue: "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people". I like that morality quite a bit better, though part of me has felt there might be exceptions, and in searching the Internet for a reference, I find a version that includes the finish: "...for a purpose that is unattainable." That I can wholeheartedly support.

Check out the rest of that Zinn text. It comes from the Reagan era, but it could easily have been written today. The paragraph with the preceding quote goes on to say, "If the purpose is to stop terrorism, even the supporters of the bombing say it won't work; if the purpose is to gain respect for the United States, the result is the opposite: all over the world there is anger and indignation at Reagan's mindless, pointless, soulless violence. We have had presidents just as violent. We have rarely had one so full of hypocritical pieties about 'the right to life.'"

There are some nice quotes about patriotism on Wikipedia; I read the quote from a very different George a few weeks ago and liked it very much: "[Patriotism is] your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."

Posted by Gary at July 14, 2004 10:54 PM | TrackBack
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OK, from the same site where you got the last quote--
"You seek political advantage with the nation at war. There is no greater testament to the depths to which the Democratic Party and liberalism have fallen. You now position yourself, Senator Daschle, to exploit future terrorist attacks for political gain. ... You, sir, are a disgrace. You are a disgrace to patriotism, you are a disgrace to this country, you are a disgrace to the Senate, and you ought to be a disgrace to the Democratic Party but sadly you're probably a hero among some of them today ... Way to demoralize the troops, Senator! What more do you want to do to destroy this country than what you've already tried? [pounding table] It is unconscionable what this man has done! This stuff gets broadcast around the world, Senator. What do you want your nickname to be? Hanoi Tom? Tokyo Tom? You name it, you can have it apparently. You sit there and pontificate on the fact that we're not winning the war on terrorism when you and your party have done nothing but try to sabotage it, which you are continuing to do. This little speech of yours yesterday, and this appearance of yours on television last night, let's call it what it is. It's nothing more than an attempt to sabotage the war on terrorism for your own personal and your party's political gain. This is cheap. And it's beneath even you. And that's pretty low." --Radio host Rush Limbaugh, 2002

I hate these fuckers. Today is pay day-- gotta go give John Kerry money.

Posted by: Marti on July 15, 2004 08:02 AM
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