Thursday, December 23, 2004

Not New Nihilism -- New and Improved Nihilism:
It would indeed be a great thing, to lift up Iraq to a merely Tunisian level of political civility.

But, even assuming it is possible, why should we bother? A chaotic, road-warrior culture in Iraq would be just fine, so far as I can see. In what respect would it not be fine? (Fine for **us**, I mean. It would of course be hard on the Iraqis, but that is not America's problem.)

. . .

We are fighting a war on terror. The goal of that war, as surely everyone really knows, is to prevent atom bombs going off in US cities. Since no terrorist group by itself will be able to erect the infrastructure needed to make nuclear weapons, the real peril is not actually the terrorists -- who will always be with us, though of course we should kill them when we can -- but terrorist-friendly states with the kind of serious physical assets and political organization that will get them to nuke status. The solution is to go into those states, smash up their assets, and destroy their political organization -- which is what we did in Iraq. If this leaves "chaos" behind, I just don't see that as a problem. You can't make an atom bomb out of "chaos."

The management of barbarians is not that difficult. You keep them scattered and disorganized -- "chaotic," in fact! -- while watching their developments carefully to make sure no threat is building.
Hey, you're not supposed to actually say that!

Friday, December 03, 2004

I've thought (hoped) that the situation in Israel would change quickly once Arafat disappeared. In this vein, pay attention to Fred Kaplan's catch about James Baker's recent Times op-ed. I also read that op-ed, thinking it would be juicy, except I was disappointed that it didn't contain what could be the most interesting movement -- specifically, regarding Marwan Barghouti.

After Arafat's death, Baker came out and called on Israel to release Barghouti, who is now in an Israeli prison serving something like 500,000 consecutive life sentences for terrorism, so that he could run for the Presidency of the Palestinian Authority. I thought that was really weird -- why would Baker call for a terrorist's release? -- until I learned about the intrigue behind it.

There are some (the New York Times' James Bennet said as much on the radio) who think that Israel purposely tried Barghouti so as to build up his credibility on the "Arab Street," knowing all along that over the long haul, he would be the partner to work with to bring peace. Fascinating stuff (and when you think about this, remind yourself when was the last time you heard from Ahmed Chalabi -- it's been a while -- hint, hint -- and lo and behold, speak of the devil!). So Baker saying that seems like a real sign that actually is what is happening.

Crazy shit, doodz!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Understanding this puts into perspective one's apologies for some of the President's dippy positions. To shamelessly quote Bruno, "Learn it. Love it. For it is our future, and it is good."
Great article on the way things looked pre-OIF; nice perspective if you assumed you knew it all about the sanctions.

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