December 13, 2006

Killing a strawman is like killing a zombie...

Dafydd has a good post, where he lights into Dean Barnett for saying that Iraq doesn't have "an Islamic Jeffersonian democracy..." Aside from the points that nobody claimed we going to have any such thing, and the the USA itself is not a "Jeffersonian Democracy", he writes...

....It's just about the biggest straw-man argument lobbed against Bush's Iraq policy, used only by right-wingers and libertarians who want to heap scorn upon the very idea that non-Europeans could possibly have a functioning democracy... and I sincerely believe it to be racist in its very essence....

....It's violent and bloody; but so was Greece during their civil war from 1946 to 1949, during which they finally crushed the Communist insurgency. The Britannica says that more than 50,000 combatants were killed during those three years, plus many tens of thousands of non-combatants who got in the way -- and that may not even count those who died in the first phase, 1942-1944....That is, more Greeks were butchered during that war than all but the most hysterical estimates of Iraqis killed since the liberation. Yet nobody today says that Greeks are incapable of governing as a democracy.....

....hus, Dean Barnett's sarcasm notwithstanding, the Iraq democracy is faring far better than the pessimists (like Barnett) could have imagined. Iraq is not even in a civil war; yet Barnett has the bizarre idea that a functioning democracy somehow doesn't count if there are a lot of deaths... but only when we're talking about non-Europeans. When countries whose citizens are of European extraction experience years of violent bloodshed, we still allow them to be called democracies -- whether it's Greece, the United States, or Northern Ireland.

I suspect that Dean is not even aware of his double standard; he's a nice guy, with his head well-screwed-on anent other topics. But he just reacts viscerally (via the reptilian part of his brain) to the very idea of democracy in an Arab country.....

I think that's true. And there's something else at work I think. A sort of decadent idea that violence and slaughter and war are things of the past that no one has to steel themselves for any longer. That they are things we don't have to tough through. It may turn out that democracy isn't going to work in Iraq, but that's for the Iraqis to settle, and it hasn't failed until they give up on it.

And also, the idea that our campaign in Iraq has "failed" because of casualties is just stupid. The WoT has averaged 620 US military deaths a year. But our military loses over 500 a year just from accidents! And around 300 a year from suicide and disease. Our current casualties are light. Especially compared to past wars!

(And NO, I am not going to insert the usual boilerplate line: "of course every death is a tragedy blah blah blah.") That's become an absurd bit of political correctness, with anyone who advocates vigorous prosecution of the War on Terror feeling the need to grovel and snivel about how much they care about casualties. Well, we do care, but it's totally beside the point.

Every major decision, political, public, private, involves accepting casualties or the risk of them. As voters and Americans, it is our job to make decisions that are going have the side-effect of killing people. About 40,000 Americans die every year in automobile accidents. (Do Cindy Sheehan and the fake-pacifists weep over that slaughter? Of course not, not a tear.) If I vote for bonds for a new highway, I'm voting to kill a certain number of people in exchange for benefits to the community as a whole. That's life. We should be very careful and responsible about such things, but also we should be tough! That's what life is about. We are all going to die. (Tomorrow, on a cosmic time-scale.) Get tough and get serious!

I'm really thinking that all this sniveling about casualties in Iraq is because we don't want to face our mortality, and life's grim responsibilities. Wake up, world. Every week 10,000 pickaninnies die in Darfur. And you are claiming the a hundred dead in Baghdad is unendurable? What nonsense.

Posted by John Weidner at December 13, 2006 1:48 PM
Weblog by John Weidner