Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 16, 2006

You just can't reason with a genocidal maniac

Amazing as it seems, there are still those who think that MORE WAR in MORE PLACES will solve our problems in Iraq and with the issue of global terrorism. Glenn Greenwald links to some real nutcases who believe that acting "tougher" and bombing more places is the answer. It's hard to determine exactly what their thought process must be to come to such a conclusion, but I'll give it a shot.

First, I myself believe, and I'm sure the wingers would agree, that invading Iraq with an army of 1 million soldiers would have produced a different result than the one we see today. I'm not sure it would have been necessarily more successful, but I can't help but think that security, at least in the early stages, would have been substantially better. Perhaps if the urban environment was less of a free-for-all in the days after Saddam's fall, more Iraqis would have dared to risk their safety on a gamble that the Americans were serious about rebuilding their country. We knew this already of course, because the generals had told us. The only problem with this line of reasoning is that putting together a million soldier army was simply impossible. We may as well conjecture what an invasion of space alien soldiers would have been like.

I'm sure a lot of the wingers look to WWII as the golden age of our military and proof that we can fight all these wars at the same time and win them all. Some profound luck on our side notwithstanding (Battle of Midway, Hitlers decision to invade Russia thus starting a land war in Asia), this is true. We are the strongest nation in the world and can do far more militarily than any other nation. There are reasons, however, that a comparison of now and then cannot honestly be made. In 1942, this country mobilized for war in a way the world had never seen. Even the German war machine was no match for us once we got it going. The entire military and economic might of our great nation backed the war effort. The wingers then will say, "yes yes that's what I'm talking about! we need to mobilize!" Well, again going back to WWII, I'm reminded of a story about my grandfather. He wanted so badly to help the Allies smash Hitler's armies that he went and joined the CANADIAN Air Force because the US hadn't entered the war yet. People really did WANT to fight in WWII. Men enlisted by the hundreds and thousands.

So why not the same for Iraq? The wingers will say that media pessimism suppressed the patriotic urge to fight for "freedom," but anyone who can remember 2002 knows this is not true. This country was in an extended patriotic orgasm for God's sake. The president's approval numbers were through the roof. But when it came to war with Iraq, the public never bought it. From the get go the effort was doomed. Americans wanted to cheer their flag, but we just didn't think Iraq was worth risking our lives over. We were never going to able to mobilize for this thing. What's worse is that we were never even asked to. So now the fashion is to blame lack of success in Iraq on the American people for their insufficient will to fight. Maybe if Jonah Goldberg were saying this between security sorties in Fallujah I'd take him seriously. Jonah's famous excuse that he "has kids" doesn't fly. If it's important enough, everyone fights. Heck, Ted Williams fought in WWII. He's the best hitter in baseball history. Freaking Elvis fought!

The second, and probably more accurate, way to interpret the wingers thought process on more war is simply as an extermination fantasy. They don't want to fight, they don't want more troops. They just want more Muslims to die. This is the "more rubble, less trubble" camp, to quote a disgusting phrase I saw on Instapundit once. They'll talk and talk and talk about resolve and "kicking-ass" and toughness and moral clarity and all that noise, but what they really want in their heart of hearts is for all the scary terrorists to die. And since you don't know how to distinguish the scary terrorists from regular brown Muslim people, the best idea is to just kill them all. The discussion of how to reduce the causes of terror is totally uninteresting to them. The only thing they want to talk about is how to completely eliminate the populations from which the terrorists tend to spring.

This blog is based on a true story.