Monday, March 27, 2006

don't blame us, we voted for kodos

I have no idea who Gina Cobb is, but today she sounded a warning klaxon w/r/t Iran's development of nuclear weapons (via Krauthammer in Time).

I share her concern. Nuclear proliferation is probably one of the biggest issues facing humankind, as well as one of the least understood. Our administration's poor record on proliferation (making latter-day SDI plans public, seeking to resume nuclear arms production, sending John Bolton to the UN, patting India on the head for flaunting the NPT, etc., etc.) aside, Cobb, keeping in spirit with the Bush Doctrine, seeks to place pre-emptive blame for the Iran problem:

"One of the most awful legacies of the American left ultimately may be that it has undermined American and world support for decisive action to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons until it is too late. By its relentless attacks on the White House centering around the Iraq war, the left has hobbled the Administration at a time when swift and unanimous action is required."
OK, here's the thing: nearly every poll in the known universe shows that a majority of Americans 1) decisively disapprove of Bush's handling of the Iraq war, and 2) think it was a mistake to go to war there in the first place. You want to know why the political capital Bush bragged about after the election is completely spent? Look no further than these numbers.

Now, I think it's pretty apparent that we on the allegedly "loony" Left don't make up a majority of Americans (one look at who controls all three branches of federal government should dispel any notions to the contrary). So how, then, can one explain why mainstream America is rejecting the Iraq war en masse and crippling the administration's further use of preemptive force? I think it's one of two possibilities:

1) Mainstream America is being led astray by the Left's corrosive attacks on the Bush administration's handling of the war; in particular by the media's refusal to report "good" news coming out of Iraq.

I think this is the explanation with which neo-conservatives will ultimately stick. The only problem with it is that if you take it to its logical conclusion, it's basically saying that 1) the power of leadership within the Bush White House is not enough to overcome the administration's shrill critics, and 2) mainstream America is easily swayed, which is a euphemism for "stupid."

Which is ironic, given how conservatives love to paint liberals as smug elitists - how often have we heard those on the Right chuckle about how the only message progressives have for people is "vote for us, you idiots!" Indeed, after huge wins in the past three election cycles, it's been incredibly easy for the GOP to proclaim its great faith in the wisdom of the American people. Only now that the shoe's on the other side of the aisle, Republicans are doing their darndest to tell middle America that it's been brainwashed by an agenda-driven New York Times; given the current poll numbers, when conservatives talk about the Left and the media's attacks on Bush, they're essentially telling Americans, "wake up, you idiots! And then vote for us!"

2) Ultimately, the American people are suckers for the truth.

Bingo.

Also, what Churchill said. As the disastrous way that Bush conceived and executed this war becomes more apparent, a majority of Americans respond with increasing negativity - robbing the President of his precious capital. It's that simple. To blame the people - on the Left or anywhere else - for both the political and real-world consquences of this nightmare is absurd.

What does this mean w/r/t Iran? Well, I don't want to be consumed in nuclear hellfire any more than you do. Unfortunately, you've gotta dance with the one who brung ya, and by that I mean we're going to be forced to give our trust to a man who has not yet shown he's worthy of it.

1 comment:

Jeff Porten said...

Haplo, I invite you to join my crusade to stop referring to the "Left" when talking about people in any power. Democrats and almost all mainstream commentators are properly called "Moderates". It's precisely the renaming of these people as leftists that has a) made the Right seem less like extremists; and b) made us seem more so.

That being said -- I recommend www.globalsecurity.org as a very good reference for who's got what WMDs. Don't forget to check missile inventories, as delivery systems are 9/10s of the law.

Long range, there are three solutions to the proliferation problem:

1) we can go to war with everyone who has them, wants them, or tries to buy them.

2) we can stop blocking the efforts of IAEA and finally throw our considerable might behind a sane global regulatory and reduction system.

3) we can all die.