Overview of U.S. Politics, cont'd 

Overview of U.S. Politics, cont'd

Rationales for Iraq war:

#1. We went to war to protect Americans agains WMDs and links to al Qaeda, whether either of these exist or not, being on the safe side; what about the Democrats?
#2. We want to spread democracy everywhere, whether it makes sense or not--we'll even scare you by saying you'll never be safe (see again #1) unless we spread democracy everywhere in the world. What about the Democrats?
#3. We love the poor, oppressed Iraqi people. We just love 'em. We don't care how much it costs--we've just got to do something there. What about the Democrats?

All of these points are demagogic and even McCarthyite. They have little to do with winning an actual war on terror. They work best for a "war of choice," where the U.S. was not immediately threatened, so the Bushies can say "we've chosen a war, we've been bold, or arguably reckless and manly (like Texas skiers)--what about the Democrats?"

Of course there have always been "realist" arguments for some of what Bush has done. Condeleeza Rice has said that whatever U.S. and Western policies were in place in the Mid East and Persian Gulf before 9/11, they were not working. The trends were getting worse, not better. More fanaticism (combinations of fundamentalism, violence, and failed states); more threats to the West, more disappointments of hopes that mid-East peoples other than Israelis could enjoy genuine autonomy (not necessarily democracy).

Bush has never given such a sober speech. He has never admitted that certain countries go to the top of the list not because of idealism or love, but because of oil. He has lent some support to the view that Islam itself is a problem--despite his pious talk about a true, loving version of Islam.

I guess my only conclusion is that either McCain or Hillary Clinton would be an improvement. Why is Mickey Kaus, a Democrat, going to vote for McCain? I guess he buys in to at least some of the belief that what is needed is an angry, macho man--even if this person sometimes seems reckless, unpredictable, or crazy.

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