Take two Fisks and call me in the morning
Ugh. I'm tired of studying. The analytical reasoning section is beginning to grate on my nerves.
No, that's not true. It grated on my nerves the moment I came into contact with it. By now it's ground itself deep into my body cavity and is, as we speak, eviscerating entire sections of my lower intestine before hits the spine and makes a beeline for my cerebral cortex.
All the literature on preparing for standardized tests specifically says stop and take a break once the disembowlment metaphors start popping into your head. And who am I to disagree with the experts?
So I went a-coasting for some online idiocy to angry up the blood. I had to look for like, a whole 35 seconds, man. A slow day for internet stupidity if there ever was one. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places. Does Barbra Streisand have a blog?
So, zipping on over to Common Dreams, I come across a delightful screed (I mean that in the bad, un-Lileks way. I fear the chap has taken a perfectly good pejorative and forever draped a robe of ambiguity about it. From now on, we'll be wondering, "Did he mean a boring, crappy speech, or an incisive piece of invective with logic so sharp it could cut a penny?" I might have to stop using it altogether), this one by the "writer and activist" Rick Stahlhut. Take a gander.
Rick apparently does his writing and activismizing in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Now I'm sure there are lots of perfectly normal, sane people in Kalamazoo, and no, simply being from there or calling it your residence, by virtue of the name of the place, of course doesn't automatically make one a loon.
But I don't think it helps.
At least, it really doesn't help in Mr. Strahlhut's case, as he goes about "Considering Motives for Gulf War II."
Citizens can influence the decision whether to attack Iraq. This requires understanding our administration's likely motives, which are not necessarily the stated ones. Although this task may seem overwhelming to busy Americans, it is nevertheless worthwhile, given that many soldiers and innocents will die if we attack.
Thank goodness we have Rick here to illuminate things for us, the pedestrian proles, the provincial plebs, the (two more words that both begin with "p")s. I for one know that I'm "overwhelmed" whenever I turn on my TV and see all these strange bright colors and hear the voices of people coming out of it. Is my television box infested with some kind of evil spirit? Are there little elves somehow playing a dirty trick on me?
Usually at that point I start to turn big and green and inevitably end up having to buy a new shirt, so it's nice that Strahlhut is willing to do all this brain-intensive interpretive work for us ordinary Hulk-Americans. At the very least it'll help me save money on my wardrobe.
And thanks for letting me in on the whole "death in war" thing. I'd been operating on the assumption that no one would be hurt. All this time I thought the conflict would be decided with those foam aggression mallets you get at psychiatrists' offices. That way, we could settle our differences, get out all that pent-up rage, and then we could all sit down and "come to terms" with something, having a good, cathartic cry in the process.
History helps. Early in World War I, Woodrow Wilson was reelected on a pacifist platform. But he believed that we had to enter the war, and thus created the Creel Commission to turn public opinion. It worked.
History doesn't help you, you uninformed jackass.
Strahlhut here makes it sound as if Wilson deliberately misled the people during the election into thinking that he was against entering the war, all the while snickering at the dumb apes behind their backs while he went home every night and delighted in pushing little plastic armymen around a map of Europe spread out on his kitchen table.
Wilson was against going to war. He didn't plan to involve the US in it militarily. What he didn't count on during the election was that Germany wasn't going to give him that option. And by all indications, he still didn't want to go to war even when it seemed completely necessary after the accumulation of such events as unrestricted submarine warfare, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Zimmerman note to Mexico and acts of attempted sabotage on American soil. And in many respects, he was acquiescing to public opinion, not shaping it. I'm no fan of Woodrow Wilson, being quite the fuzzy-headed idealist that he was, but that doesn't mean you get a pass on distorting history in order to help make your silly, juvenile arguments.
Examining Gulf War I brings us up-to-date. Then, as now, the official mission was to get Hussein, the latest Hitler -- but when the war ended, he was still there. Going after Saddam personally would have cost American lives, we were told. But then Iraqi rebels tried to depose Hussein, and our troops stood down as Saddam crushed them.
OK, now you've lost me.
So you're suggesting that the US, when the vaunted "coalition" didn't want us going into Iraq and deposing Saddam just as he was at his most vunerable, should have given a hearty unilateralist "fuck off" to all the allied ankle-bters and done it anyway? Cuz I sure would've been just fine and dandy with that.
Or are you just using this as another shallow and empty snipe, pointing out something that didn't end perfectly without a single sour note and using that fact as justification that the entire endeavor was rotten to the core? Or are you just an idiot who can't even get his own position straight?
PR firms were hired to promote the war -- described in detail in John MacArthur's book, "Second Front." For example, the fall of the real Kuwait, a dictatorship which was probably stealing Iraqi oil, was not likely to create a great deal of sympathy here.
I've got to admit he's got a point there. The Bush administration, deciding on a course of war, tried to actually convince the American people that it was the right thing to do! I suppose what Bush Sr. should've done is just said "Hey, I'm the president, I can do whatever I damn well please. I don't need anyone to agree me. I'm the president! Now let's gas up the jets and kill us some Iraqis!"
It's simply wonderful how Strahlhut never actually disputes anything Bush claimed, but instead implies that the mere act of trying to build national support for the cause automatically means he was being deceptive. You know, like all those dirty warmongers in the early 40's telling people to buy warbonds and join the army. Those miserable deceptive fucks.
Hill & Knowlton, then the world's largest PR firm, was hired to invent and deploy the now infamous incubator story, in which the Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter falsely claimed to have witnessed Iraqi soldiers dumping newborn babies out of hospital incubators and leaving them to die.
Wonderful use of the passage voice there, Ricky. It nicely distorts what you're saying and makes it sound like Bush knowingly and actively hired them to spread things he was aware were not true. Have you been taking lessons from Clinton? Well, then you should be well acquainted with this one. Come on, say it with me now: "Mistakes were made."
It was Kuwait that retained their services to spread international outrage over the Iraqi invasion, not Bush and company.
"Mistakes were made" sounds a lot better than "I fucked up," don't it?
Five years later, Bush senior's advisor Brent Scowcroft told the BBC that the war was really about oil. Not surprising. Weak dictators are preferred for maintaining stability and oil flow in the region. Hussein's flaw, despite the PR, was not his crimes, but that he'd become too strong and independent.
That's right. He was sticking it to the man, showing Whitey what was up, keepin' it real with all his Baath niggaz in da hood. Why we gotta be playa-hatin' on him like that??
Strahlhut, your stupidity is like a hot poker being turned in my brain.
Saddam was just as "independent" and "strong" before he rolled across the Kuwaiti border as he was after. Suddenly playing a game of geopolitical smash 'n grab didn't bother us because Saddam was asserting his ego-integrity. He was trying to conquer other countries. For all we cared he could assert his independence until he was blue in the face and keeled over in the dust from assertion-stroke. That's just a teensy bit different than treating neighboring countries like items in the impulse-buy rack at the Quik-E-Mart.
The strategy, apparently, was to weaken him, but not remove. With rebels dead and civilians devastated by our sanctions, a weaker Hussein would not be overthrown.
Teleology. Great. Why am I not surprised?
So the fact that he was never overthrown of course, of course means that it was all part of the big, nefarious, secret-handshake, Masonic plot for world domination. Because it couldn't possibly be because we foolishly
kow-towed to the notion of our "fragile" coaltion, made up of all those other countries (many of them dictatorships, Strahlhut! I'm sure you're shocked and appalled) that weren't too keen on us bringing about the great boogeyman of the current anti-war crowd, Instability, and thus let them dissuade us from doing what we knew would have been just and prudent to do.
Strahlhut then firmly adjusts his tin-foil hat and proceeds to say what this new war will really be about. I'll give you a hint, it begins with "oi" and ends with "l," and it isn't "oidel"
Go ahead, read the rest of it. You may get a kcik out of the way his mind works. Or doesn't.