Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Just in case you're bored and need something to read.


Tired of your own reality? Here, try this guy's (excerpted from a lengthy comment back here). I'm not even going to highlight the juicy bits.

Also, I'll touch on Iraq here, just to clear something up. Just because innocent people die doesn't make a war bad. Of course I wish that it didn't cost innocent lives to liberate a country, and I know that a life lost there is as important as a life lost in Mississippi in a hurricane. But making the argument that just because innocents are dying as a result of the war means that the war is bad is simplistic at best. As powerful as the US is, it doesn't have powers normally ascribed to deities - it can't remove Saddam and set up a functioning nation just by snapping its fingers. And that's always been the case - as successful as the post-WW2 rehabilitation of Germany and Japan were, those ran into many of the same problems that we face today for longer than we've faced them for(and I'm not even going to mention the staggering cost in blood it took to put the troops on that ground in the first place, a cost that we were thankfully spared this time).

But the standard in this war, even if you're looking at it from a perspective of pure humanitarianism, is not some mythological war where we could stop Saddam's brutal and oft-genocidal habits without getting our hands dirty or without inconveniencing people. The choices were US rule or Saddam's rule, and anyone who is even remotely familiar with the statistics can tell you that the US's rule is far preferable, even if it isn't perfect. Of course I wish that it could be better, and I wish that they had made fewer dumb mistakes in their post-war conduct. But as long as the US actually finishes the job, and sets up somethign approximating a modern, functioning democracy(and yes, it CAN be done), then the result is far, far preferable to the continued rule of a megalomaniacal dictator who thought nothing of grinding his citizens underfoot.

That's why I supported the war(well, it's one of the reasons, at least), and even if you choose to disagree with other aspects of it, or disagree with my figures, please don't assume that anyone on this side of the spectrum is being cavalier about thousands of dead innocents - it's a tough choice, and one where I wish there were better alternatives, but I'm standing behind the one that I believe will do the best job of eliminating human misery the fastest. And I hope that you can acknowledge that fact - just because we want the US to follow a course of action that you believe to be counterproductive doesn't mean that we're motivated by oil, malice, or the stupidity that it's too easy to attribute to people who oppose us. I believe in doing what is best for the world, as do you - don't try to assert otherwise, unless you're trying to say that I own a lot more shares in Texaco than I know about.

Be gentle.

1 comment:

Lone Primate said...

Well, there are a lot of perspectives out there. I have to admit, though, that stuff like this kind of depresses me. It's almost as though the United States threw off this magic aura that blinded people to its faults and misdeeds. Things that those same people would find monstrous and insufferable if committed by other lands become excusable, even praiseworthy, if committed under the auspices of Old Glory and the Declaration of Independence. I can't help wondering if Alex and people like him would be anywhere near as quick to praise and support a war of liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam (as if that were the intention at its outset) that was costing hundreds of thousands of innocent lives if it were the project of the People's Republic of China instead of the United States of America, all other things being equal. Somehow, I doubt it; and that's the telling point.