Occasionally I have been wrong here on The Daily Discord. I know, I know, say it isn’t so Zano. But a few of my predictions have clearly gone astray.
I still believe, Sanjya!
Surely my biggest miscalculation involves the time frame for the double dip recession. But here’s one I’m taking back. My relatively small list of boo boos just got smaller. I did not support “The Surge” in Iraq. I felt, at the time, it only acted as a Bushian human shield, so he could quietly sneak away to go clear brush or conduct some other task more suitable to his relative skill set.
In an article for the Discord in 2008, I said, “the catastrophic decisions by Bush and company are swept away by the success of the surge, which equates to a billion dollar a week pause button in the endless clusterfuck that is the Iraq War.”
Back then, this “Surge” marked my only retraction and, likewise, the only bragging point on the Right. Soooo, if that becomes meaningless as Iraq deteriorates then what, exactly, have you been right about? Never mind, I don’t want to hear your version of history; it makes my ears bleed. As we leave Iraq, it seems the country is doing what many predicted, tanking right on cue. So what did this surge accomplish, exactly? …besides weaken our economy, of course. So, my fairly short wrong list just got shorter and the already staggeringly long Republican wrong list, well, I think it’s approaching Santa list length (SLL). Who’s been a naughty neocon?
I’m still waiting for a Foxeteer to cite something that, years later, has proven to be anything but dead wrong. It would be an interesting experiment in futility, or, in their case, a better life through revisionist history. Oh wait, they were against the bailouts and so was I. Uh oh, I sense another retraction in my future.
Christopher Hitchens was about the only person on the planet who could clearly explain the justification for the War on Terror and the necessity of the Iraq War—at least in any meaningful way (aka, he was never allowed on Fox News). These days anyone who can articulate their position is suspect. The day Hitchens’ passed, a collective gasp rifled through my friends and colleagues, many of whom did not even share his political views. The Hitch-22 is this, an irreplaceable rational voice was lost to us last week and our fight against totalitarian thought just became a much more arduous task without him.
Hitchens made a compelling argument for taking up arms in the war on Islamofascism. Although I am more dove than hawk, any given Hitchens’ article found me ready and willing to nuke the friggin’ Amish. There are scant few logical opposing views these days, and that’s a shame. The right, of course, will not grieve his loss. They look on any intellect with disdain and suspicion—after all, dumb is the new smart, which is working out so well for them. Besides, Hitchens was an atheist so why bother? He used to get thrown off of the Sean Hannity show regularly for making something that has no place in Hannity’s America…sense!
John McCain had the most stunning comment on the final withdrawal of troops from Iraq:
“Over 4,000 brave young Americans gave their lives in this conflict. I pray that their sacrifice is not in vain. I hope that their families will not mourn the day that their sons and daughters went out to fight for freedom for the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, it is clear that this decision of a complete pullout of United States troops from Iraq was dictated by politics, and not our national security interests. I believe that history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain it deserves,”
– John McCain
And to think, we almost made this moron president. Sir, with all due respect, Obama was elected in part to get us the hell out of Iraq, which marks a rare moment of lucidity amongst the electorate. If we left now, or a hundred years from now, the Iraqis themselves have some things to sort out—messy things that involve mortars and martyrs (which, by the way, is also my favorite Iraqi game show; it’s almost as good as Wheel of Fatwa).
Here are two points for Senator McCognitive problems to ponder (the right can, of course, ignore both of them and jump right to my comment on socialism):
- Obama followed Bush’s time line. Bush wanted oil and revenge, but realized at some point he needed to keep himself out of prison, so he shifted away from the policies of his sociopathic Vice President and set a time table for withdrawal. Yeah of history!…happy clap!
- Obama tried to keep bases and a presence in Iraq, but we were asked politely to leave. The only way we could stay was if our troops agreed to obey Islamic Law. After forgetting to pay, I love having my hand chopped off leaving the local Iraqi Chucky Cheeses. That would have gone over so well with the military families, eh? Look, Iraq is a sovereign nation. Wasn’t that the point? What are you suggesting, sir? Here’s what I—as a behavioral health professional—am suggesting is your problem, Senator…it rhymes with cement-sha.
Shortly after he died, I caught Hitchens’ last interview with Richard Dawkins. These are two very bright people who share an enthusiasm for atheism, but otherwise come from very different disciplines. Hitch the journalist and Dawkins the scientist made for a fitting last interview. And what did they talk about? The very point I’ve been trying to make since long before the Discord’s inception:
DAWKINS: I’ve always been very suspicious of the left-right dimension in politics.
HITCHENS: Yes; it’s broken down with me.
DAWKINS: It’s astonishing how much traction the left-right continuum [has] . . . If you know what someone thinks about the death penalty or abortion, then you generally know what they think about everything else. But you clearly break that rule.
HITCHENS: I have one consistency, which is [being] against the totalitarian – on the left and on the right. The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy – the one that’s absolute, the one that wants control over the inside of your head, not just your actions and your taxes. And the origins of that are theocratic, obviously. The beginning of that is the idea that there is a supreme leader, or infallible pope, or a chief rabbi, or whatever, who can ventriloquise the divine and tell us what to do.
I’ll give you a hint which side of American politics has been more totalitarian in recent years. It rhymes with preservative. Speaking of which, do all preservatives suffer from cement-sha?
Hitchens represents one of our last gasps of independent thought. Only a few recognize the dangers of totalitarianism, this absolute all-or-none thinking so rampant in today’s politics. As Dawkins asserts, we shouldn’t know all of someone’s political views if, say, they happen to be in favor of gun control. But we do and therefore can predict, with a stunning accuracy, where they fall on every other issue from that point on. Why is this, you think? Well, you don’t think…that’s the point. Cable television does the thinking for you.
Where I would expand on the Dawkins Hitchens premise is this: religious zealots are not the only issue. Although the evangelical branch of the right is clearly problematic, fundamental thought is not only driven by the preachers but also by the pundits. Fox News, in particular, has had a staggering impact on the “real American” psyche. Are you wondering why you can’t find a candidate? The one’s you have must all drink from the Foxian Cup of Stupid. It’s why Ron Paul remains an outsider. Independent news died and what’s astounding is how quietly it scampered off. The blogosphere promised new views and new opportunities to hear endless voices on endless topics. Yet, here we are, listening to dumb and dumber, those talking heads on cable television—who you all magically agree with. It’s all variations of the same two voices, let’s call it KochSoros Syndrome.
As for our foreign policy blunders of the recent past, Ron Paul exposes all the Republican Party’s failings in this area, which is precisely why they despise him. As usual, The Dish master gets it:
A (Ron) Paul win in Iowa would completely discombobulate Fox News. That’s good enough reason in and of itself to vote for him. Any restoration of decent, intelligent conservatism must start with a weakening of (Roger) Ailes.
– Andrew Sullivan
True story…er, my story. Meanwhile, Republicans want Obama to go away, as if that will magically solve our problems. I’m afraid the global economy is in its death throes. Look, if Obama loses in 2012 that may or may not be a good thing for our country, but if tomorrow marked the last broadcast of Fox News? Now that would truly be a great day for America. If there were only more independent-minded conservatives like Andrew Sullivan, or even the late hawk Christopher Hitchens, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Sullivan actually supported the Iraq War but at some point was struck with the realization that Bush was grossly incompetent. What a rare individual…and on the Right no less!
As the last people in the know leave this dimensional plane of existence, I can’t see this battle for a higher level of consciousness ending well. It reminds of a recent Onion article, Last American Who Knew What the Fuck He Was Doing Dies. As for hawkishness, Christopher Hitchens was clearly that man. He marked the only person who could explain your position on foreign policy in complete sentences. Well, I guess you still have The British are Irish Palin.
What strikes me as sad is this: the only people who did not even take notice of Hitchens’ passing are the very people who needed his voice the most.