On Saturday night, I had dinner with friends. I was seated across the table from a very close friend whom I love with my whole black heart. A guy I don’t know well asked my friend, a George Bush fan, a question about politics. My friend and I know better than to discuss politics because my dear friend stopped thinking for himself in 2000. It’s deeply disappointing. Moreover, even though I broke my own rule by answering a direct question, then not backing down or away from my opinion, this conversation really got under my skin.
A few things:
1. To say that John McCain is the most sensible candidate Republicans could have fielded is to disqualify yourself from adult conversation. McCain has repeatedly conflated Iran and al-Quaeda and doesn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shi’a. Further, no one on an international stage should apply for a diplomatic position by stepping up to a mic and singing, “Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran.” This is a disaster in the making, at a time when we are seen internationally as a lawless superpower, a bully with nukes.
Surely, there must be one sane man in the Republican Party. Why isn’t he running?
2. Discussing winning the war in dispassionate terms does not mark one as mature or serious: it’s monstrous. For no discernable reason, we have destroyed a sovereign nation. If we invaded for oil, we’re not going to get it. If we invaded to take out Saddam, we’ve murdered him. If, as I more and more hear, we invaded to restore our Vietnam-wounded pride, we have done the very thing that will insure this pride is injured further.
(As an aside, what is it with men who were too young to serve in Vietnam and who didn’t bother joining the service talking about what WE lost? I was in pigtails and ballet slippers, and I’m not stewing. And that these same dodos end arguments by shouting, “We saved your ass in WWII!” speaks volumes about great insecurity rather than great accomplishment.)
3. The Middle East is not a fucking game board. Real people live there and die there when we take our giant dick substitutes out and fire off a few missiles. Now, just because we forget and go play somewhere else does not mean the survivors won’t remember. Think for a second about Israel and Palestine. How far does that little tiff stretch back in history? Is it…ALWAYS? Why yes, yes it is. And these people, whom we’ve only noticed because they stand on oil, will remember that we’ve dropped bombs on them. We may forget. They never will. Weren’t we trying to win their hearts and minds?
We cannot make the Middle East anything other than what it is.
4. Democracy cannot be imposed from the outside. It must arise from the people, who must be willing to die for it. The think tank assholes who keep saying Democracy can be exported know that no such thing is possible and they’re only saying it to people too stupid to read their own nation’s history.
Democracy has nothing whatever to do with what our government’s done to Iraq. It’s an invasion, pure and simple, for oil and George Bush’s Daddy problems. Imperialism is not democratic.
5. The war cannot be won.
6. The military is being destroyed in the war that cannot be won.
7. No one has any idea how to pay for the health care for the veterans of the war that cannot be won.
8. My favorite:
“I believe in less taxes.”
“I believe bridges should remain standing. One of us is going to be unhappy.”
One more thing: when you’re talking politics and you shout at me while I’m discussing peace you’ve told me you know your argument’s weak. It is the refuge of the man who factors the sufferings of other human beings – especially women – into the cost of doing business and doesn’t give his part in creating it a second thought. If you know your argument’s weak, rethink the question.
I’ve tried to reconstruct this glittering little quotation but I’ve failed.* The point is really important. I’m paraphrasing:
The role of Commander In Chief is the smallest part of the American Presidency because war represents the failure of diplomacy.
We’re not electing a Commander In Chief. We are electing a President, hopefully a person smart enough to guide our nation to peace, prosperity and energy independence.
So maybe I’m in a mood.
*If you have a line on who said the line I can’t reconstruct, shout it out, my dahhhhlink.
Update: The salute I think of each time minstrel mentions Reagan’s fetishy love of pomp and parades.