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Quag The Dog
In the LA Times, Robert Scheer deconstructs Bush's justification for the "deepening quagmire in Iraq" as the recycled version of the "dangerously dumb domino theory":

"Defeat them abroad before they attack us at home." If we didn't defeat communism in Vietnam, or even tiny Grenada, went the hoary defense of bloody proxy wars and covert brutality in the latter stages of the Cold War, San Diego might be the next to go Red.

Now, the new version of this simplistic concept seems to say, "If we don't occupy a Muslim country, inciting terrorists to attack us in Baghdad, we'll suffer more terror attacks at home." The opposite is the case. Invading Iraq has, like the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan before, proved to be a massive recruiting tool for Muslim extremists everywhere. Even the embattled CIA, which the White House is struggling to neuter as a semi-objective voice on foreign affairs, recently declared the Iraq occupation to be a boon to terrorists.

Yet the president stumbles on, demanding that we support his Iraq adventure lest we sully the memory of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. "We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand," said Bush last week. Actually, no. We fight in Iraq today because Bush listened to a band of right-wing intellectual poseurs who argued America could create a reverse domino effect, turning the Middle East into a land of pliable free-market, pro-Western "democracies" through a crude use of military force. This is rather like claiming a well-placed stick of dynamite can turn a redwood forest into a neighborhood of charming Victorians.

...From the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Bush has systematically sought to parlay the public's shock over a singular, if devastating, terrorist assault by a small coterie of extremists into what amounted to a call for World War III against a supposed "axis of evil." But these countries — Iran, Iraq and North Korea — shared only a clear hostility to the United States, rather than any real alliance or ties to 9/11 itself.

In the process, Bush has justified an enormous military buildup, spent tens of billions of dollars in Iraq, reorganized the federal government, driven the nation's budget far into the red and assaulted the civil liberties of Americans and people around the world, all without bothering to seriously examine the origins of the 9/11 attacks or compose a coherent strategy to prevent similar ones in the future. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden remains at large, as do his financial and political backers in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

But why has the White House pursued this nonsensical approach over the loud objections of the country's most experienced counterterrorism and Islamic experts? Because it allows the administration all the political benefits the Cold War afforded its predecessors: political capital, pork-barrel defense contracts and a grandiose sense of purpose.

And because the war on terror has no standard of victory, it can never end — thus neatly replacing the Cold War as a black-and-white, us-against-them worldview that generations of American (and Soviet) politicians found so useful for keeping the plebes in line. It's a one-size-fits-all bludgeon.

Posted by aalkon at July 14, 2005 7:41 AM

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Comments

Whenever an asinine comment is made by an arrogant moron anywhere in the Western world, I know it will show up on AdviceGoddess.com.

It's very comforting to know that Arianna has a competitor.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 14, 2005 2:51 AM

"Whenever an asinine comment is made by an arrogant moron anywhere in the Western world, I know it will show up on AdviceGoddess.com."

Yes, Richard, we welcome even you here.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2005 3:06 AM

Buy that redhead a drink!

Posted by: eric at July 14, 2005 8:00 AM

I've figured out the essence of Little Arianna's approach to life: ideas are fashionable accessories to be adopted and discarded according to the season.

You're such a rebel, Amy.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 14, 2005 11:52 AM

I just wish you had a logical argument or two.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 14, 2005 12:55 PM

My entire country has been hijacked by xtian conservatives. How long before it's legal to burn me at the stake?

Posted by: Goddyss at July 14, 2005 1:50 PM

Logical arguments are good, but I generally save them for situations where they can be reciprocated. Your analysis of Iraq and the greater war on the jihadis consists of cutting-and-pasting crap from muddle-headed idiots like Bob Scheer. There are so many factual and logical errors in his piece it's not worthwhile to point them out, so I'll just sling a little French baby poop your way and move on.

Clue: Iraq is not Vietnam.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 14, 2005 2:13 PM

I thought Iraq was Germany...

Posted by: eric at July 14, 2005 2:17 PM

Yes, that's a closer analogy.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 14, 2005 2:39 PM

Richard, where are you getting your French baby poop these days? Can you hook me up - my supplier is fresh out.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at July 14, 2005 3:38 PM

Richard, I wonder if you realize you haven't said anything of substance. I guess it's tough to do that while watching a lengthy progress bar and waiting for today's antivirus update.

If you read the archives, you'll see that Amy is relatively consistent; if you want different news, you have millions of other outlets to enjoy. I recommend Economist.com. They won't upset you with tales of PC woe.

Oops. Yes, they do; sorry.

Posted by: Radwaste at July 14, 2005 5:25 PM

Todd, you can get baby poop in all the finest restaurants in Paris these days; Amy can tell you all about it as she's such a connoisseur of the stuff she'll travel halfway around the planet just for a whiff of le poup nouveau. I think her report from Chez Merde is on her blog somewhere.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 14, 2005 5:47 PM

Yo, Raddie, do you have your order in the new Intel Mac yet? Let me be the first to welcome you aboard.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 14, 2005 5:48 PM

Richard - it's the OS, not the processor. As the Linux people will tell you. Not that you will listen.

Posted by: Radwaste at July 15, 2005 9:40 PM

I like Unix, always have. And why not? It's the second or third most popular OS for Intel architecture machines. At the end of the day, Apple's software is simply an alternative desktop to Gnome and KDE, and a very pretty one at that. Who knows, maybe one day it will go mainstream.

So yeah, welcome aboard.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 16, 2005 2:03 AM

I do hope that someday you'll actually use both Mac and PC platforms on the same day - as I do every working day. Then you'll be qualified to have an opinion.

I'm still "barefoot" - no antivirus, no anti-spyware. Happy computing!

Posted by: Radwaste at July 17, 2005 5:56 PM

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