July 29, 2006

Whither Morality?

This speculative dribble isn't only amoral and outrageous. It's also just plain stupid, and shows an abysmal lack of understanding regarding the most basic tenets of counter-insurgency doctrine ... The fact that any of this passes for hifalutin' commentary, and indeed gets debated in NRO as being even close to the realm of seriousness is, it must be said, rather disturbing ...

Greg has written another great post. I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing.

Are we now to stoop to the level of our worst enemies (it is the militias of Moktada al-Sadr, after all, who are slaughtering young Sunni males willy-nilly), pondering politely as if an interesting academic conundrum, with arguments ostensibly of equal merit on both sides, whether we should have fought the war in Iraq by exterminating hundreds of thousands of middle-aged male Sunnis? How then does this make us different than Saddam? How then does this make humanity different in the post-Auschwitz era? What have we learned? How then can we believe in progress, and decency, and history not doomed to cyclical savageries?

Mark Kleiman also takes up the repulsive John Podhoretz column (and isn't Podhoretz being a wee bit too cute, not putting a single declarative sentence in his whole column?), and it's the US is a weak surrender-monkey assumption:

Our civilization is not at risk. To think so reflects cowardice. To persuade others that we are at risk is to spread cowardice. Podhoretz's tough-guy persona hides either a man too terrified to think like a civilized human being or a man who hopes to terrify his fellow-citizens into supporting policies he favors for other reasons. He'd make a good teller of scary stories around a Boy Scout campfire. As a strategic thinker, he'd have to improve a lot to be contemptible.

The lightning-quick speed with which so many of those on the right seem ready to ditch our country's morals when it's convenient to certain desired political aims has always struck me as one of the oddest things that the national political dialgue sometimes seems to let them get away with since 1) it seems like they continually see the US as weak and imperiled (by as little as a couple of wrinkled grannies possibly exchanging wedding vows in some New England hamlet), not as an immense power that's a bright beacon of a better world and 2) it implies that our values and morals really aren't all that important to who we are as a people and we needn't practice what we preach (either, apparently ,for our own righteousness or the soft power that they often say it brings us).

Posted by armand at July 29, 2006 02:55 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Shame | War

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