Daily Archives: June 13, 2006

Blah blah Ginger

Once again I’m surprised by my brother, swooping in yet again to drop a stinky pile of corn-infested dung. Last time it was my use of the word “meddle” with respect to US and Mexico. This time, however, he accuses me of saying a lot of ugly things, which things I in fact never actually said. This really saddens me, for some reason, how I say one thing but he hears another. But, for the record, although it even depresses me just to do this much, I will respond.

Rob: So, this guy would rather kill you than look at you, but he’s not “the enemy” because Bush said he was?

I most certainly did not say that because the President declared Zarqawi to be my enemy, therefore I must think that Zarqawi cannot be my enemy. What I did say is that Zarqawi did not necessarily become my enemy simply by mere virtue of the fact that the President declared him to be so. I deliberately chose not to say that he either was or was not my enemy. I got in enough trouble in April when I said that Pancho Villa was my pal, so I’m a little more careful than that.

(And Rob even trots out some quote where Zarqawi declares me to be his enemy. I may very well be Zarqawi’s enemy, but I didn’t say that he was (or wasn’t) mine.)

Rob: I’m glad you admitted that you would rather the war went bad[ly], that you would rather Americans die than have the President do well.

I most certainly did not say that I wished the war would go badly. I wrote about Iraq in this space in January, saying that I didn’t support “the wholesale withdrawal of American troops.” If fact, I said, “If anything, we need more troops.” This time, however, in the Zarqawi post in question, I offered no opinion as to how I want the war to proceed. But, frankly, the war has gone quite badly all by itself, independent of my small opinions on its conduct, on its wisdom in the first place. Americans have been dying anyway.

I only said that I regretted that Zarqawi’s death would reflect well on the President, lamenting the fact that the President might be viewed as having done something well, anything at all, since I see him as having done so many things poorly.

But, regarding those Americans who have been dying anyway, I honestly do have so much more sympathy for the poor Iraqi civilians caught in the middle of all this. I always have more sympathy for the victims of war, rather than the combatants. When the combatants themselves are conscripts, I sympathize with them, too, of course. But our troops are all volunteers.

(Now, I realize that this is very much closer to Markos’s “screw them” philosophy than is comfortable for you. But I don’t think Paul shares this view. I don’t even know if he knows what you’re talking about, so leave him alone about Kos.)

I do of course recognize that Saddam Hussein was a terrible despot, that he killed a lot of civilians his own self. But I still don’t have to believe that this war was the answer to that problem.

Rob: Most of those with BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) can’t admit as much.

Rob hated President Clinton and his administration just as much as anybody hates President Bush now. I specifically remember his view on the tragic raid on David Koresh’s compound in Waco, when he said, as if quoting Attorney General Reno, giving the order to attack, “They’re hurting the children. Kill them all.” Whether he truly believed that the Clinton administration deliberately massacred those people, I don’t know. But that’s what he said.

Moreover, Rob declared that Clinton wasn’t even legitimately elected, having received only a plurality of the vote, rather than a majority. Funny, that, just a couple years later.

Rob: I guess if it makes Chimpy look bad, then our troops should all come home draped in Old Glory, huh?

Sigh. Do I really have to go through all of this?

I did not call anyone Chimpy.

Criticism of Clinton or Carter was and is always fair game. But, oddly, whenever it’s a Republican president in question, criticism of said president is somehow equated with criticism of the United States itself, with being unpatriotic. When Natalie Maines said that she was ashamed that the President was from Texas, Rob took to calling them the “Vichy Chicks,” labeling them traitors to their country for criticizing a person or a government policy.

Rob: And you, Paul; do you object strongly to Zarqawi’s video of Nick Berg’s beheading? Or the video of the 4 dead American contractors hanging from the bridge (You know, your buddy Kos’ “screw ’em” guys)?Or is shit like that only UNacceptable when BushCo does it? (See BDS above)

I’m really getting sick of this. But let’s try to finish. Criticism of one’s own government simply does not imply the endorsement of barbarism by anyone else. Paul is right to label this attack as absurd.

We don’t vote for Zarqawi. We don’t vote for al Qaida. They don’t represent us. We do vote for (or against) the President. He does represent us. He is responsible for us as we are responsible for him. As citizens we are empowered, we are even required by our civic duty, to speak up when we think that what he does, what our government does, on our behalf, is wrong.

I personally stopped reading Rob’s blog for a long time after he posted the picture of Zarqawi brandishing poor Mr. Berg’s severed head. It was tastelessly using the horrifying image for cheap gain. It was using it as pornography. And that’s exactly what Paul was complaining about, the picture of Zarqawi, matted and gold-framed no less. Or the pictures of Qusay and Uday Hussein, splayed and dead, when they were killed.

Beheading innocent people is a priori barbaric and wrong. Unless someone says otherwise, I’m going to assume that they’re against it. But displaying pictures of the dead, it isn’t necessarily wrong. But it might just be a bad idea.