the commie-pinko case for war

...by noted homosexual Dan Savage
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26 Responses:

  1. greyface says:

    Except for the obligatory use-it-til-they-forget-what-it-means treatment of the word fascist, that's a pretty good piece. I tend to appreciate it when even "The Left" sees sense. Specifically, do something some time, or die. Leaving the mid-east alone starting now doesn't seem like it will lead them to sort out their problems among themselves in some satisfying-to-them way.

  2. ciphergoth says:

    Seems a bit irrelevant to me. Savage treats it as if it's a strange twist of fate that the person currently proposing to invade Iraq isn't really motivated by the interests of the Iraqi people.

  3. bdu says:

    Replace everything he said about "islamo-fascists" with "judeo-christian-fascists", and guess what, most of it holds true for the people in power in OUR country.

    Funny that. The little quotes from Osama about taking rights away from women, killing homosexuals, and putting God back in govt sound EXACTLY like the Republican agenda to me.

    I have a hard time believing people who come out and say, "Hey, we need to go to war against this country that hasn't attacked us because their leader might give weapons to this other guy that believes in a similar platform to my own."

    • flipzagging says:

      > sound EXACTLY like the Republican agenda to me

      So you don't see a difference between the USA under the Republicans and Afghanistan under the Taliban?

      It's really easy to draw pointless equivalencies. It also means you never have to make a choice.

      • bdu says:

        I see a difference in the US under repubs than Afghanistan under taliban, yes. I never said otherwise.

        However, I see very little difference between the Taliban and most Repubs. There IS a difference between those two statements.

        *if* there were not the burden of dismantling this country's infrastructure that is currently impeding their goals, I don't think the two countries would be terribly different when it comes to the treatment of and rules for it's people.

        And hey, guess what, both Al Quaeda *and* the repubs hate Saddam Hussein, what a shock!

        • greyface says:

          1. There is no moral equivalence between Osama, Saudis, the Hussein regime, et al, and our president, even if he is a dullard, and a shill.
          2. The most important difference between social conservatism and "Islamo-Fascism" is that social conservatives try to marginalize, and at worst demonize their disliked groups, (Homosexuals, athiests, what-have-you), and the "I-F"s try to kill their disliked groups. If this is a "little difference" then I worry.
          3. The tendency towards a central authority and then slide towards a police state in the US is bothersome, but ultimately the "repubs" will never go there, because they support freedoms for corporate activity
          • bdu says:

            There is no moral equivalence between Osama, Saudis, the Hussein regime, et al, and our president, even if he is a dullard, and a shill.

            More straw man tactics. I never said there was a moral equivalency between Bush and these people, I said there was a moral equivalency between Bush's party/handlers and these people/regimes. Bush doesn't have the balls to pick up an AK47 and fight for himself, that right there draws a line.

            The most important difference between social conservatism and "Islamo-Fascism" is that social conservatives try to marginalize, and at worst demonize their disliked groups, (Homosexuals, athiests, what-have-you), and the "I-F"s try to kill their disliked groups. If this is a "little difference" then I worry.

            You think the Christists don't kill their enemies? If you want to be an ostrich, feel free... just don't expect me to buy into it.

            The tendency towards a central authority and then slide towards a police state in the US is bothersome, but ultimately the "repubs" will never go there, because they support freedoms for corporate activity

            Yeah, it'll be a privatized police state, run by and for their corporate masters and their christist buddies.

            • greyface says:

              More straw man tactics. I never said there was a moral equivalency between Bush and these people, I said there was a moral equivalency between Bush's party/handlers and these people/regimes. Bush doesn't have the balls to pick up an AK47 and fight for himself, that right there draws a line.
              Okay, that's a distinction in detail that I can accept as meaningful. But, there still is no moral equivalence between the Bush camp and the other camps either.

              You think the Christists don't kill their enemies? If you want to be an ostrich, feel free... just don't expect me to buy into it.
              I have never, personally heard of the "Christists" so I can't begin to say whether or not they kill people. But the Christian Right as a whole does not kill people for disagreement with their moral standpoints. Christianity has a lot of violence in its past, inquisitions, burnings, hangings, and wars. But that is not the nature of that particular group of people these days. It isn't the nature of Christian Theocracies (Okay, so the only one I know of is the Vatican...) and it's not the nature of the religion in areas of highly concentrated believers (Brazil, Spain, Utah, ad infinitum).
              Saying that Christians are actively trying to kill their out-groups is preposterous. As a side note, a significant number of Muslim countries and the majority of practicing Muslims seem to be just fine with their out-groups just being away rather than dead. And, as a final reminder, I don't know who the Christists are.

              Yeah, it'll be a privatized police state, run by and for their corporate masters and their christist buddies.
              Oh please, as if the PATRIOT act empowers Wells Fargo to break into your house and repossess your bedding.
              And when did dollar-worship become a Christian thing. Religion is too sensitive a topic for the vast majority of publically held corporations. In'n'Out (hamburger place in California and a few in nearby states) is pretty openly Christian, but it's also privately owned. If at some point in the future, the tide of publically traded companies reverses direction, and private ownership becomes the status quo for the big boys, it would be possible though still unlikely that they could begin to express religious conviction. Corporations exist for profit, not morality. When morality interferes with profits in a public company, the moralist is fired. This is good in that corporations are predictable, and bad in that some morality would be nice.

        • flipzagging says:

          Nothing you that you said in that comment can be supported by the facts. Get back to us when you find any evidence that:

          - al-Qaeda is against Saddam Hussein in the short term.

          - most Republicans are against the state of Israel, Jews generally, technological advancement, intoxicants, gambling, lending with interest, women appearing in public uncovered, property and political rights for women, education in any field other than religious studies, and the entirety of the Constitution and any non-religious laws or government.

          Frankly you are the sort of peacenik that annoys the hell out of me. You're seeing this whole global crisis in terms of your hate-on for the Republican party, of whom you are willing to believe any evil.

          • bdu says:

            And since you've resorted to ad-hominem attacks, I'll leave it at that and let you have the last word.

            • harryh says:

              Well, I haven't resorted to ad-hominem attacks and I would *love* to hear some evidence that:

              "- most Republicans are against the state of Israel, Jews generally, technological advancement, intoxicants, gambling, lending with interest, women appearing in public uncovered, property and political rights for women, education in any field other than religious studies, and the entirety of the Constitution and any non-religious laws or government."

          • subtle_eye says:

            would be the widely publicised Al-Jazeera transcript where Bin Laden calls upon all Iraqi Moslems to
            overthrow Hussein. He is running a secular Islamic state after all, a complete anathema in Bin Laden's eyes.

            How about you present some proof that both of them are batting on the same team, rather than just saying that they're both on Bush's shitlist. What next, Bin Laden and the North Koreans?

            • flipzagging says:

              > The proof that Al-Qaeda is against Hussein... would be the widely publicised Al-Jazeera transcript
              > calling upon all Iraqi Moslems to overthrow Hussein.

              You mean this one?

              http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/02/1572917.php

              He declares that the current Iraqi regime are still socialist infidels, but it is necessary to fight for them as at least being fellow Arabs and Muslims, against the greater enemy of the USA.

              Perhaps in the past al-Qaeda has spoken in favor of overthrowing Saddam Hussein, but not recently. In the long term, the bin Ladenists are against every non-Caliphate nation.

              > that both of them are batting on the same team,

              I didn't mean to imply that. The al-Qaeda goal is to unify Arabs in holy rage against the West, so they use the current Iraq conflict opportunistically and pump up support for Saddam Hussein.

              However, as far as I know, Saddam Hussein has never come out for al-Qaeda.

        • flipzagging says:

          I regret challenging you, it was obvious it was going to turn out like this. Resolving to let sleeping dogs lie now.

  4. rpkrajewski says:

    I just have a problem with the last few paragraphs, but only because I think he's right. I just hope he isn't.

  5. flipzagging says:

    Dan Savage isn't known for nuanced opinions but in general I agree.

    The only thing is that the USA, or even "the West", no matter what the financial commitment, just doesn't have the power to roll back despotism in the Middle East. Allies are required, especially within the countries to be reformed.

    The administration's Keystone Kop diplomacy seems to have ruined any hope of that. For how long? I hope it's only as long as the current administration lasts.

  6. “Doctor, doctor! I've been putting eyedrops in my eyes for the past twenty-five years, and after every single drop they've just gotten more swollen. Now they're so red and puffy that I can barely see anything—I think I slaughtered an old lady with my SUV on the way here. What do you recommend?”
    “I suggest using eye drops. They've always worked in the past, right?”
    “What an excellent idea! Thank you, doctor!”

    …which isn't an argument that Savage accepts—“for now”. Why doesn't he accept it? Because “George W. Bush failed to make the case”, implying that the patient's response would be perfectly acceptable, given a sufficiently charismatic doctor.

    We know Saddam is a Very Bad Man. There are, howeever, other ways of dealing with Very Bad Men that aren't nearly as likely to result in (1) killing a whole lot of people who we're supposedly interested in helping, and (2) given the people involved, probably affecting very little actual change.

    Any claims that members of the liberal opposition to war aren't concerned with human rights in Iraq are, frankly, about as absurd as claims that feminists didn't really care about the situation for women in Afghanistan prior to the US' invasion there (and how did that turn out, incidentally?). Jeanne D'Arc (it would seem that “liberal Catholic” isn't an oxymoron. I was surprised.) writes about it a bit.

    • jlindquist says:

      Feh.

      That Sojourners article loses me as soon as it talks about some international human-rights tribunal indicting Hussein. "It would set into motion both internal and external forces that might remove him from power." It utterly fails to talk about what those forces might be.

      He's not going to walk across the border into Turkey, turn himself in at the first police station, and ask someone to read him his rights. Indeed, he's not at all likely to give a shit.

      Internal forces? What internal forces? He's been purging opposition for over two decades. Thanks to President Bush calling on his domestic opponents to rise up in 1991, and then hanging them out to dry, most of that opposition is either dead or too scared to do anything.

      His support is either loyal or ambitious. His opposition is insignificant. Suggesting that "indictment", or even assassination, is a solution is pathetically naive. You'll need a large, heavily-armed scalpel to cut that whole political tumor out of Iraq. Though now, in the absence of neccessary international assistance, is not the time.

      And Dan is right on the money. We built those tyrants, it falls to us to remove them. When the time comes, people are going to die. It'll suck. But if it were me, I'd sooner die sooner, accidentally, in a campaign to free my people, than die later, a victim of the status quo.

      • His support is either loyal or ambitious. His opposition is insignificant.

        This is an exceedingly bizarre claim. Nobody wants to live under an oppressive regime. Given the right circumstances, Saddam will have two choices—murder virtually his entire population, or step down from power. At that point, if he looks to be chosing the former, the nations of the world would have every right to move against him (but likely wouldn't have to, as his own people would get to him first).

        The question is, how do you get Iraq to that state?

        Oppressive regimes thrive in the dark. Send in human rights inspectors, aid workers, and engineers to rebuild the civilian infrastructure. Stop the utterly useless sanctions. Call upon the UN to support democratic movements within the nation, especially in the currently-ignored south. The nations of the world are likely to support all of these things, and it's unlikely that Saddam would have any ground to stand on in refusing.

        Helping the Iraqi people is the task; once that's accomplished, we've already won. When Iraq is crawling with the eyes and ears of the western world, Saddam will have become a dictator without arms or legs. He'll fall from power one way or another.

        • jlindquist says:

          Nobody wants to live under an oppressive regime.

          Of course not.

          But what are they going to do about it? What threat does the civilian population of Iraq pose to its leadership?

          How do you guarantee human rights inspectors won't be sandbagged as arms inspectors have been in the past? How do you guarantee the "rebuilt civilian infrastructure" will be used to benefit civilians? How do you ensure your "help" reaches the civilians it's intended to. As opposed to the food that's been shipped in there, which has somehow managed to largely not reach them?

          There are democratic movements left in Iraq? Which part of "dead or scared" didn't make sense?

          Or are you suggesting the attempt to send in all this aid, and when it's rejected or diverted, expecting international support for armed intervention form?

          • What threat does the civilian population of Iraq pose to its leadership?

            This is utterly nonsensical. Even tyrannical governments operate only to the degree the people allow it—the only reason they can continue to brutalize their populations is that the people have been conditioned, through fear, to believe they have no power to resist. What threat did Ghandhi pose to the English, the Danes to the Nazis? Again, unless the regime is willing to kill most of its civilian population, popular resistance will work. Even if Saddam doesn't step down willingly, the threat of popular revolt will likely be enough to cause his own government to throw him from power.

            How do you guarantee human rights inspectors won't be sandbagged as arms inspectors have been in the past?

            Except that arms inspectors have been successful, both now and in the past. Of course, Saddam hasn't always cooperated with inspectors—and the west, for that matter, hasn't been massively supportive until recently—but they have, believe it or not, gotten a lot done. (Also, it's harder to hide graves than it is to hide weapons—missiles don't have friends and families.)

            There are democratic movements left in Iraq?

            Not terribly surprisingly, yes, there are. There are even democratic provinces in the northern regions of the country. Where, notably, the West actually gave political and humanitarian aide to the Iraqi people as they rebelled against Saddam.

    • naturalborn says:

      and how did that turn out, incidentally?

      Terribly

      • So because peace in Afghanistan is no longer kept by an opressive authoritarian theocracy, the US military involvement is a failure? Yes, facism does keep the trains running on time and the opium trade cut off, nevermind that eliminating that facism was the goal of the US troops.

        No doubt if the US had immediately set up a military police state to restore order in place of the Taliban, the far left would cry 'imperialism'.

        • naturalborn says:

          We helped (stress on the help, it was mostly the locals) get rid of the Taliban, an oppressive theocracy, and it's since been replaced by a bunch of warring smaller wannabe theocracies with much active bloodshed. I don't see how that's an improvement.

  7. naturalborn says:

    Dan Savage's columns after 9/11 were mostly rambling along the lines of 'how could I write a real column at a time like this?'

    Apparently freak out and stop bothering to assess the situation carefully is his personal queenie-faggot-lefty approach.

  8. macguyver says:

    Nice try, tho (a) we assume tho we always screwed up installing leaders, we can somehow pull it off now (b) we forgot about afghanistan - regime change there meant what, exactly?