Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of The Cindy Sheehan Summer

Yeah, the polls are clear. Pick a poll, any poll. Toppling Saddam was a mistake, and Iraq is a quagmire. Not a surprising public sentiment. The Pew poll asked (11/3-6/05):

"A few weeks ago, Iraq held a nationwide vote on the country's constitution. How much have you heard about this: a lot, a little, or nothing at all?"

A Lot 22%
A Little 52%
Nothing At All 25%
Unsure 1%

Well, duh. That explains it. Terrell Owens' numbers are probably pretty close. Opinions are like...well, you know the rest.

Like Cindy Sheehan? Nah, I wouldn't compare her to one of those. She suffered, not only from the loss of her brave son, but apparently from a pre-existing psychological/political condition. But her effect was felt.


A tour of the lefty blogosphere (I do it, so you don't have to) tells us that since new darling Gen. Wesley Clark calls for pretty much Bush's status quo, more or less , the Cindy Sheehan summer (I shall always think of it as "The Cindy Sheehan Summer"---we should print T-shirts) revival of the glory days of Vietnam withdrawal protests are pretty much dead. Don't blame me, blame Wes Clark, OK?

(The music sucked anyway. Steve Earle played Camp Casey, but Woodstock had The Who and Jimi. Everyone, both then and now, was subjected to Joan Baez, tho. There is no protest without pain.)

Polls always lag, so I expect they'll catch up to Wes Clark soon and leave Cindy as just another fond memory, like Country Joe & The Fish or Al Gore.


So pretty much all that's left is "Bush lied."

John Podhoretz dutifully and nobly took it all on, once again, ad infinitum, ad nauseum in a well-researched article, with lots of quotes.

Not surprising that lefty mainstay Kevin Drum (he's considered the reasonable one) gets up in arms and unloads on it, although more with a snarl than a scalpel.

If the left loses "Bush lied," it's Game Over. Iraq will make its way somehow to a self-governing system, because without murderous tyrants, history is teaching us that that's what human beings tend to do.

And these al-Qaeda maniacs and their Ba'athist collaborators have shown themselves as the enemies of all humanity, just like their patrons bin Laden and Hussein, all smoked out for the world to see by the occupant of the White House for the next 3+ years.

(Personal Note: Our regular and welcome guests from the left do not harangue TRC with Iraq 24/7, and I for damn one appreciate it. I've opened the door here, so it's all fair game. I just had to write this essay, even knowing what might follow. If at least the initial salvo had something to do with Cindy, Wes, John, or Kevin, that would be cool. Cheers.)

21 comments:

James Elliott said...

I've always felt that Clark's criticisms mirrored my own - that is, largely procedural rather than political. I really don't have a problem with deposing Saddam Hussein, and I've always maintained that if Bush had just said, "We're going in there because Saddam's a giant douche and deserves to be destroyed," I'd have been cheering him on. I'll probably have more on the subject later, but I'm trying to respect your wishes.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Why, thanks, James. Your complimentary "Cindy Sheehan Summer" T-shirt is on its way.

James Elliott said...

Man, don't get me started on Cindy Sheehan. Sometimes I just don't think I'm tolerant of other people enough to be a good liberal. Fortunately, I like the sound of my voice too much to believe it.

connie deady said...

Tom, however much you might think I resemble Edmund Burke, my political roots are protest. I get weepy eyed at Joan Baez. I've actually been at a protest rally with joan (many years ago). And I love Cindy Sheehan. The fact that you all attack her so much only shows she got under some people's skin. All the world loves a mother.

I will trade you my Viggo painted "Support our Troops, Send them Home" T-Shift for your Cindy Sheehan one.

In all seriousness, though, I'm not sure your point. You know the pacifist in me opposed the war because I hate wars. But beyond that, "Bush lied" is a big deal. You don't enter wars lightly. People are dying for no reason, in fact, I remain convinced they died for a war that made the world less safe for America.

That's unacceptable to me.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I accept the tears for the victims of the war as sincere, but their deaths are at least in the hope of a better future for the Iraqi people and for the world as a whole.

Saddam's victims, the victims of the American-led sanctions, and the continuing victims of the Islamist and Ba'athist terrorists are far more numerous, and deserve our deepest concern because they were and are innocents, and because their suffering was useless, in the cause of nothing.

(Protest [or its peacetime equivalent, progress] is necessary and desirable. As long as one understands the nature of what already is. Babies should not be thrown out with bathwater, and the world should not start anew with every morning's newspaper. For one thing, it becomes tiresome questioning every day if there should even be a morning newspaper. There should.)

Tom Van Dyke said...

And yes, James, I hear you. I find the raised voice of a self-righteous progressive more pleasing than a self-righteous reactionary.

At least there's a chance I might hear something new. Rock on, mate. :-)

connie deady said...

I accept the tears for the victims of the war as sincere, but their deaths are at least in the hope of a better future for the Iraqi people and for the world as a whole.

A stupid and delusional hope is worse than doing nothing, Tom, if you make their situation and our ability as a world leader to truly change it, worse. That is what I fear we have done in Iraq.

And whether or not the delusion was only ours, or our leaders themselves were deluded, I'll leave to history to decide.

connie deady said...

BTW, I don't realistically expect we can bring our toops home at this point. In fact, I might even support McCain's idea of putting more in, but it would have to be based upon some reasonable goals for reductions, (NOT BY RUMSFELD) gutting the evil-doers out of the Pentagon and administration and working with the rest of the world to make it a cooperative free Iran effort, in this case from the terrorists.

But until we can sell the rest of the world on helping us, we'll just be the target for the Islamic terrorists. However, I think it's impossible for this adminisration to sell anyone on a truly joint effort.

I support the protest movements, because I believe they are necessary in effecting change, because we are failing miserably now and left unprotested, there would never be any effort to make it better.

Tom Van Dyke said...

That protests might make things worse is a thought so scary that protesters dare not entertain it, so they don't.

I envy their moral certainty that they are doing good. I myself have never experienced it.

connie deady said...

Oh please, don't deflect on protests. You want to defend an immoral war, at least use some logic. Attacking me is not a defense to the war and you know it.

I ask you this - and we can all agree Saddam is a bad guy. But if one approached the war back in 2002 as any good policy analyst would and said is the goal of toppling Saddam with 99% certainy of toppling him and a much lesser percent, say 50% certainty of putting a democratic, U.S. friendly government in Iraq worth the hundreds of billions of dollars and lives it is ultimately going to cost us (even assuming we get our 2nd goal)?

Alternatively, if we are willing to lose that many American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, was there something else we could have done that was a beter policy goal in terms of American interests and morally right? (like maybe actually capturing bin laden).

None of this even touches on whether we have actually made our American lives less safe by helping terrorist recruitment and increasing Islamic hatred of the U.S.

And yes, I do resent the tactic.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

You want to defend an immoral war, at least use some logic.

Why do you call the war immoral?

James Elliott said...

"You want to defend an immoral war, at least use some logic."

Why do you call the war immoral?


I think this is a fundamental divide between pro-war and anti-war ideologies. Peter Daou addresses it here. You may need to watch an ad or fill out a Salon day pass if you're interested in reading it.

But I will sum up. The anti-war movement is essentially composed of two elements: There are the pacifists, who are opposed to all war, and the "anti-this-war" opposition. Daou's point, which largely mirrors my opinions on the Right's arguments for this war, addresses this second group very well.

Essentially, the argument is this: War is such a brutal, destructive, and dangerous prospect for our soldiers, our opponents, and the civilians in the crossfire, that our leaders (and I refer to both sides of the aisle here) and the people who support them have a moral obligation to enter it with honesty of both purpose and intentions. The fact is, emerging and long-emerged information strongly bolsters the opinion that we were misled, that the war was perpetrated ineptly for spurious reasons and that the mendacity of the war's architects has led to countless deaths.

This is a moral failing. All the good results in the world after the fact are unintended if the very purpose of the war was flawed or, worse, an outright lie. No amount of freedom in Iraq justifies or excuses ineptitude, placing politics over prowess, and failure to be truthful.

So, yes, pulling out of Iraq now would be a moral failure eclipsing the war itself. But that does not mean we should fail to hold our leaders accountable for their immoral decisions.

Tom Van Dyke said...

But the subject of the original essay was protest, Connie, and now that even Wes Clark pronounces we should stay the course, the role of protest.

As for the rest, I can't see doing an autopsy when the patient isn't even dead yet.

(And yes, I know accusations of moral certainty make a liberal's head explode. Anything but that! But can protest do harm? As noted, a thought too scary to consider.)

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Thank you James.

I agree with most of what you have to say. I do have a problem, however, with the ex post facto application of the immoral label.

connie deady said...

Tom, sorry I didn't understand that the subject was protest, I thought it was a defense of the war in Iraq - I assumed these paragraphs were your central thesis - that it didn't matter if Bush lied, in that the war was justified and would result in a good outcome.

If the left loses "Bush lied," it's Game Over. Iraq will make its way somehow to a self-governing system, because without murderous tyrants, history is teaching us that that's what human beings tend to do.

And these al-Qaeda maniacs and their Ba'athist collaborators have shown themselves as the enemies of all humanity, just like their patrons bin Laden and Hussein, all smoked out for the world to see by the occupant of the White House for the next 3+ years.

connie deady said...

Oh, and if the thesis is "Bush lied is no biggie" I'll let Ariana Huffington do my talking (you'll notice I have this affection for liberal female columnists, that's what I really wanted to be when I grew up).

"In Dante's "Inferno," deceivers are sentenced to have their souls encased in flames, hypocrites are forced to wear a cloak weighted with lead, and those who use their powers of persuasion for insidious ends are doomed to suffer a continual fever so intense that their body sizzles and smokes like a steak tossed on a George Foreman grill. Maybe Satan will give Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby and their accomplices at the New York Times a three-afflictions-for-the-price-of-one deal.

There is nothing more immoral in the life of a nation than waging an unnecessary war -- which Iraq surely is. It is time for America to confront the terrible truth that we have allowed ourselves to be blinded to. And it is way past time for those that led us into that war, from the White House Iraq Group to Judy Miller and the New York Times, to be held accountable for their actions. "

Tom Van Dyke said...

I like your rants better than Ariana's, Connie. Please have mercy on us all and park her at the door.

connie deady said...

no other response than an attack on Ariana?

James Elliott said...

I believe Shakespeare's Beatrice summed Tom's response up best in Much Ado About Nothing, Connie:
"You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old."

connie deady said...

ahhhh, James, any man who quotes Shakespeare is the goods in my book. One of my great prides is that I instilled a love of Shakespeare in my daughter. Beatrice, is her favorite character. It is her life long ambition to play Beatrice. My favorite line - Oh that I were a man I would cut out your heart and eat it in the marketplace.

Stephen J. Herman said...

The Democrats, once again, have blundered the situation by overplaying their hand and taking things too far. You had the solitary Mrs. Sheehan against the weight of the Second Triumvirate of American Politics supported by the Rove Machine. The underdog. One voice. Then the Howard Deans and the Michael Moores and the Moveon.orgs move in, and set up camp, and Joan Baez is singing, and the Sean Hannitys and the Rush Limbaughs and the Bill O’Reillys of the world now have their fodder.

And yet: Who the hell are these people to criticize Cindy Sheehan?

The draft-dodgers and the oxycotin addicts and the sex addicts and harassers, from their air-conditioned high-rise studios, while playing golf and eating steaks and puffing on your fat cigars?

I don’t care if you agree or disagree with her politics. Or some of the statements she has made. You might think she is a complete kook. But keep your opinions to yourself.

She is the one paying the price for your war.

Have some respect, for God’s sake.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.