In the post below, I linked to and discussed Billmon's The War Party. Now I see Steve Gilliard, a blogger of Democratic persuasion, has penned a clumsy rejoinder. Billmon needs no defense from the humble corners of Who Is IOZ?, but since Gilliard's post is illustrative of just how self-obsessedly irrelevant are Democrats and their so-called netroots, I'm going to take a moment to discuss his claims.
Gilliard begins by listing past examples of evitable nuclear confrontations that were, needless to say, successfully avoided. Leaving aside a current understanding of history that says the world was frightfully closer to nuclear war during the Cuban (American) Missile Crisis than anyone imagined due at least in part to a Kennedy behaving not unlike a contemporary Presidential Bush, Gilliard's conclusion seems curious: that since nuclear conflict has not happened, therefore it will not happen. Bear that in mind the next time Gilliard turns some stock phrase about Bush wasting money on Iraq instead of counterproliferation. Well, Steve, since Terrorists have never acquired the bomb, it's obvious they never will . . .
There are then some incoherent speculations about Iraqis rising up en masse and slaughtering all 130,000 odd American troops in the event of a nuclear attack on Tehran. This, presumably, is a deterrent to American use of "tactical" nuclear weapons, though it seems to presume more than it knows about the psyches of both the collective Iraqi people, whomever that is, and the collective American governing class, ditto. Also, the Saudi people will take over the oil fields. This is Gilliard "predicting to a letter" what will happen. Not, needless to say, the most sophisticated analysis, but written in words and sentences nonetheless.
Following this, a very, very odd utterance:
It's a lot more comforting to worry about a nuclear war with Iran than some 24 year old with his missing legs, but the reality is that the war mongers will be deflected or lead to a massive defeat and that problem with the VA isn't going anywhere.That anyone should find the prospect of global conflict precipitated by a nuclear exchange comforting, absolutely or relatively, is bizarre to say the least. It can only be "comforting" if, like Gilliard, you believe it to be an abstraction of an impossibility. But Billmon clearly does not, and neither do I, though I think the odds are longer than he does. In any event, the sentence itself makes no sense. It's ungrammatical. "[...][T]he reality is that the war mongers will be deflected or lead to a massive defeat and that problem with the VA isn't going anywhere." What does this mean? There are several different verb tenses at work.
That problem at the VA isn't going anywhere. Well, no shit it isn't! It isn't going anywhere because the Democratic party, supported by Gilliard and his ilk, continues to acquiesce (at best) to the foreign adventurism of their titular opponents across the aisle. As regards the Israeli-Lebanese conflict, they actively cheer while Israel bombards the civilian population of a helpless nation, destroying its meager government and armed forces, driving its people out of their homes by the hundreds of thousands, and occupying territory in a supposedly sovereign nation. So long as Democrats consent to sacrificing Gilliard's much-ballyhooed 24-year-olds to the war machine, the problems at the VA, the soldiers stepping in front of busses, the deployment-prompted divorces, and all the rest of the problems he cites as such grave threats to the health of the nation will not go away. So long as imperial wars are fought, imperial soldiers will suffer.
What Gilliard argues is a standard trope of the recent wartime politics of Democrats: We will do nothing to alter the underlying policies that make the United States the most hated and feared nation in the world, but by god, we will make sure that poverty never descends on any soldier who acted to implement that policy. Alice, your looking glass. In the middle of his ramble, Gilliard suggests that what we really need to alter the situation in Israel is . . . election finance reform! To borrow Billmon's phrasing: What are you, fucking nuts? This idea that if the deep-pocket Jews were just limited to smaller campaign contributions, then the US-fostered mess in the Middle East would get right as rain is insulting, preposterous, and juvenile. Electoralism is the curse of Democrats, and the real pox upon their house. I suspect that Gilliard honestly believes a wise foreign policy will flow from another elected Clinton. While not necessarily crazy, it's certainly fucking dumb.