Conor Friedersdorf discovers Howard Dean, the Democratic Doctor Bartolow, praising The Obama for waging war more secretively than the Kennebunkport Kowboy who preceded him:
He's praising drone strikes and special ops because they're less likely to attract the scrutiny and criticism from American citizens. It's a position one doesn't expect a prominent Iraq war dissenter to take -- you'd think he of all people would understand that it's vital for the American public to scrutinize the foreign policy decisions of its leaders regardless of the political party in power.Other than the ritual genuflection in the direction of bogus concepts like "legitimacy" and "the rule of law," this is pretty solid for someone who writes for The Atlantic, but as usual it only flirts with the true truth before leaving the bar without getting a phone number. There are no partisan politicians. There are no parties. The Democratic Party no more housed an anti-war movement à propos Iraq than the Republican Party toward Libya. These little tactical passion plays of ostensibly partisan opposition are the holy fucking communion of the Undivided Church of the American Deathmachine; crunch crunch crunch go the congregants, but that shit is still just a cracker; the blood is cheap wine; YOUR GOD LAUGHS AT YOU HAHAHAHA! Crunch crunch crunch goes your god. Yummy Arabians.
Nor does one expect a man who says legitimacy comes from the rule of law, and that credibility comes from truth-telling, to advocate on behalf of a war waged in violation of the War Powers Act and the United States Constitution; one that featured a president insisting that, despite the bombing sorties and drone strikes, we weren't actually at war or even engaged in hostilities.
What happened to the importance of leveling with Americans?
And what became of the American anti-war movement? I'll tell you. It was housed in the Democratic Party, and then a Democrat got elected to the presidency. Obama violates core principles articulated by former anti-war voices, and he isn't just permitted to do so without resistance, he is actively praised for his savvy! Meanwhile, Obama is actively trying to strike a deal that keeps U.S. troops in Iraq beyond 2011, and no one seems to care about that reversal either.
What is it good for?
Partisan politicians, who exploit it regardless.
America has an institutional commitment to warmaking; the idea that some sort of fundamental value of our civilization is traduced each time an aspirin factory suffers our righteous fury is part of the same fallacy that keeps libertarian originalists up all night scrolling through the Constitution at the computer in the basement while the wife sleeps upstairs, unaware of the depredations conducted in the dim blue light below. War is the moral order of America; not the fucking New Deal; certainly not some bullshit constitution. It does not belong to one party or other; nor yet is it passed, like a relay baton or an underaged hooker, from party to party in turn; there are no parties; there is only the one party of death.
And interestingly it is often the crackpots who occupy the faux fringes of the phony party system-scam who come closer to recognizing this--you get a human paraquat like Oliver Willis, a reliable hack if ever there was one, waving his hands and screaming that no one is actually anti-war:
The only military action of the last 20 years I have seriously opposed was the invasion and occupation of Iraq, because it never made any sense.But the rest of the aerial bombardment, that's cool, man. Willis says Iraq was stupid and that's the real problem, stupidity. Killing is fine if accomplished cleverly. This circles back to the very Howard Deanism that got the whole thing started; war becomes morally dubious to these people only when it is insufficiently circumspect. That is like the most fundamental Democratic value, apparently; all is permissible if practiced politely.
Does the war in Afghanistan make more sense than the war in Kosovo than Operation Infinite Reach than Iraq than Libya than Yemen than whatever? Upon what grim calculus would such determination apply? Would you feed your child the better-labeled poison? I do not even admit to the occasional necessity of war, but even if I did, war would nevertheless and perhaps even more so always, always be wrong, always a failure, always a crime. If Hitler himself arises from the grave tomorrow and directs an immense army against all the other peoples of the world, we are nevertheless obliged not simply to lament the necessity of fighting him, but to atone for it. If necessity may sometimes suspend temporarily that which is actually right and just, it never abrogates it. And in any case, this is not the case. Hitler has not risen from his grave; our victims are no less human than we are; "those loyal to Qaddafi" are also people; it is not our place to determine that the average "Taliban fighter" deserves to die, less yet to go out and kill him. And for some fat, ignorant, lazy, volunteer PR rep to wipe the crumbs from his fingers and boldly parse out the "stupidity" of the "only military action of the last 20 years" that he has "seriously opposed" is wholly despicable. Whose titanic self-regard permits him to pronounce the exigent need for a bunch of people to die? What cankerous manatee occupies the piss-flooded moral trough wherein snuffing out life is just a minor accoutrement to the important business of eating the diarrhea of politicians who do not even know that you're alive? What man-shaped pustule arises from such coprophilic recumbency to offer disquisitions on the demerits of those people who speak even modestly in opposition to the machinery of death? Is there a lower order of creature on this once-lovely earth than that person who believes that qualified support of the insupportable is a righteous cause?