Sadly, Some People Buy This

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sadly, Some People Buy This

The General is having a bit of fun with Rep. Cathy McMorris. The Congresswoman's response to the General's initial inquiry--would she sponsor legislation raising the recruitment age to 45 and, once it passed, would she enlist (being below 45 herself)--was a boilerplate non-response.

What's particularly sad about the boilerplate is that Republicans probably wouldn't be sending out stuff that they didn't think at least some of their constituents would find impressive or persuasive. Yet McMorris is peddling nonsense that is either internally contradictory, long since debunked, coyly crafted to be misleading but not quite false, or some combination of the three. Examples:
If military action were not taken in Iraq, the potential threat to the United States would have increased greatly due to the precarious nature of Saddam Hussein's regime. This regime exhibited the ability to use chemical weapons as well as refusal to abandon programs that relate to these dangerous weapons.
So the regime that's there now is less precarious than Saddam's? And if Saddam was so precarious, why did it require an invasion to unseat him? Wouldn't he have fallen on his own? As for the "ability to use chemical weapons," it's either downright false or (if one generously interprets the statement to refer--illogically--not to the status quo when we invaded but to the situation in 1988) thoroughly disingenuous.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was essential on a couple of fronts: 1) transforming Iraq into a democracy that could serve as a model for the rest of the region; and 2) would prevent Iraq from becoming a safe-haven for terrorists.
Let's not quibble with the first point; concede that the jury's still out on whether Iraq will become a democracy and will serve as a model for the rest of the region. But putting that as item #1 is what Dubya calls revisionist history, especially on a list of reasons why the war was "essential" that omits the reason most strongly relied on at the time. As for #2, anyone who's been paying attention knows that there are a lot more terrorists in Iraq--included foreign terrorists--than there ever were under Saddam and that the supposed Saddam-al Qaeda link has been debunked.
In addition to the formation of the National Assembly, Iraq's security forces continue to grow stronger, and continue to persevere as they combat terrorist actions and threats. Also, hundreds of reconstruction projects are under way providing essential services like electricity and water throughout the country.
If the Iraqi army and police are growing stronger, no one (least of all the insurgents) seems to have noticed, and our own generals are telling us we're going to have to stay there in numbers for a long while because the Iraqis aren't going to be in any position to maintain security and order on their own. Reconstruction projects? Maybe it is literally true that hundreds are "under way," especially if "under way" includes "we've got plans to build a power plant there someday, once the insurgents lose the ability to kill any laborers who show up at the site." It's also literally true that Iraqi citizens have less electricity and water available to them now than they did before the invasion and that the situation has not been improving.

I believe in democracy. But that means, unfortunately, accepting the notion that if citizens don't look critically at elected officials' statements and actions, and if we reelect officials who dissemble, have no clue what's going on, or insult voters' intelligence, we deserve the government we end up with.

(By the way, McMorris's district is in a reddish part of a bluish state, namely eastern Washington).

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