Friday, July 01, 2005

Along came Molly 

Molly Ivins:
I am not "you liberals" or "you people on the left who always ..." My name is Molly Ivins, and I can speak for myself, thank you. I don't need Rush Limbaugh or Karl Rove to tell me what I believe.

Setting up a straw man, calling it liberal and then knocking it down has become a favorite form of "argument" for those on the right. Make some ridiculous claim about what "liberals" think, and then demonstrate how silly it is. Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and many other right-wing ravers never seem to get tired of this old game. If I had a nickel for every idiotic thing I've ever heard those on the right claim "liberals" believe, I'd be richer than Bill Gates.
Well, let this right-wing raver go past all the straw liberals and point out to what Molly Ivins actually believes - only a few paragraphs further down the same opinion piece:
I think we have... killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein ever did.
Really? More than all those dead Kurds of the Anfal Operation and the Shia of the '’91 uprising, more than all the other domestic opponents butchered over the years? And I'm not even counting the hundreds of thousands of lives wasted by Saddam in his two wars of aggression, and even more who denied food and medical treatment so that Saddam could make a political point about economic sanctions?

Yes, who needs straw liberals when you have real Molly Ivins. If I had a dime... Still Ivins has safely barricaded herself on the moral high ground:
I did not oppose the war because I like Saddam Hussein. I have been active in human rights work for 30 years, and I told you he was a miserable s.o.b. back in the '80s, when our government was sending him arms.
Thirty wasted years, obviously.

Well, Molly, I have a sneaking suspicion that our government also thought that Saddam was a miserable s.o.b. back in the '80s (a sentiment best encapsulated in Henry Kissinger's famous dictum about the Iraq-Iran war: "It's a pity both sides can't lose." In the end both I guess did, although not sufficiently).

But I do wish the liberals (straw and others) would at least be consistent and condemn the Roosevelt Administration for sending arms to Stalin during World war Two. Stalin, a butcher significantly more accomplished than Saddam, was one "our bastard" that the left doesn't seem to have too many problems with, but at least it's good to know that it recognizes the principle of the "lesser evil" - of course only when it's convenient. In fact, in both cases, when faced with an expansionist totalitarian creed (Nazism and radical Islam), we supported the other bastard (Stalin and Saddam) - mind you, in Saddam's case, American support such as it was, pales into insignificance next to support he received from the Arab world and Europe - only to have our bastard turn more troublesome later on.

As Daniel Kofman writes in his essay in "A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq" (reviewed here):
In the real world, those in positions of power - as opposed to those without influence who thereby have the luxury of frivolously adopting self-righteous postures while never having to pay the consequences of them - sometimes have to make compromises, supporting what seems at the time like lesser evils against greater threats.
As Kofman concludes: "Even if the Allies were soft on fascism in the thirties, that doesn't mean they shouldn't have fought it in the forties. On the contrary, if it was a moral error to have been soft on fascism in the thirties or to have sold arms to Saddam in the eighties, then, if anything, the agents of those errors have even stronger duties than would otherwise be the case to reverse the effects of the errors as soon as possible."

Too many on the left prefer to go on tolerating a wrong rather than to see it fixed by the right. And if you solve a problem, what are you going to hang around the right's neck?


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