Sunday, November 19, 2006

When Blogs are Available, only Idiots will have Blogs

Much analysis of the Democratic victory in the media has broken down into a boring discussion about “What It Means.” One view is that is was a repudiation of the Abramoff scandal, and other misdeeds, such as marital infidelity, as much as it was a referendum on Iraq. Another says it was a referendum on Iraq.

I think it’s part of the pendulum of American politics, and can be explained with “throw the scoundrels out” interpretation of the voting electorate. Periodically, after one party has too much power, gives in to some of the easier abuses of said power, and is subsequently caught, the electorate votes vanilla instead of chocolate. And I don’t think America is a one party state functioning as a two party state, because anyone with taste buds knows there is a difference between chocolate and vanilla. It’s hardly a 31derful rainbow of flavor, but it is a difference. Until America has a system of proportional representation in Congress, there will always be only chocolate or vanilla.

But I digress from the ice cream analogy. You could view the Iraq war as an abuse of power as well, but I suppose I lean more towards the scandal explanation, simply because that’s what the exit polls indicated. Obviously, Iraq played a roll also.

As bad a decision as I think it was to invade Iraq, I’m not entirely convinced that the Democrat sponsored phased withdraw is the answer. One argument at the end of the first Iraq war for not chasing the Republican Guard to Bhagdad was that the removal of Saddam would leave a power vacuum, with next door neighbor Iran being the likely matter and force to fill it. Bad news for the region and bad news for us as well. Perhaps our absence in Iraq will lead to a mullah-controlled Iraq.

In counterpoint, the Vietnam analogy is popping up as well in this discussion. The domino theory was frequently invoked in the Vietnam War, that is, if we let Vietnam go pinko, then Japan and the rest of the region will fall next. This, of course, did not happen. And, it is said, the same could be true in Iraq. Communism was not the monolithic universal movement that it purported to be in its manifesto. The Russians and Chinese didn’t get along, and ultimately Vietnam had a good deal of differences with its neighbors as well. If we leave, it may not be the end of stability in the region.

Thus, people conclude, that pulling out of Iraq will not be as negative an event as feared. As my ice cream example probably demonstrated, argument by analogy is a dangerous thing, and usually makes the list of Logical Fallacies in Argumentative Writing courses. Vietnam may or may not be like Iraq.

So I have my concerns about leaving on a timetable.

At the same time, I don’t see any strategy that might achieve victory. The rumor about the Hamilton-Baker commission is that it will emphasize order over democratic concerns. Sounds like a return to the Moderately Repressive Regimes euphemism for the anti communism of the 1980s. Oh sure, Mobutu Sese Seku and Suharto tortured a few people, but they were conducive to our interests, and they weren’t no commies. I hoped we had left this kind of thinking with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In conclusion, I can conclude nothing of any certainty about the meaning of the Democratic victory, no proper policy for the U.S. in Iraq, and rereading my essay, can see that I have no useful analysis to add to the current political discussions. I’d also like to observe that the weather is cooling off, and people seem to be generally happy with Tony Romo as quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

Thank you.


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