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October 31, 2006

Who Ya Gonna Hate?

Mario Loyola:

It is the almost insane hatred one sees in our enemies that has most horrified me since September 11, 2001. I have written elsewhere that militant Islam is suicide terrorism as social contract – they are willing to destroy their entire societies in order to strike their enemy. But Orwell's column makes me realize that the Islamist movement is also a spiritual and moral suicide blah blah blah....

You know what's horrified me the most since 2001? The almost insane hatred exhibited in my countrymen. We'll beat the "Islamofascists," or bin Laden, or Hussein, or whoever we're worried about this week. But the blithe pundits suggesting that "[e]very ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business?" The Hitchens, Sullivans, and Mario Loyolas of the world resurrecting George Orwell in order to recast their enemies as existential, ideological threats and themselves from writers to warriors? The vast swath of the country willing to embrace torture and domestic surveillance? I don't know how we beat that lust for war, for bloodshed, for danger, for enemies abroad and at home. Nor the domestic mindset that emerges from it.

October 31, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Yup. The slow turn to explicit racism on the foreign policy right over the last two years was in some ways inevitable. For a while they could go all Hitchens and pretend that it was all for the hard-minded Orwellian good.

But as the war has (pretty much inevitably) dragged on into one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory, this anger has turned upon "the sickness in hte Arab world" and often just upon the Arabs or Muslims (no one really differentiates) who didn't greet their occupiers with open arms.

Posted by: DivGuy | Oct 31, 2006 9:43:03 AM

Hitchens, I'll note, has almost entirely avoided this pitfall. The only way he's been able to do so, though, while remaining as pro-war as ever, is by ignoring all evidence of reality. I do prefer that to creeping Derbyshirism, I guess.

Posted by: DivGuy | Oct 31, 2006 9:44:44 AM

That opinion piece was just...wow. I mean...wow. What a mindset. I think my favorite part was this:

Second, no soldier dies in vain who goes to war by virtue of the Constitution he swears to defend. This willingness is called "duty," and it is a price of admission into the highest calling of any free nation--the profession of arms. We have suffered more than 2,300 combat deaths in Iraq so far. Not one was in vain. Not one.

It turns out that since soldiers are duty-bound to obey the President, they can never die in vain. If Bill Clinton had decided to invade the Netherlands, if FDR had sent our soldiers to the beaches of Normandy armed with sporks, if Jimmy Carter had decided to have the Army fight the Navy just to see what happens. Not a single death in vain. Not one.

Could there possibly be a more perverse interpretation of duty? Meet our nation's leaders, folks: bloodthirsty, mindless, and utterly and completely devoted to what sounds good no matter how obviously wrong it might be.

Posted by: Victor Freeh | Oct 31, 2006 9:53:26 AM

It turns out that since soldiers are duty-bound to obey the President, they can never die in vain. If Bill Clinton had decided to invade the Netherlands, if FDR had sent our soldiers to the beaches of Normandy armed with sporks, if Jimmy Carter had decided to have the Army fight the Navy just to see what happens. Not a single death in vain. Not one.

Like so many others who have talked up the glorious office of the president over the last six years, there is no way that this former speechwriter to Bush would apply these words and sentiments to Clinton, Carter, or even FDR (unless he is trying to hijack FDR's legacy and turn him into a modern Republican). This article is about the cult of personality surrounding Bush, and I'm glad to see it. The longer the cult stays around among diehard loyalists and party hacks, the better it gets for the Democrats willing to disentangle themselves from the Bush admin's web of lies, incompetence and corruption.

Posted by: Stephen | Oct 31, 2006 10:12:27 AM

This touches on something that really annoys me about some of the self-described 'Conservatives' I know. For some reason they think "Arab" or "Muslim" means a certain look. What is really pathetic is that they have met plenty of "white looking", and other racial featured people who are either Arab, Muslim or both.

Then again, these tend to be 'Conservatives' who think Reagan came up with the "windfall profits tax" and want "big oil" destroyed too.

Seems that National Socialism comes with a strict set of rules that are invisibly, but rigidly, linked.

Posted by: Guy Montag | Oct 31, 2006 10:25:05 AM

I have been telling ya for years about this strain in American Politics and sociology. The enemy is irrelevant, they will find one or create one. They are too many to ignore, probably 25-30 percent. You can't really change them, if they get into an isolationist mood, you get stuff like the KKK in the 20s.

They eat and breathe hate.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 31, 2006 10:41:17 AM

You know what's horrified me the most since 2001? The almost insane hatred exhibited in my countrymen.

That's pretty amazing. The unprovoked attack on the WTC resulting in the wholesale slaughter of almost 3,000 innocent civilians didn't even make it to the top of your list. Instead, you cite a natural reaction to an enemy that has declared a religious war on the modern world.

And your ability to do that is what horrifies me.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 31, 2006 11:07:16 AM

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 31, 2006 8:07:16 AM That's pretty amazing. The unprovoked attack on the WTC resulting in the wholesale slaughter of almost 3,000 innocent civilians didn't even make it to the top of your list. Instead, you cite a natural reaction to an enemy that has declared a religious war on the modern world.

Of course, some would argue that the WTC seems to have been primarily the result of an willingness to believe the "wag the dog" talking point and consequent unwillingness to set the proper priority on preventing a terrorist strike in the US. While the event provokes grief, that then leads into rage at those who couldn't be bothered to protect us.

Indeed, it could be argued that since the purpose of the act was to terrify us, we are refusing to submit to the enemy strategy when we refuse to be terrified, and instead focus on actually catching the bad guys.

However, after getting back to the US, I must starting to catch a late case of 9-11 fever, because it horrifies me that many on the radical right seem more than happy to sabotage the battle for the hearts and minds of the Islamic world, simply because in the American political landscape it is easier to tar all Muslims as if were supporters of false jihadism. The fact that this simplifies recruitment of false jihadists is of no concern to them, either because they truly believe in a "you are either with us or against us, and if you are in the middle we're better off driving you into the arms of the enemy" world, or because they do not mind the prospect of a rising tide of terror as an issue with which to scare the voters.

Posted by: BruceMcF | Oct 31, 2006 11:44:58 AM

"That's pretty amazing. The unprovoked attack on the WTC resulting in the wholesale slaughter of almost 3,000 innocent civilians didn't even make it to the top of your list. "

Maybe, just maybe, because it didn't happen since 2001, it happened in 2001. Ezra was quite obviously talking about what has horrified him since 9/11.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Oct 31, 2006 12:01:13 PM

To summarize Fred's argument: "I remember 9/11. I just don't remember when it happened."

Posted by: PapaJijo | Oct 31, 2006 12:18:07 PM

Indeed, it could be argued that since the purpose of the act was to terrify us, we are refusing to submit to the enemy strategy when we refuse to be terrified, and instead focus on actually catching the bad guys.

I think a major part of the enemy's strategy was also to disrupt the ecnonomy, kill as many American citizens as possible, etc. as well as terrorize. That is why the WTC was chosen as a target.

The second part of your statement is the failed policy of treating these ongoing attacks against the US as simple criminal cases. This is an organized movement, a war, against the US. Don't believe me? Just ask those who attack us!
Until that is understood, we will forever be at a disadvantage.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 31, 2006 12:19:13 PM

Then again, these tend to be 'Conservatives' who think Reagan came up with the "windfall profits tax" and want "big oil" destroyed too.

In which Montag happily conflates the bigotry built into the Republican Party's base with economic positions that he hates, in the hopes of further conflating the estate tax with the Holocaust, a la Grover Norquist. Any time now, he'll be reminding everyone that Nazi had the word "socialist" in it, and therefore, progressive taxation is a sign of incipient fascism.

Montag started out as a fairly standard schmibertarian troll, but has obviously peeled off the mask and is diving into world class Jonah Goldberg wingnuttery.

Posted by: paperwight | Oct 31, 2006 12:19:46 PM

"Montag started out as a fairly standard schmibertarian troll, but has obviously peeled off the mask and is diving into world class Jonah Goldberg wingnuttery." God knows I never thought I'd be jumping up to defend Jonah Goldberg, but he has never written anything as obviously deranged as this in his life. Jonah's just wrong, he's not nuts

Posted by: Paul Gottlieb | Oct 31, 2006 12:23:41 PM

My next door neighbor and his wife declared war on me. This is an organized movement, a war, against me and my property. Don't believe me? Just ask my neighbor!

Posted by: Adrock | Oct 31, 2006 12:46:35 PM

I'm willing to accept that 20-30% of the population get's off on hated of 'the other'.

The question is why and how we have given them the voice and power to make our policy and party/wholly control our political, economic and moral leadership.

I think a good part of the answer is related to the discussion in a thread below on Galbraith's view on countervailing powers.

Everything is now for sale, and the highest bidders are almost always the aggregated fist of corporate power coupled with religious extremism made possible by media control.

The corporatists and religious dominionists have a voice amplified by interlocking interests and mutual support - unhampered by majority rule which is thwarted by these same forces.

France, now into its 'Fifth Republic', maybe partly shows the way. Perhaps our Constitution is no longer up to the challenges of a 21st century world, and we need a new compact that restores the original vision by limits and controls that address our current situation. For instance, nowhere in the Constitution does the word 'corporation' appear. Is it wise to make a corporation the legal equivalent of a person? Why does money equal free speech? How did the the rather humble role of George Washington as 'commander in chief' (unable to get support for his troops from the continental congress) evolve into the 'unitary executive' who is commander in chief not just of the military forces but of the American people as well?

We need a re-wind. The road to Orwell's 1984 wasn't very visible in America's 1984, but it sure is today.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Oct 31, 2006 12:47:56 PM

Fred Jones is totally right. And the advantage to the terrorists is growing every day. Al qaeda spent maybe 5 whole million dollars last year, and the U.S.? In denial as always, we spent merely 930 billion dollars. I fear for our children.
...

There is a simpler explanation re the belligeranti, like Loyola, the who seem to cluster near D.C., and that is that George Bush has been the best president D.C. has ever had. The money pumped out by the war machine has now amply flowed into the complex of think tanks, military 'consultancies', high tech startups, and the traditional military-petrochemical complex that has given the Capital the hottest economy in the country. L.A. media is as unlikely to diss movies as D.C. media is to diss war. War is their bread and butter. And it is not just D.C., of course - the traditional use of the Pentagon as a welfare system for engineers has long cemented the white college educated male's fondness for the Republicans, who can see the tie between hyper-aggressiveness and their own economic well being quite well. Part of the paradox of America's war culture is that the larger it gets, the less competent Americans are at fighting wars - because fighting wars is really not an economic multiplier, the way fighting imaginary wars - in space, for instance, or with robot soldiers - is. The acme of American military incompetence is the Star Wars defense system, still ticking, still absolutely useless, still employing thousands, still profitable. And that combo of incompetence and aggression now reigns in D.C., and rings the bells that make such as Mr. Fred Jones salivate.

His kind, of course, have no hesitancy in finding it patriotic to be ueberloyal to an administration that lost the war in Iraq, lost the moment to capture of kill Osama bin Laden, and is steadily losing Afghanistan to the Taliban. All such losses, in their psychopathology, are made up for by the sexual high of hating the way liberals love the terrorists.

Posted by: roger | Oct 31, 2006 12:59:16 PM

For instance, nowhere in the Constitution does the word 'corporation' appear. Is it wise to make a corporation the legal equivalent of a person?

Hey, I'm with you on this. The courts have made the decision. It's part of the "Living Document" that is lauded by the left when it's convenient. Ya' know, that living, breathing piece of paper that really doesn't mean what it actually says.

And while you are at it, tell us where it says anything about abortion in there.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 31, 2006 1:04:08 PM

...lost the war in Iraq, lost the moment to capture of kill Osama bin Laden, and is steadily losing Afghanistan to the Taliban.

Actually, the war is lost here by the constraints by people like you. I would like to win, and do whatever it takes.....whatever it takes. You are not willing to make that statement.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 31, 2006 1:06:49 PM

Mr. Jones, I didn't know I was on Rumsfeld's shoulder when he decided not to bomb the trail going from Tora Bora to Pakistan, even though the army had evidences from heat sensors that campfires were being lit there. The reason? The Pentagon claimed to think these were "shepherds." In the middle of winter, at 10,000 feet.

Wow - could it just be that preserving a terrorist threat preserved the Pentagon's lets spend us into permanent debt and invade Iraq plan? Or is it just that Bush and his advisors are permanently brain dead?

Dream your little dream, buddy. Your incompetent team has put America in a deep hole when it had control of every division of government, and the moment is gone when America can reassert itself. But you can wave your little pennant and go, hey, I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Wow. That's so tough! Of course, in real terms, that cashes out to precisely zip. As we've seen, every act of fraud and folly committed by the Bush administration has been greeted by hossanahs by the supposedly "tough" hawks. This is like inveighing against drunk driving while pouring shots for the designated driver. When you enable losing behavior, you become, yourself, an agent of that loss - and all the win win win the war rhetoric is a bunch of hokum, committing you to nothing, and designed to disguise the criminal negligence of an administration that lost the war it shouldn't have started in the first place, and has done its best to lose the war that was necessary to wage against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Who lost the war against terrorism? Bush did.

Posted by: roger | Oct 31, 2006 1:35:18 PM

whatever it takes. You are not willing to make that statement.

Read your Hobbes and get back to us if you still believe this, Fred.

Posted by: Pooh | Oct 31, 2006 1:47:48 PM

are we destined to continue to fight this period of time in history for the next 30 years much in the same way as we fought the Vietnam era for the previous 30? Will people continue to use the same frames long after the warriors on both side are dead and gone, and the symbolism has lost its meaning? Just curious

Posted by: akaison | Oct 31, 2006 1:49:37 PM

Actually, the war is lost here by the constraints by people like you. I would like to win, and do whatever it takes.....whatever it takes. You are not willing to make that statement.

So why the hell are you banging out comments on a blog? I guess that in your world, "whatever it takes" is a synonym for "pour me another soda". What the fuck's keeping you from visiting the local army recruiter?

Big, bad words, little strutting wannabe Patton.

Posted by: sglover | Oct 31, 2006 2:49:37 PM

I think most people like to hate some group or other. Don't hate Muslims? That's good. You probably don't see Muslims as your enemy. How about libertarians, religious conservatives, Republicans, moderate Democrats, Bush supporters? Most people hate those they see as their enemies, especially the most implacable ones.

Posted by: Sanpete | Oct 31, 2006 2:56:31 PM

Fred, usually when someone makes a remark about doing what it takes, the liberal response is to say join the army. I think that's dumb - I don't think you ought to die.

But I do think you ought to put your money where your mouth is. If you really feel that way, comment at rightwing sites, or talk to your buddies, and call your side on its bullshit. In six years, there has been one military disaster after another. The administration only pays attention to its base - which you are presumably part of. And that base - a base that is serious enough about, say, football to boo a coach who wastes his resources and continually loses - is frivolous enough not to hold your leadership responsible for anything.

Of course, there is a little embarrassment factor. People might call you names - like liberal or dumbocrat or something. But that is the little thing you can do. Take responsibility. Demand responsibility. Bring up deep questions about obviously stupid strategies. It won't help win the Iraq war - your side lost that for good - but it might make a difference in Afghanistan.

I don't think you will do it. I don't think you have any intention of doing what it takes. After six years of watching rightwingers enable and coddle losers, crooks, and the competency challenged, I don't really think you care about winning. You care about yelling mottos. It is all mouth and b.s.

But on the off chance you actually are serious, you can start right away, with minimal cost. You can even start with the recent news that the army has been arming a police force that army intelligence claims is 70 percent militia with weapons the army can't even trace -- they don't even record the serial numbers. Call in and ask Rush about it. Be prepared to yell.

Posted by: roger | Oct 31, 2006 3:18:23 PM

Fred, usually when someone makes a remark about doing what it takes, the liberal response is to say join the army. I think that's dumb - I don't think you ought to die.

Why's it dumb? Clowns like Fred have been doing bad Churchill imitations for better than three years now. It's long past time for them to put up or shut up. Besides, I'm a vet (a distinctly nonheroic one), and I'm sick to death of History Channel-educated yahoos talking tough and acting like coddled pussies. It's time to call a chickenhawk a chickenhawk. If they want to get taken seriously -- especially when they spew shit about "I'll do whatever it takes" -- they need to behave seriously.

Posted by: sglover | Oct 31, 2006 3:32:15 PM

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