Friday, August 25, 2006

Calls for Dresden redux

I hope I'm not wearing on everyone's patience, but I thought I'd point out yet another in the string of sabre-rattling pro-nuclear war columns we've seen recently. This one by Walter Williams doesn't really add anything to the mix that we haven't seen before--i.e. the dangers of appeasement, we couldn't have won WWII without atrocities, the pro-terror media is a Fifth Column, we in the West are too civilized and squeamish to eradicate thousands of Middle Eastern children with a nuclear furnace blast, etc. If anything it's almost a parody of the examples we've seen before from Podhoretz and Krauthammer. Glenn Greenwald has more here. However, I got to thinking, in a sort of John Stuart Mill-esque autobiographical way: "If these conservative commentators got what they wanted, and we successfully prodded Israel into destroying Syria, and if we wiped out Hezbollah and Lebanon with it, and if we nuked Iran--in other words, if they got exactly what they wanted to achieve--would we then be happy?"

Anyone who could be "happy" at such a series of events obviously checked his soul at the door years ago, but would we nonetheless be secure? What would our military strikes even look like? Do these commentators want them carried out tomorrow? After six months of planning? What groups would rush in to fill the power vacuums in these nations? Do we seriously think we could support three or four puppet and/or favorable regimes at once? Would we be content to leave these places nuclear wastelands? Provide aid afterwards (no doubt with lucrative no-bid contracts for American corporations)? I suppose the main purpose of this concerted effort by pundits is not to provide strategic planning but to create an environment favorable to immediate action, or to prod the Bush administration sufficiently towards attack. Can they do this? Does Dick Cheney give two shits about what Walter Williams thinks? What Bill Kristol thinks? (Now we're getting warmer.) I just don't understand. I understand if these people want to get on private blogs and chitter all day about torturing swarthy foreigners and bringing their military erections to climax. It's so terribly unexciting though. Anyone can do it. We at the Huffy Crew could churn out a column a day about turning much of the rest of the world into a smoldering crater, given the proper combination of Hitler comparisons, Spenglerian decline-of-the-West rhetoric, and nuclear holocaust jouissance. It's like the Postmodern Essay Generator. (Similarly, I could can my own feces and call it art, but I digress.) But they're not private blog writers, they're paid employees of the Weekly Standard, National Review, et al. In other words, they're on salary for sublimating their fantasies and are under no obligation whatsoever to think through their arguments. It is quite possible they do less work than a lowly museum gift shop employee.

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