Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator

Oh, Lileks, you complete me

The Second World War, as has often been noted in this space, is the last war that everyone in America felt more or less morally comfortable about. This is why conservatives are constantly invoking it in order to tart up whatever bullshit war they want us to fight at the moment: if they say "Well, we want to knock off this third-world country in Southeast Asia so they don't go commie and rob us of a cheap labor pool", people are likely to wince a bit, but if they manage to find a way to compare it to WWII in terms of halting a monstrous evil before it eats our babies, well, then, boys, we can all rally 'round the flag. Hence the currently popular, albeit totally absurd, notion that our invasion of Iraq is exactly like WWII, except America has gone weak in the knees from decades of soft living and the creeping, womanly influence of liberalism. Today, our boy Jim-Jim, in the course of spelling out why the Baker Plan is a non-starter, regurgitates this notion in a particularly facile way:

It’s as if we invaded France and spent three years getting their government back on their feet before proceeding to Berlin.

Uh. Well, no, James, actually, it's not like that at all. First and most obviously, we are the occupiers of Iraq. We're really more like the Germans than the Americans in this scenario, because...well, remember all those movies you like to crow about, those moral-clarity pictures from the '40s and '50s about the Big One? Remember the French Resistance? That's the Iraqi insurgency. They're fighting to kick us out. When we showed up, the French were happy to see us and universally aided us throughout the rest of the war and beyond. That, to put it mildly, has not taken place in Iraq. For another thing, it was not difficult to reinstall a democratic government after we liberated France, because they already had one lying around that they'd been using up until the Nazis came sniffing around. Likewise with Germany: they had a pretty democratic system pre-Hitler. Neither of them were recently made-up countries invented by an imperial power with an aggregation of ethnic and religious entities unwillingly thrown together by their occupiers; neither had been built up militarily by the countries that would later invade them; and neither -- and here is the most important part -- was a fascist dictatorship for many, many decades prior to the initiation of hostilities. Additionally, we had plans -- extremely detailed plans, down to the minutest issue -- on how to rebuild Europe after the invasion, something sadly lacking in the American effort in Iraq; we had a country on wartime footing rather than one being constantly urged to rack up more debt; and we had the assistance of the entire continent of Europe in the rebuilding phase, an aspect missing now because Europe pretty uniformly thought that invading Iraq was a stupid idea. Moving on, I know you and yours like to pretend these days that Iraq or Syria or whatever are the real killers who murdered Ron and Nicole, and that Iraq was just a warmup for taking out Tehran, where all the 9/11 terrorists came from, but that begs a number of questions, such as why you never include Pakistan on that list or why we didn't just invade Iran and (especially) Syria to begin with. I had been led to believe that Saddam Hussein was the real villain here; and while I guess I can accept your ludicrously morphing rationales for why we invaded Iraq, there is no way in hell you can make me believe that this is exactly like when we invaded France in WWII.

He goes on to mock and deride the Baker Plan's suggestion of diplomatic efforts to democratize Iran and Syria, apparently forgetting that Iran and Syria were both democratizing and liberalizing pretty well with the aid of American diplomacy until we decided to stick them in the Axis of Evil and invade their region, thus galvanizing every radical for a thousand miles, putting their governments and citizens in a paranoid war mentality, and giving their worst leaders an excuse to roll back progressive legislation. Then there's a bunch of vapor about his old man, which ends with a photo of Lileks the Senior reading a newspaper from around the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Which, like another, more contemporary, adventure, is often referred to as a "fiasco".) Lileks conludes thus:

Ah. Yes. Well. The Bay of Pigs. Well, at least we learned our lesson. Talk strong and act irresolute , and the situation will resolve itself. Neatly and quickly. It's not like Cuba ever troubled us again.

Again: Uh...

It seems like Lileks is actually defending the Bay of Pigs invasion, which is so crazy I'm not even going to discuss it, but..."it's not like Cuba ever troubled us again"? He's clearly being sarcastic here, but I can't for the life of me figure out why. For one thing, Cuba never bothered us in the first place; Castro only went hardcore red to piss us off because we told him to get bent, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was much less about Castro than it was about the US and Russia playing big-dick with each other. But more to the point, did Cuba ever bother us again? Are they bothering us now? When, since 1963, has Cuba bothered us? Was there some big invasion that I didn't read about? Did Cuba launch a wave of terrorist attacks against us in the 1980s? Was Cuba sending arms to Hezbollah? I can't even imagine what this 'trouble' he's referring to, exacerbated by our limp-dicked 'diplomacy' and easily solvable by a nice robust invasion and occupation, might be. Does he mean simply that Cuba has had a dictator since then? Because I gotta tell you, there are a lot worse people than Castro. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were dictators only a few hundred miles away, in Central and South America, who made Castro look like Jerry Brown in terms of slaughtering and imprisoning their own people, and we not only didn't invade them, we put them in power. Does he mean that Castro was a commie, and no commies can ever be tolerated, no matter what the cost in human lives of not tolerating them might be? Because (a) that's nuts, and (b) that's the thinking that put dozens of bloodthirsty dictators (including Saddam Hussein) in power for so many years. I mean, help me out here. When did Cuba ever trouble us, except in 1980 when Castro got sick of us bugging him to release his political prisoners and said "Okay, you take them"? Am I missing something, or is it that in the world of Lileks, tiny hapless Cuba has constantly menaced American freedom for the last 50 years?
Tags: lileks watch, politics

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