Friday, December 29, 2006

Carpe diem

Hugo Chavez announces that he will shut down the opposition tv station, which he calls “coup-ist” (Chavez was for coups before he was against them). Again I ask, will the American left stop hero-worshipping this guy?

Holy Joe Lieberman has an op-ed piece in the called “Why We Need More Troops in Iraq” in the WaPo, which describes him as “an Independent Democratic senator.” He doesn’t say who the “we” is who needs troops. He also doesn’t mention his previous predictions that the number of troops would be reduced by now. Maybe it’s me, but I think when you completely reverse your position, you need to explain why if you’re to have any credibility. Instead, he continues to treat his hopes as facts, asserting, for example, that “an increase that will at last allow us to establish security throughout the Iraqi capital,” without explaining how that would work.

Joe fetishizes “security,” a word he uses seven times. Establishing security, he says, “will open possibilities for compromise and cooperation on the Iraqi political front.” Yes, everyone wants to be bipartisan centrist compromisers, given the chance. Remember the line in Full Metal Jacket: “inside every gook there’s an American waiting to come out”? Lieberman thinks inside every Iraqi there’s a Joe Lieberman waiting to come out, given enough, you know, security.

During his recent trip to the region, he says, “I saw firsthand evidence in Iraq of the development of a multiethnic, moderate coalition against the extremists of al-Qaeda and against the Mahdi Army”. He doesn’t say what that firsthand evidence was; I suppose we just have to take his word for it. I’m guessing he met one guy who told him what he wanted to hear, since that’s the standard of evidence elsewhere in the piece: he mentions “one moderate Palestinian leader” who told him that the US should stay in Iraq, and one American colonel who followed him out of a meeting and told him privately that the soldiers under him really want to “finish this fight” and know they can win it. So it must be true. If Joe threw in a cab driver, it could be a Tom Friedman article.

The real winners if we don’t surge, he says repeatedly, are Iran and Al Qaida, which he implies are on the same side, which is the pro-civil war side, I guess. Matt Browner-Hamlin (who has a good take-down on Joementum’s article I saw half-way through writing this; I’ve tried to avoid overlap) points out that Joe forgets about the Sunnis altogether.

It wouldn’t be a Joe Lieberman essay if he didn’t impugn the motives and strength of characters of people who disagree with him: “In Iraq today we have a responsibility to do what is strategically and morally right for our nation over the long term -- not what appears easier in the short term. ... Rather than engaging in hand-wringing, carping or calls for withdrawal, we must summon the vision, will and courage to take the difficult and decisive steps needed for success and, yes, victory in Iraq.” Joe likes to talk a lot about his ability to get along with people, but he means other warmongering neo-cons; everyone else is carping and taking the easy way out, and lacks vision, will and courage. But really, if we’re talking about carping...

Separated at birth?

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