So we are having an election between two candidates who both think going into Iraq when we did was just fine and dandy. One believes in magic thinking, as Freud called it – that his thoughts directly operate on the world. It helps that God, in the usual trinity shape – your Dad, Dick Cheney, and the holy ghost of CEO America – has spoken to you directly. One believes in complicated thinking—that is, he believes that you have to amass a bodyguard of excuses to justify hope being on the way as you carefully avoid making any commitment to any action whatsoever. One believes in the Coalition of the Willing, the other believes in the Coalition of the Unwilling -- that somehow other allies are going to take a look at the shark filled pool in Iraq and want to jump right in, given a sweet invitation with an RSVP attached. One asks the question, knowing what we know right now, would you have gone into Iraq, and the other answers yes, proving that Mutual Destruction is not only a theory of nuclear deterrence but an apt description of the Bush/Kerry contest.
Meanwhile, the polls show the majority of Americans would answer no. Those people don’t have a candidate.
What the war is about – what the mission accomplished – is glimpsed in this offhand report from the WP. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A61168-2004Aug12?language=printer The correspondent, who is obviously having an identity crisis (am I a war correspondent or a rodeo rider?) begins with a few macho references to 'dip', as though he'd been embedded in a baseball dugout. But he proceeds to describe, in detail that cannot be excrutiating enough, the senseless deaths of two American soldiers, one a boy of 19, the other a father, patrolling, for reasons that nobody understands, a region of Western Iraq that we had no business occupying, and that we are busy enacting our Pavlovian passive aggressive foreign policy on. Here's what happens -- a sniper kills one guy, a bomb kills another, and a town is searched for the sniper; an Iraqi military officer is consulted, and he unrolls the Allawi world vision -- shoot one person from each residence -- that has "same as the old boss' written all over it. It is evident, just from the description of the Iraqi young men that were forced to lie in the dirt with their hands behind their backs while soldiers broke locks on various shop doors, that another reason to hate America is being generated in this little affair. If there were any justice, the names of the guys -- Gunnery Sgt. Elia Fontecchio, 30, and Lance Cpl. Joseph Nice, 19 -- would be tatooed on Bush's butt.
But they won't be. There is no justice. This war shows, among other things, how far this country has drifted from having political mechanisms that are ultimately controlled by the people. The only thing the people can control are their tears, as they count up the losses and fight undignified battles with a government for a bare minimum of benefits.
And Kerry -- ready to report for duty Kerry -- would have said yes to this marriage to the bride of Frankenstein? I can't think of a sicker statement.