12 October 2006

Tragic Arrogance and Stupidity

David Weinberger has two posts today that, juxtaposed in my RSS reader, struck me dumb. And not dumb in the sense of "... and Dumber" (that would characterize the characters that ultimately resulted in the posts), but dumb as in mute because of the stark shocking nature of what has been wrought. Here are the essential elements of the two:
A WSJ article reports that a John Hopkins study says that 600,000 Iraqis have died violently since the war started. That's 2,5% of the population that would have been alive if there were no conflict. Granted, they would have been living under the control of a homicidal dictator who Human Rights Watch estimates killed up to 290,000 people in twenty years. ...


So, now we see how well the Bush policy on North Korea has worked out. The world is a step-function more insecure, not only because North Korea is a nuclear-tipped loonocracy, but because it well may decide to arm stateless groups that cannot be deterred from nuking us.

Nice going, George.

This is the price you pay for being a stubborn jackass, um, I mean, standing by principles. The principle of not negotiating with bad guys has a pragmatic justification: Negotiating encourages others to adopt bad guy tactics. But, that means the no-negotiating principle is really dependent on the practicalities. Instead, Bush has been overpowered by its macho sound. When it comes to near-nuclear powers who have been begging for direct talks, standing by the principle as if it were an 11th Commandment, and refusing to recognize differences in different cases—"I don't do nuance"—results in criminally stupid policies.
Summing up, the U.S. under its so-called Commander-in-Chief has directly or indirectly killed nearly three times the number of Iraqis than did the dictator it deposed, in only a fraction of the time. So much for morality and ethicality. Further, it has made the world a significantly more dangerous place by fertilizing the spawning conditions for trans-national terrorism and encouraging the nuclear ambitions of one of the relatively few remaining madmen that still run countries. (I'm sure that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rubbing his hands with glee). And Hard Workin' George is still smirking, sending two distinct and diametrically opposite messages: that America is safer because they invaded Iraq, and that America is under increased threat because of the ever-present Terr'ists.

And the American mass newsmedia? Are they reporting on this tragic situation? How about the scandalously hackable voting machines that may yet win the day for Republicans, despite all the polls to the contrary? (After all, the only poll that counts is the one we can rig.) Nope. They're obsessed with the Foley Follies.

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