February 27th, 2003

fashionable

On McCarthyism

Lots of people are linking to this article in praise of McCarthyism over at the rightwing National Review. The rationale is that Senator McCarthy might have been on a witchhunt for communists and communist sympathizers, and might have ruined the lives of many, many innocent Americans, but that it was justified because there were actual spies in our midst. (Even if, in retrospect, we can see that McCarthy did nothing to stop any of these spies...)

The obvious reason why the rightwing of this country would openly embrace McCarthyism now is obvious -- it is because McCarthyism parallels and supports the Bush administration's policies regarding the War on Terrorism.

It's their way of indicating that they think that spying on our own people, targetting Arab organizations, and targeting those who oppose war is the right thing to do, as there are terrorists out there. They want a new witch hunt, even if those whose freedoms are violated almost invariably aren't the witches themselves.

This offends me deeply. It should offend any American. I would say that there should be laws against what we're doing in the name of this War on Terror, if there weren't already laws against it. A lot of what we are doing is in violation of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, after all... so why do we make it so easy for our leaders to play games and dismiss our most fundamental rights as a nation? It's really, really easy to give away a right, but it's very hard to get it back again. Why, in the name of freedom, have we embarked upon a course of paranoia, blind hatred, and national hysteria?

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, I guess...
fashionable

and yes...

I heard about it earlier this morning. It's too depressing to link to yet another news story about it, so I'll link to his website instead. He's still alive there, and the trolley is still on its way to the land of make believe...
fashionable

So, what's the justification going to be...

When Hans Blix goes to the UN and announces that Iraq has continued to make significant steps towards disarmament and has agreed to destroy their al-Samoud missiles?

It is a shame that they didn't agree to this before the British Parliament's meeting the other day, as it would have helped their case considerably, but still... it looks to me like there are at least two weeks (probably closer to three) before war, and the US and British moral position for war is being gradually eroded.

Frankly, this greatly increases the stakes for Blair, as it now seems highly unlikely that the US and the UK will be able to force a resolution through the UN that could be seen as backing military action. In order to pass such a resolution, the US would need about nine "yes" votes from the UN security council, but I doubt they could get that... other countries like France might not have to veto such a resolution, either. All they would have to do is vote "present", which would be a politically correct way of saying "Yes, we heard the US and British argument for war, but the inspections are still making progress, so let's discuss this matter later..."

With UN prospects looking uglier and uglier, talk of thousands of people flowing in to Iraq in the next month, either as part of the Human Shield mission or the Iraq Peace Team, and with another round of large protests on March 15th around the country, it seems to me that the Bush administration are going to wish that they got their troops into position far quicker than they did. They Bush administration might find the next few weeks of peace almost as distasteful as they'll find war...

And the "peace" afterwards won't be a picnic either once the truth gets out. Even as we speak, Iraq is being decended upon by independent observers, peace activists, and freelance reporters. This war may not immediately be televised, but it will be recorded by hundreds of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The typical restrictions that apply to the press camped out at the Al Rasheed in downtown Baghdad don't apply to these people, and some of the press are getting wise to this and starting to infiltrate the ranks of the peace activists. If the people of Iraq need more of anything right now, it is cameras, camcorders, and websites. Sooner or later, such technology just might make war obsolete.

If there are any democracies that the Bush administration are going to create, they just might create them by "backlash", and those democracies might be a whole lot more democratic (and less sympathetic to the US) than Bush would like. If the UN is ignored by the US, the other nations of the world will simply find other tactics to use to try to quell US' nationbuilding schemes until a new president comes into power. This does not bode well for our economy...