Speaking of brain impairment, check out Jonah Goldberg’s latest column.
I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.
Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation.
I thought that Iraq had an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. His name was Saddam Hussein. We deposed him, allegedly for being brutal and gassing his own people and such. But if Pinochet is our model, then the brutality part was not the real problem. I guess we deposed Saddam Hussein because he was bad for business. Or maybe he wasn’t Latino.
Anyway, Goldberg doesn’t want Saddam Hussein back …
But these days, there’s a newfound love for precisely this sort of realpolitik. Consider Jonathan Chait, who recently floated a Swiftian proposal
I thought Chait’s column was stupid, but “Swiftian” is a key word here.
that we put Saddam Hussein back in power in Iraq because, given his track record of maintaining stability and recognizing how terrible things could get in Iraq, Hussein might actually represent the least-bad option. Even discounting his sarcasm, this was morally myopic.
No, dear, it was “Swiftian.” That puts it closer to satire, or maybe caricature, than to mere sarcasm. What I am writing right now is sarcasm, but not satire or caricature.
But it seems to me, if you can contemplate reinstalling a Hussein, you’d count yourself lucky to have a Pinochet.
Yes, child, but you’re (note example of sarcasm) a bleeping idiot. Your argument is that Pinochet didn’t kill as many people as Castro; therefore, he wasn’t so bad. Moral relativism, sir?
Apparently the Right has been playing this Castro v. Pinochet game for the past several days. Hey, I can play that game, too — Mao killed a lot more people than Hitler; therefore, Hitler wasn’t so bad. So would Iraq be better off with Hitler? Hitler killed a lot more people than Saddam Hussein, after all. I guess Saddam Hussein want so bad, by Goldberg’s reasoning.
The BooMan explains it all, with sarcasm:
See, contrary to your prejudices, all serious, patriotic, and informed conservative thought revolves around nuance. You see, Pinochet displaced a duly elected official and imposed a brutal dictatorship. Saddam replaced a brutal dictatorship with an even more brutal dictatorship. Therefore, Saddam is worse and unfit for a restoration. That would be morally myopic. But if we could find a guy just a little less brutal and a lot more business friendly, then that would be excellent. …
… But what if unfrozen-reanimated-Iraqi-Pinochet-man found that he couldn’t stabilize Iraq without being every bit the son-of-a-bitch Saddam was? Well? Shit, I guess putting Saddam back in power wouldn’t have been that myopic after all.
I mean, if numbers are all that matters, according to this chart Augusto Pinochet was responsible for more deaths than our old nemesis, the late Al Zarqawi. I guess that means Al Zarqawi wasn’t so bad.
Jonahs point was not really about Iraq- it was about the perpetural boogyman of the right…”the LEFT”. Predictably, Iraq and the lives of Iraqis are just the setting for scoring a point about Western idealogical opponents.
What morally myopic morons these conservative writers be.
eeeeyuuuucK! What’s with these folks? Too much practicing of pretzel twisted logic to ‘explain’ our own torturing deaths-knell President? Maybe Jonas, et al, just did one too many morality u-turns and, limping with broken integrity, backed right off a cliff.
wait a minute– if I follow this argument correctly, then shouldn’t we replace George W. Bush with Saddam Hussein?
You could even give Saddam “credits” for all the Iranian soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war, subtracting those casualties from his Iraqi/Kurdish total. After all, that was evidently a “good” war partly fought with our encouragement.
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Why spend your energy on the likes of Goldberg? I don’t read him; I don’t want to know about him; I dislike seeing him, and his likes, given print. I don’t usually stop when bloggers are discussing what the right-wingers have to say, but I’m just so tired of it.
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Jonah is on my list of People whom, if I ever meet in person, I will be forced to bitch-slap
Goldberg’s dumb column is further evidence as what passes for “debate” at the L.A. Times editorial page. Instead of hiring an intelligent conservative writer, the businessmen at the Tribune Co. (which owns the LAT) confirm the prejudices of their largely liberal readers by getting Lucianne G.’s son as its token “conservative.” And in the meantime the Times’ op-ed page continues to be seen as a joke.
Could somebody say a kind word for our old friend Henry Kissinger? Why Henry unleashed more tonnage in bombs and inflicted more terror than Pinochet or Castro combined. Compared to Henry they were both pikers.
I am not defending the moron who wants to bring on a despot to clean up Iraq. My fondest wish is for a settlement in the Iraq conflict. It’s unbelevably tragic. A military settlement is impossible; a political solution a long shot which our president will not try.
Hypothetically, if there was an attempt at a political fix, I think it would require participation of the regional powers AND the use of draconian force against any militia who continues ethnic murder after a cease-fire. This is not a pretty picture, but neither is a decade of civil war where militias kidnap and murder civilians at random.
If order could be imposed – with a cease fire backed by the clerics in the entire region – and enforced with harsh reprisals against anyone who did not get the message… then it might be possible to establish a police force (not death squads in uniform) and a judiciary and the rule by an iron fist could relax. But these folks are a long way from sittting around the campfire singing kumbaya.
Bush got us into this mess with an unhealthy dose of wishful thinking. ‘welcomed as liberators’ my ass. A liberal version of that same tune of wishful thinking is not going to help.