I thought that it'd be nice for the Oscar people to see precisely how the geekvote is liable to see their current slate. Well, at least how one member of the geekvote is liable to see their current slate. You know the drill.
I assume that by now everybody here has read Paul Berman's Dissent piece. Norm Geras (who is a Marxist himself, and one who agrees with Berman) decided to discuss the article past a simple me-too: after summarizing Berman's six thumped reasons and adding a seventh, non-thumped one, he asks:
"Does any of these reasons have priority for the distinctively socialist far left, some of it of Marxist persuasion or at any rate formation, and amongst whom I would reckon cultural relativist and postmodern tropes are generally weak?"
...which he then goes on to give his opinion on. It's a preliminary piece, but one of some interest.
PS: My opinion about Berman? Shoot, it wasn't like he was thumping the table and shouting at me, was it? I'm a Rightie who supported the war. I think that Berman may have been wasting his time, but it's his to waste. Although I do wonder if the session happened in exactly that way. Half-drunken eloquence is more often spoken of than seen.
Sebastian Holsclaw was apparently feeling masochistic today, because he was inciting people to comment on this statement:
My conjecture is: The United States cannot expect to successfully emulate the policies of the more socialistic European countries even if it found the political will to attempt it.
This is because the socialistic European countries are free riders in certain crucial areas. They are able to be so successful because the US bears the costs in these areas. If the United States were to adopt the economic policies of these countries, there would be no one left bearing these costs. This would be detrimental to the United States and to the world as a whole.
One of those things that is mostly either bloody obvious or whatinhell, judging from the comments. For me, the military spending thing (the first factor mentioned) is bloody obvious and the technological research thing (the second)... is something that I'd ask the womenfolk here at Chez Lane* about, but they're not available, so beats me.
Anyway, check it out.
*I check with them for all my scientific and technological questions, because they know calculus and geometry and conics and... stuff, and, well, math is hard.
Recent poster Opus over at Tacitus has started her own blog. She's certainly on the Left side of the spectrum, but she likes Dave Barry and I've seen worse scansion coming from the Left*, so what the heck. No such thing as bad publicity, right?
UPDATE: Sheesh, on review it would seem that I'm either sloppy, tired, peeved or all three: Opus also has demonstrated a sense of humor and intelligence over at Tac's, so I was happy to see that she got a blog. And I'm not making fun of her poetry.
*Don't get me started on some of the stuff that I've had to wade through. You'd think that a group that traces its roots back to the protest movements of the last century would produce more people able to write a political song that scans and rhymes, but apparently not. Ach, Ginsberg, what sins have been committed in Thy name!
1. John Edwards is Clinton in '92 -- charismatic Southern, moderate, handsome, populist -- but without "bimbo eruptions." I'll be the last to say it: Edwards is the Democrat most likely to beat Bush. (But consider: Edwards is so good on his feet, anything less than total victory in a debate with Bush will be considered as "below expectations.")
2. Richard Cheney is Spiro Agnew. It's as much an image problem as anything else.* Take another look at his picture with Pope John Paul, for instance. Were this a Hollywood movie, would there be any doubt that Cheney is a "bad man"?
3. George Bush needs to mimic Ronald Reagan even more. For example, look again at how Bush enters a room to speak. Bush has the quick, bent forward stride of someone one step shy of a public-speaking phobia. Reagan, on the other hand, was completely at ease -- a natural. C'mon, George: you're the leader of the free world. Slow down.
There's been an immense amount of hand wringing over whether Bush said that Iraq was an "imminent" threat, or merely a "threat." (For recent examples, see Trickster's entry at Tacitus or Kos over at The Daily Him.) It's not worth your time. Whether the threat was "imminent" or "not-imminent" -- and who said what about either -- is a red herring. The question that should be posed is, "if we knew then what we know now, was an invasion of Iraq still justified?"
Let's start with first principles. The applicable definition of threat is: ". . . One that [sic -- "or who"] is regarded as a possible danger; a menace." American Heritage Dictionary Online. Note the breadth of that definition. Any nation that is a "possible danger" to the United States is a "threat" to the United States.
That a nation (or individual) is a "threat," then, is not enough to justify war. If Bush had simply come out on stage and said, "ya know, I think Iraq's a threat," we all would have said "And, so . . . . .?" Really: China is a threat. Pakistan is a threat. Russia is a threat. North Korea is a threat. Iran is a threat. Syria is a threat. Saudia Arabia is a threat. We're gonna invade each of these countries? We're gonna invade any of these countries?
Of course not. The point was that Bush argued that Iraq was a threat, and then said that the threat was serious enough to require immediate military action. It's the second component that's crucial, and it doesn't depend on a showing that Iraq was an "imminent" threat. Which is why, by the by, you have to search far and wide for even a suggestion by a Bush administration official that the threat from Iraq was "imminent." They didn't need to go there.
What was required, however, was a showing that the risks of not attacking Iraq exceeded the risks of attacking Iraq. I've stated on prior occasions that I thought the Iraq war was justified, based on the information that we had prior to the war. I believed that Iraq had significant stockpiles of deliverable WMDs or, at a minimum, the ability to generate significant stockpiles of deliverable WMDs. It turns out that I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
The world is undoubtably a better place without Saddam. The Iraqi people are also undoubtably better off, as is the region. But, in my view, the US does not wage wars solely for humanitarian reasons. (Else, why not invade the Congo? Or Liberia? Or China? Or Uzbekistan?) And the US certainly does not wage pre-emptive wars without something to pre-empt.
In good faith, then, I could not have supported the Iraq War if I knew then what I know now. Iraq did not pose a significant enough threat to the interests of the US to justify invasion. (Indeed, a convincing case can be made that other regimes were (and are) far more dangerous -- North Korea's, for example, or Saudi Arabia's.)
This does not mean that I believe that Bush or Rumsfeld, or Rice, or Blair to have lied. I don't. (I have serious questions about Cheney, however, based on his recent comments -- either the man is divorced from reality or is running a significant ethical deficit.) But I want a full and thorough investigation of the intelligence, I want it now, I want it done by an independent investigator, and I want its findings published.