Wednesday, 16 March 2005

A weird time to go wobbly

Like many, I’ve had my doubts about the potential success of the war in Iraq. In fact, I had them last Fall in Cass’s comments section back when she was at Jet Noise. I never thought I would see Michele go wobbly, though.

Michele is apparently experiencing buyer’s remorse over having voted for President Bush back in the Fall. She’s even starting to question us going to war in Iraq. Coming from one of the founders of The Command Post, a post I manned in the runup to the Iraq War, it’s more than a little astonishing.

Here’s Michele on her reasons for experiencing buyer’s remorse:

Social Security. Bankruptcy. The insistence of the far right that they have some kind of religious mandate now and we need to revert back to our Christian roots and morals. And yes, Iraq.
One at a time:
  • Social Security: it’s not clear to me why there should be any remorse here. Bush’s support for private accounts is one of the worst kept secrets in the world. He’s favored them since the 2000 race. Lately, I’ve started to question the need for the accounts myself, but I can’t claim that Bush’s support for them is a surprise.

    According to Zogby, this is part of a political realignment that Bush is attempting to engineer. Maybe so, but it seems like a far more difficult solution to the problem than is needed (for more see here, here and here) and that the effort to reform Social Security would be better spent working on Medicare, which is a far bigger problem.

  • Bankruptcy: this is a little more bothersome, but not as much as Michele seems to think. From what I’ve read, the credit card companies are refusing to accept any responsibility for the people they give cards to. This seems a bit unfair, and I would like for it to be different, but it’s not something to get worked up over. The best solution is to limit your use of credit cards and you won’t have to deal with the bankruptcy bill. If there’s more to it than that, please let me know.
  • The religious right: Michele and I apparently read different publications. Even if the religious right thinks it has a mandate, what are they gonna do? Throw people in jail for going to the wrong church, or for not going at all? I’ll be in there with all of the other sinners.

    On gay marriage it seems that they mostly want it to be handled at a state level. Some want it outlawed nationwide, but it’ll never happen. They couldn’t even get the FMA out of the Senate last Fall and it doesn’t outlaw gay marriage; it simply guarantees that it’s left to the states. The optimal answer here is to let the states decide and that appears to be what is happening.

    Abortion is another item, but again, the religious right doesn’t seem to be intent on outlawing it nationwide; they simply want it returned to the states, which is all that would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned. The real problem is that the courts intervened in this process thirty years ago and tried to fashion a consensus where none existed. And it’s still a huge issue today precisely because the Court intervened, rather than leaving it to the states. If someone tries to do the opposite and outlaw it nationwide before a consensus exists, I’ll be screaming about it as well. Until then, I won’t worry about it.

  • The Iraq War: this is the most inexplicable of Michele’s gripes. Finally, after months and months of nothing but bad news, the idea of freedom in the Middle East seems to be getting a bit of traction, and part of it can be traced to the reelection of President Bush. By reelecting President Bush we told the rest of the world that we can’t be rolled and that we’ll remain committed to what we started. The people in other countries in the Middle East have taken this to heart and are acting on this and other events to work for freedom. How is this sneaking past Michele?

    Like Cass said, it’s gut check time. All we have to do is be resolute in our jobs as computer jockies and let the troops know that what they are doing is not in vain. I can do that.

It’s weird. Right now I support Bush more strongly than I ever have and seeing others get buyer’s remorse is a bit confusing.


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Well, it makes sense if you’re a Democrat (like Michele) and the only reason you voted for Bush is you didn’t trust Kerry on the WOT. Now that the WOT is going relatively well, that moves down the Maslowian hierarchy a bit—and the inevitable result is buyer’s remorse.

And, of course, the counterfactual of “what would have happened in Iraq had Kerry been elected” is unknowable, although I suspect that not even Dennis Kucinich (or Michael Badnarik) could have pulled every American soldier out of Iraq between inauguration day and today, so the status quo is probably how it would have been either way.


Robert, this is the sort of post I should have written, yesterday. Mine was uncharacteristic – I’d have been more comfortable with this approach. But frankly I was far too angry. It takes me a long, long time to get mad and a long time to get over it, and I’m afraid I’m still mad this morning. Even though I thought for a long time before I hit “post”, I broke my own rule (never post something in anger). But grief has an odd way of manifesting itself sometimes – you start with sadness and all of a sudden you’re shaking with anger. It just seems to me that the LCpl. Nowackis of this world deserve better from us – more than 15 minutes of our fractured attention. This is the kind of “thinking” that led to Vietnam. 55,000 dead for nothing, and the wholesale slaughter and genocide that occurred afterwards in SE Asia – all for nothing, in the end.

I’m from a long line of military, and there is a great, unspoken secret we all know but no one talks about. In one sense, war is never really “worth it” – never worth the ones we lose. But for Christ’s sake, if we’re going to do it, don’t we owe it to the ones we send to keep our eye on the ball?

I read Michele’s post yesterday (it was linked to the one I referenced) and was puzzled by her reasoning. Or perhaps more accurately, what I saw as a lack of reasoning, since she really gave no evidence to back up her general feeling that “things have gone downhill” since the election. But I didn’t respond, since I don’t really know her and she wasn’t looking to be ‘reviled by Republicans”.

She’s entitled to her opinion. But I will find it hard to forgive if people like the folks she linked to prevail, and the service of people I honored (and loved) has once again been in vain.

Maybe I don’t feel quite so bad about losing my temper, even though I did rather make a fool of myself.

Someone should.


I know you will understand my comment, Robert, but someone else certainly won’t so I suppose I’d better clarify.

re: one sense, war is never really “worth it” – never worth the ones we lose.

I should perhaps add:

But the entire purpose of the military is to ensure domestic tranquility and (at times) enforce and prosecute US foreign policy initiatives. This is something military people voluntarily support. With their lives, if necessary.


Michelle’s post was one of the least coherent I’ve ever read.

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