Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Out, damned spot! Out, I say! 

Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

...who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

-- Lady Macbeth

So the troglodyte class is taking a long hard sideways glance at Old Man Iraq, wondering where all this blood came from, and dimly suspecting it might have some on its hands, begins the psychological death spiral. Thomas Ricks has a new article cataloguing the latest trend of "leaders" blaming the Iraqis for the ongoing atrocity that is Iraq.

From troops on the ground to members of Congress, Americans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in Iraq on the people most affected by it: the Iraqis.

Even Democrats who have criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the occupation say the people and government of Iraq are not doing enough to rebuild their society. The White House is putting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have debated how much to blame Iraqis for not performing civic duties.

It goes on in this vein with plenty of bipartisan quotes blaming Iraqis and a final three paragraphs edging toward something that looks vaguely like a reality in which the rest of the world lives. An Iraq expert and advisor to the Iraq Study Group manages the most accurate and most idiotic statement of the piece:

Phebe Marr... calculates that because of policy missteps and other errors, the United States bears about 60 percent of the blame.

Sixty percent! I immediately turned to the Science section of the paper hoping to see the story about the Nobel-worthy researchers who had managed to isolate and quantify a unit of Blame, but I was disappointed. But sixty percent! It sounds so plausible and authoritative, it must be true!

Holiday Season is upon us and everyone who is anticipating long dinner-table discussions with disagreeable relatives has to figure out how they're going to save face.

For those of you who don't know: "saving face" is an exotic concept, originating in Asia (East), which leads weird Asian people to do things like kill or exile themselves when they are "dishonored". Fortunately we in the West live in an advanced and superior culture and have thus dispensed with silly archaic things like "honor", "dignity", and "responsibility", concepts only comprehensible to the Inscrutable Asian Mind.

No longer in possession of these concepts, we in the West "save face" by avoiding responsibility at all costs and completely debasing ourselves in an orgy of denial. Preferably one would do this with a good deal of sanctimony and ersatz pity for those one is blaming. This process enables us to continue on with the important work of destroying humanity unencumbered with "guilt" or "shame", which really slow the work down and could lead to a spiritual "quagmire". "Quagmires" are very horrible things and are to be avoided at all costs, except in cases where they are easily predicted by anyone, in which case they should be rushed into immediately.

The rest of the world is left to look on and make its own assessments of the situation. Not having access to Iraq Experts like Phebe Marr, they will be left to blindly cast about for some framework with which to understand this crazy and complicated world. Perhaps in their desperation, they will turn to some precedent, some way to grasp this confusing reality by way of analogy. Maybe they will even be so distraught as to consult the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg which called the waging of aggressive war:

...essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.



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