Ever since Pach launched his broadside against the War on Terror and the cover it has provided for a whole host of executive sins, the comments section on that post has looked like Chickamauga: The Morning After.
Wingnuttia came unglued. The challenge it presented went to the absolute core of how they define themselves. Of course they needed the help of a straw man to wage their battle; skipping several logical steps they surged to the conclusion that Pach (and by extension the left) denies the existence of a terrorist threat in order to prop themselves up as the true, steely-eyed defenders of the realm. But Pach said no such thing; as a matter of fact, some of us were supporting RAWA and banging the gong about the dangers of the Taliban in 1998. Funny I don’t remember seeing any of the Red State White Boys at those meetings. The only thing 9/11 changed was that some people finally caught up with the feminists.
It isn’t that terrorism doesn’t exist, but there is a big problem with the bill of goods that has been sold to the American people in the name of some vaguely defined and innefectual construct by George Bush and the incompetent kleptocrats who serve him. Perpetual fear, racial hatred, unlimited executive authority, surrender of civil rights, the blank check written to war profiteers, and the label of traitor slapped on anyone who challenges any of it — it’s all part and parcel of the political edifice that the right erects around their proxy battle with "terror" (few of the participants actually being willing to go fight the good fight themselves).
Over at Kung Fu Monkey, John Rogers gives a colorful but I think apt description of where we’ve arrived as the result of an environment where no questioning of our political leaders is allowed:
The problem is, these yahoos have managed an ugly trick. They have turned criticism of the policies of Bastards in Suits into criticism of The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This, of course, is completely wrong, as one can easily tell the difference between the Bastards in Suits and The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. One group is in Suits, and Not Getting Shot At, while another is in Uniform, and Getting Shot At. Please, try to grasp this. Not the same.
There is a flip side. Some people confuse supporting the Bastards in Suits for supporting The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This is, again, ridiculous. If the history of modern warfare has taught us anything, it’s that the Bastards in Suits spend an awful lot of time working the kinks out of plans involving The People in Uniform dying unpleasantly. They often screw that up. When they do screw up, it is incumbent upon Bastards in Suits to suffer criticism and fix the situation, as by comparison The People in Uniform are suffering shattered skulls, missing limbs and death. Which is, on my scale, exponentially more traumatic than criticism.
Some people even seem confused on how we are criticizing the Bastards in Suits. The Bastards have a job to do. They are not doing it. Period. Tommy Franks recently trotted out the classic bit of misdirection, attacking critics of Donald Rumsfeld.
"I don’t care about your politics. I don’t. Don Rumsfeld is an American patriot."
Yes, well, that’s lovely. But we’re not criticizing his patriotism. We’re criticizing his job performance. One of the great mysteries of the last six years was how and when the Bush Administration turned public policy into Special Olympics. "Oh, I know Donny knocked over all the hurdles, but HE LOVES THE RACE, so you SHUT YOUR FILTHY, CYNICAL MOUTH." Jesus H. Christ.
Yes they will scream, yes they will yell, and it will be a straw man bonanza, you can count on it. But it’s time the extreme wingnutty hijacking of this dialog ends, and it’s not going to end until someone is brave enough to introduce the notion that this whole phantasmagorical "war" is largely a crock.
As Digby says:
[I]t is long past time for people to start the public counter argument, which has the benefit of appealing to common sense. Many Americans are emerging from the relentless hail of propaganda that overtook the nation after the traumatic events of 9/11. Iraq confused people for a while, but that confusion is leaving in its wake a rather startling clarity: the "war" as the government defines it is bullshit. It will take a while for this common sense to become conventional wisdom, but it certainly won’t happen if nobody is willing to say it out loud.
Break out the Thorazine, Doris, and let the shrieking begin.