Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Someone recently dug up one of my old postings, pre-Iraq War, in which I waxed multinationalistic, criticized Bush, and praised the U.N. He asked me what had changed since then.

The short answer is, I haven't changed my position about Bush, and I still think Tony Blair says the right things, and says them far more articulately than Bush.
I've seen through the hypocrisy of the United Nations, especially the French and Germans, and I'm now more disgusted with them/it than anything that emanates from America. Even al Qaida will stand up and tell you to your face they want to see you dead. The French ruling class pretend to be on your side, when behind their backs they have their fingers crossed, hoping you'll die.

At the time I wrote, the Bush Administration (mainly Powell) apparently were trying to work within the framework of the United Nations, and its repeated resolutions on Iraq, which Saddam repeatedly tore up and laughed at. Bush et al were giving the U.N. one last chance to be effective and actually prove it meant what it said. At the time, that made us look like monkeys and gave every little candy-ass dictatorship a chance to dance on the U.S. as it tried to build consensus in the U.N.

And as for having other nations helping us, I have come to realize that, militarily, most of them just would be dead-weight. And politically, they would be weak sisters who would run at any sign of real trouble. Better to go alone with the few you can trust, who are willing to work.

Now? Looking back? I'd have gone up to the U.N. on Sept. 12, told them all to follow me down to 23rd and Chambers, shown them the red-hot pile of metal, with people crawling into it seeking anything that might still be alive, and said, "you have 30 days to tell us what you're going to do about this, before we go and do something about it on our own." Then after they didn't (of course), I'd have gone up
to 44th Street, locked the doors to the U.N. building, and handed them all their passports and a one-way ticket home.

* * *

I had thought about those older posts, and how they seem out of synch with, if not downright contradictory to, what I'm writing now. But the Internet is the antidote to "1984." You can't re-write its history, thanks to Google archives and sites like the Waybackmachine. What's been published, if it's been up for any length of time, will remain accessible, somewhere.

But mainly I decided to keep them linked from my current pages because I thought that, years from now, someone might be curious about the political evolution of one small mind, not for its own sake, but as a representative of a larger class. Historians do that all the time: how did the majority in the U.S. North, which loathed abolitionists in 1838, come to put them in power just 22 years later?

So someday historians might wonder about the diaspora of people like me, in the American political landscape. "Pro-war liberal" might be a kind classification for us, though there are a great many unkind ones. I encounter similar minds among my peers and in the sites I visit online: men and women who have traditionally identified themselves with a group of positions and attitudes generally called "liberal," but who have slowly found themselves pushed over to another alignment, ranged against people they once considered allies and beside people they once called enemies.

It began on Sept. 11, 2001. And it certainly wasn't the siren appeal of our newfound allies that drew us over. Most of us oppose them as vigorously as ever in social issues and sometimes even in War on Terror issues (Guantanamo detainments, etc.), though more quietly.

One thing I appreciate about the people on "this side" is, they know how to fight hard when the time is right to argue, and how to shut up for the sake of the greater good when that time has passed. Many "conservatives" were deeply opposed to Bill Clinton's military forays into Kosovo and Serbia, but I never saw them openly gloating over American mistakes or cheering for American deaths the way the left does today in the case of Iraq.

Yes, yes, more straw man arguments. But are they? I was told not long ago that Michael Moore, who does call for more dead American soldiers, is a fringe player, not representative of the mainstream of Democrats in America. And I allowed that to be accepted in the argument I was having. And now, lo and behold, all the top Senate Democrats have walked his red carpet to the premiere of his new movie in D.C. And the DNC has worked out a deal that will ensure more than a half-million DVD copies of the film will be distributed nationwide in October 2004, just a month before the general election.

I have no truck with Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. How am I supposed to differentiate people on the other side from their worst exemplars, if they won't separate themselves from them?

* * *

Moore joined a national conference call and webcast on Monday sponsored by MoveOn to promote the film. Moore pleaded with his fans to vote for Kerry. No surprise there, but at least he's looking over his shoulder at the election rules, because he hastily added, "I've never spoken to the man. I've never spoken to anybody in his campaign."

Which is a typical instance of Moore's definition of "the truth." Because right after that he bragged about how he's been speaking with Alexandra Kerry (she of the see-through dress), who, according to Slate, is "active in the [Kerry] campaign," and who, according to the article cited above, "does media outreach for the Kerry campaign and is considered one of her father's closest advisers." Moore also had stumped for the Wesley Clark campaign, and he and his associates keep in touch with the many former Clark staffers now working for Kerry.

So much for "I've never spoken to anybody in his campaign."

And according to a Kerry campaign source, Moore's distributors have been talking to the campaign, and Moore employees twisted arms to get Kerry to agree to a private screening of "Farenheit."

"Moore or his people have been all over us," according to a Kerry campaign staffer in Washington. "We were getting free passes to the premiere. It's obvious that when we beat the Republicans, they want to get the credit for it." Props to Kerry for dodging this stunt. At least he can do one thing right.