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Triumph of the Shrill | Main | CBS/NYTimes Poll: Bush's Approval Rating Now at Negative Sixty-Six Bazillion
June 29, 2004

Partisanship is Fun; Principle is a Drag

The Round Mound of Non-Profound, obnoxious ovoid Oliver Willis quotes the following observation approvingly:

Personally, though, I'm concerned about the symbolism. What does it say that, for fear of violence, we have to transfer sovereignty early and in secret? It would have been a better show of strength, I think, to have done it as planned, in a large public ceremony, and pulled it off without violence. That would have sent a message that terrorism isn't going to affect the normal day to day operations of Iraq.

He then comments:

Then again, Alex, that would mean the Bush people actually care what Iraqis think. They want out, and they want out by November. There are elections to win, and Iraqis don't vote.

Anyone care to guess what Willis would have said had Bush had a big public ceremony for the transfer of power?:

Today, George Bush risked the lives of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children in order to have a phoney photo-op that would lead the nightly news. He made the transfer of power an irresistable terrorist target simply to give himself a minor bump-up in the polls. He put his own electoral chances ahead of the very lives of the innocent Iraqis he claims to be working to protect.

Wouldn't it have demonstrated actual concern about Iraqi life and limb to have conducted a subdued, perhaps secretive, transfer of power ceremony, rather than risk so many lives for fireworks and favorable news coverage?

Then again, Alex, that would mean the Bush people actually care what Iraqis think. There are elections to win, and Iraqis don't vote.

Exact opposite hypothetical premise, but the exact same conclusion.

Some time ago I wrote a long (some would say too long) analysis concluding, inter alia, that our then-current mission of doing as much as possible to fight terrorists in Iraq was in fact counter-productive, and that the best policy was Iraqification-- letting them handle their own problems.

This caused some disagreement among my readers. Which is good-- we were all debating strategy and principle. We were all thinking about the war, and how best to win it.

But liberal hacks like Cankles the Clown never write posts that their readers might disagree with, because they don't bother analyzing strategy and principle. If they did, there's the risk that Bush might actually follow their suggested strategy, and then they'd have to praise his wisdom on that point; and they daren't risk that.

So instead their blogs are nothing but partisan conclusions. If Bush does A, A is wrong, and Bush sucks. If Bush does Not-A, then Not-A is wrong, and Bush sucks.

Oliver Willis is particularly obnoxious in this regard, shifting his "position" from the left to the right and back again depending on the particular partisan needs at the moment. If Bush is being tough in Iraq, he complains that this hardline attitude lacks nuance and that Bush is a bloodthirsty cowboy. But the moment Bush seems to be pursuing a softer, more accomodationist policy, Willis complains that we're selling out the Iraqis in order to disengage in time for the elections.

It's one or the other, Fatboy. It can't be both. If you favor a get-tough, damn-the-consquences policy, say so, but then you can't whine about that approach when Bush takes it. If you want greater Iraqification, then say that, but you are forbidden to whine that Bush is being a pussy for following your own policy prescriptions.

Willis' critics accuse him of mere "carping." Willis piously rejoins that it isn't "carping" just to disagree with Bush.

With all due respect, Man-Tits, yes it is-- at least in the manner you disagree with Bush. It is not carping to state a position and then argue in favor it. But Willis, of course, doesn't do this; what the hell is his position? It changes from day-to-day, depending on what Bush is doing at the moment. Whatever Bush is doing at the moment, that's the wrong position, and Willis argues for the alternatives.

That, Roundy McHeartdisease, is in fact mere carping. That is the definition of childish nay-saying. This is Argument Clinic stuff-- taking a contrary position simply to take a contrary position.

Does Willis want out by November? If not November, then when? Since he's been against this war from the start (or at least until it became clear that the Democratic standard-bearers were opposing the war), it's kinda weird to see Willis suggesting that we take a maximalist approach to a war he thinks was unwise, unjust, and unnecessary in the first place.

If I had to guess, I'd say that Willis is all in favor of a true bug-out himself, but that he doesn't want that bug-out to come until after the November elections. He loves the idea of a bug-out; he just doesn't want George Bush stealing all his great ideas.

He favors a bug-out in which we abandon Iraq, but he wants to make sure American soldiers continue dying in large numbers for a futile cause he wishes to abandon-- at least until the elections, because American deaths = Kerry votes.

I don't know, Krill Breath. Since the Democratic line seems to be in favor of abandoning Iraq, wouldn't it make sense to abandon sooner than later, if we are in fact going to bug-out? What possible reason could antiwar hacks like Willis have for favoring both bugging-out but not bugging-out too soon, except that they want the carnage to continue as long as possible to hurt Bush?

Listen, Ochubb, you want to elevate your game and be taken more seriously, I suggest you actually announce a clear position and stick with it. "Bush is bad and whatever he does is likewise bad" is not a substantive position.

It's just the whining and carping of a sad, lonely, untalented and unfunny man pecking at the keyboard in rotund insignificance.

By the way: Don't call Willis "Ochubb" or "Fatboy" in his comments. It seems that just might get you banned. Apparently he's a little bit sensitive about his weight issues.

And yeah, this post is pretty juvenile. What of it? Oliver Willis trades in this sort of playground invective everyday, so I can't see how the rules of elevated, civil discourse should constrain me while they've never constrained him.

The only thing that seems to constrain Willis is the frayed and straining elastic in his husky-sized sweatpants.

But Can Weathervanes Be Spherical? Nick Kronos gets into the spirit of things and posts some of Cankles the Clown's older musings. You will not be shocked to learn that his positions have, errr, evolved as we've gotten closer to election day.

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posted by Ace at 03:13 PM

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