Thursday, March 29, 2007

Noodle spine alert

The U.N. Security Council expresses "grave concern" about Iran kidnapping British sailors.

Well ... Katie bar the door. What's next -- "dangerous consequences"? Actually not even that. Not as long as Moscow and Peking wield vetoes, as the text of the story makes clear.
Speaking of hopeless causes, Sydney Carton tries to talk sense into the increasingly deranged Shea. Some gems:
What do you think Western Civilization IS? All I get from you is that you think pop culture, Britney Spears, homosexual activists, and abortion DEFINE Western Civilization. Do you have ANY idea of the value of your cultural heritage at ALL? Not if you think it's "pathological," I suppose. It's like you have no sense of history, and of the things that make the West great. And that's really, really disturbing.
Mark, you display your profound ignorance of foreign policy by confusing "realism" with the quest to transform the Islamist world via democracy and capitalism. "Realism" is the foreign policy school of power alliances: that states will act in their self interest. ... "Realism" would frown upon transforming the middle east, because "realists" would argue that we should ally with strong states in the region to contain our competitors. Thus, the "realism" school is often better known as the school that argues for finding dictators we can do business with. ...

I don't know how you could think that "realism" has anything to do with the more Wilsonian brand of politics that the Administration has pursued. They are diametrically opposed to each other. If you're really this confused about basic concepts of foreign policy schools, then no wonder you get so worked up over things that you don't understand.
And speaking of using features of a thing to DEFINE that thing, in the "America is illegitimate" front, we get this bit.
Somehow the GOP elders and talk radio heads have managed to persuade even most Christians not just to make excuses for America's transformation into a torture state, but to enthusiastically support it and laugh about it.
Is Shea so addicted to the sound of his own voice that even bothers to read what he writes? Does he realizes how batshit crazy that is?

There is not a shred of evidence that America is "a torture state" (which is not at all the same thing as "a state whose military uses torture"). The use of an adjective before "state" means its essential defining feature (vis "communist state," "democratic state," "garrison state," etc.). To call a state where the ACLU even exists a "torture state" is completely-removed-from-reality fantasizing.

Further his historical innocence/ignorance shows in the term "transformed." There is no standard by which American military and law-enforcement practices include "torture" now but not in the past (which isn't a moral argument for or against either of course). Whatever else might be said, Bush isn't overseeing any "transformation" of America.*

Keep in mind that when St. Paul acknowledged Caesar's legitimacy in wielding the sword, "Caesar" meant Nero. There is no rational standard for legitimacy or being a "torture state" that Nero's Rome meets but Bush's America doesn't. But put up or shut up. If Shea actually thinks that America is a "torture state" (my bet is that he doesn't, it was just a set of words that sounded good and righteous), he should have the balls to renounce his citizenship, refuse to pay taxes, etc. Act as if he believes the American Caesar is illegitimate. He won't. Because it's just righteous-sounding half-understood words to emphasize how "beyond ideology" he is.
* Prediction of more proof that Shea is really only a posturer. This is an argument I have made repeatedly, and his response will be as it always has been -- mockery to the effect of "we had slavery in the past, so we should have it now" or "give me that old-time Inquisition, it's good enough for me." Betraying of course that his skimming gives him no clue what the argument is -- a historical one about the context of present actions and so what we can say about history, not a moral one about what those actions should be. (We see another similar example of leaping from claim to claim here. Does this guy sound like Comerford?)


Donald R. McClarey said...

"It's like you have no sense of history"

That, in a nutshell, is the problem with most of Mark's comments on current affairs. With a Mayfly perspective, it is very easy to engage in analysis that fails to have any historical depth. That is why, for example, Mark can make statements about torture and the US that indicate that for him history began in 2003.

Oengus Moonbones said...

The U.N. Security Council expresses "grave concern" about Iran kidnapping British sailors.

Yes, take it to the U.N., as if it would actually do anything consequential.

But one idea I've heard suggested is that Blair cannot take sterner action against Iran because he fears the violent repercussions coming from the radical Jihadists cells in his own country.

The British simply don't have enough police in their own country to deal with the possiblities.

At least that's the explanation I heard. I don't know how much water it will carry.