Monday, January 31, 2005

Not Being Max Sawicky...

...pleases James Lileks immensely:

I’m very glad I’m not so aslosh with solipsistic hatred that any success in Iraq makes me trot out a cynical riposte so the rest of my buddies on Olympus will nod in wry assent.

Stuff like this, he means:

There is evidently a mass amnesia in light of the fact that the U.S. was not a real democracy until voting rights were achieved in the American South, not so very long ago. Of course, the exterminated indigenous peoples of the Americas will never have a vote. This makes some of their descendants bitter and given to rash statements. The moral response is to reflect on the roots of such bitterness. Meanwhile, the spectacle of recently enfranchised minorities and immigrants exercising their right to vote is met with warnings of fraud.

The amnesia carries over into present, with the triumphalists doing their best to degrade our political culture by seeking to marginalize and stigmatize critics of imperial policy, even mild ones, with baseless, McCarthyite accusations of treason.

This is what fascists do. They have no standing as advocates of democracy.

What about Iraq? This is an occupied country under martial law, where lawless and anti-government forces hold significant sway. Saddam is on ice, but Sunni/Ba'athism flourishes, to violent effect. It has also become a terrorist incubator, thanks to the proliferation of American targets. Anti-American terrorism has only become possible with American occupation. In this dimension, the Occupation is its own justification.

To the extent anyone is in charge, it is the U.S. Administration. The idea that some kind of process of self-government is moving forward is a joke. ....

Conditional democracy and half-baked sovereignty are what we're talking about. Both for Iraqis and for U.S. citizens. Democratic procedures, like voting, can be authentic or ceremonial. Ceremonies can be meaningful, but in the case of Iraq, the ceremony is simply disatrous testament to the groundless vanity of an unfit president.

As self-parody, that's perfect pitch.

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