Friday, April 27, 2007

Of Evil and Experts

The BushCo and its adherents / apologists have two favorite words, evil and expert. These words probably seem at first glance to be completely divorced from each other, but I think after defining them and exploring their usage we'll see a rather uncomfortable connection. I like Webster's Ninth New Collegiate, it's a little dated but gives quick and common usage definitions so I'll refer to its most relevant entries for:

evil (adj) : morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked

(2) expert (n) : one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject

The administration has taken action against quite a few individuals and organizations on the basis of their "evil," without ever quite defining what that particular aspect is. George II says that people who use car bombs are evil. We certainly do not like car bombers or suicide bombers, but somehow the moralistic stance is lost on me, I have a problem differentiating between a 500 pounder dropped from a plane and an exploding Toyota, the object being the same, a big bang and people and things broken. The apparent moralistic difference seems to be a matter of budget, we can afford fancy airplanes and they can afford stolen Toyotas. As far as targeting goes, we do have a rather frequently used phrase - collateral damage. We do not like what they do, I certainly don't, but evil is an odd word in this usage, maybe applied to torture we'd have something real...

Experts are the "go to" reference for the White House and their adherents in the face of criticism or other policy ideas regarding Iraq. "The experts all say," is one of their favorites, by which they mean "their" experts. Now please pay close attention to who these experts are and who they are not, for example, in the lead up to the Iraq War the experts were primarily the authors and contributors to "The New American Century," a think tank exhortation to use "super-powerdom" energetically and for the benefit of US interests. The current term for these people is neocons (new conservatives - a misnomer if ever), and the who of them was primarily - once in power and pissed not to be, back in power. Now the odd part of it is that definition from Webster - mastery of a particular subject. This means you know it, cold, and you will be right about it. I think you can take it from there... Who they were not is just as telling, they were not agents with their feet on the ground, career analysts lost in the bowels of the building at mid-level, career diplomats from the area, in fact not political powers with something to gain, not to mention qualifying for the definition. Those people, in fact, got it mostly right, and it is just exactly what we did not do.

You will hear repeatedly from the BushCo experts that leaving Iraq will result in a bloodbath and a failed state refuge for terrorists to attack us. Keep in mind that these are the same experts who've been running the show since before we ever attacked the place and their track record of getting things right qualifies them as window washers or street sweepers or something inconsequential and harmless - not Policy.

The experts who advise this administration are so completely stupid that they mistake military tactics and logistical realities for a moral referent, they also are the morally bankrupt bunch that advocates the US engaging in actual evil - torture. Their qualification as expert is a self-referent, they are experts because somebody listens to them, it has absolutely not one single thing to do with experience, study, or especially results. They do not engage in critical thinking, they engage in ideological justification. Let's get one thing straight, al-Qeda is not going to win in Iraq if we're not there, the Shiites will slaughter them in short order. The Shiite militias don't like us - considering our results, not far fetched - and they do not want us there. Yes, they are primarily theocratic, but the whole place is theocratic with Saddam removed and it's going to go that way the second we leave, stable government or not. What they are not, is dedicated to harming the US on its home ground - that would be al-Qeda. There certainly will be some "score settling" between the Shiites and Suunis based on Saddam and al-Qeda, but the blood bath is already going on, with us in the middle. That middle is a bad place to be, we're busily trying unsuccessfully to keep them apart while attacking the ones attacking us and pissing everybody off in the process, which pretty much means adding to the ones attacking us and smashing whatever is left that wasn't already smashed.

There certainly is evil within the world population, but there is considerably less of that than what are simply policies and tactics we don't like. There is evil in terror, but primarily terror is an underdog's military tactic, and it holds much in common with military tactics we have engaged in ourselves. Mass artillery barrages and carpet bombing are tactics of terror, ask anyone who has been caught in it, Desert Storm certainly showed the utility of those tactics. Give "The New American Century" a read to find out the basis of the "experts" opinions, you might find the policy basis something you'd recognize as evil.


Steve Culley said...

One difference between a 500 pound bomb from an airplane and a toyota is that the airplane has tried to target the enemy, the religious nuts in Toyotas are targeting civilians. Ok, it gets messy and bombs go where they are not suppossed too. Fog of war and all that. As a Viet Nam veteran I belive in the Powell Doctrine. Don't get in one but if you do don't play nice.
A second thought, on George the second. I say again call him Bush 2. In reality he is George the Third, Washington, Bush 1 and Bush 2. I make the distinction because our first encounter with a George the Third, an arrogant bastard who couldn't change his mind and thought he was born to rule moved us along to Lexington and Concord. I'm thinking this one is history repeating itself.

KISS said...

Chuck, your essay on Iraq is a fine piece of writing. The real enemy is the United States going back to the days of covert killing of prime ministers and our set-up of puppet governments. Iran was the same, if not even worse, as we killed their Prime Minister because he nationalized oil production. He was pissed that the 7 sisters were stealing all the profits. We than installed the Shaw another crooked puppet and when he was overthrown we got in bed with Hussein and tried a back-door war that went down quickly. To make matters worse we sicced Hussein on waring with Kuwait and purposely set him up so we could destroy him and bring Iran back as good fiends. Iran, not being DUM never fell for that. Now we are in deep shit do to Kissinger, Powell, Tenet and of course the two power punchers Cheney and that order.

Chuck Butcher said...

Nah Steve, I recognize you're symbolism with England's Geo III, but I'll not include Washington in the dynasty of Bushdumb. Bush I had the stuff to go to WWII as a naval aviator and seems a nice enough guy and only as legally corrupt as rich, powerful people tend to be, but I never had any use for him, Bush II, well we all know how I feel about him. So, he's the probable end of the Bush dynasty and he's the 2nd Geo Bush so, George II.

After all, in America refering to a President like a King is a complete insult, whatever number.