Monday, March 20, 2006

It's Nothing Personal

Of the Iraq war, putzdit Howie asdfghj has this to say in today's Washington Post:

For some liberal pundits, it's payback time. For some conservative commentators, it's time for uncomfortable explanations. For the rest of us, it's the best show in town.

And this:

But this is no high-minded debate about military strategy and ancient religious hatreds. It is an old-fashioned smackdown by those who detest George W. Bush against those who once defended him. (Link)

News, Howie: it's not always personal. For instance, the serious debate over the war has nothing to do with loving Bush or hating him, except for some immature people inside the Beltway (including, frankly, you). The debate over the war has to do with the debate over the God-damned war: brave Americans coming home crippled, families torn apart, a nation devastated, our strength played out to the point that we have few options for confronting Iraq. Stuff like that.

Nor, for that matter, is the Feingold censure resolution about Bush, or Feingold, except for some imature people inside the Beltway (including, frankly, you). It's about checks and balances, respect for the Constitution, effectively fighting the war on terrorists instead of diluting it, reinforcing that we are a nation of laws. Stuff like that. What it's NOT about is a man who was always just a front-man for larger forces anyway and who cannot run again anyway, or a man who is being undercut at every turn by larger forces and is going to run anyway but not until two years from now.

History is not a proxy for the personal egos of Beltway insiders. It's the thing, itself. And the way to assess historical events is from that perspective, not from the perspective of a Washington gossip columnist.

So, Howie, and the rest of you pundits and "journalists" who are squandering your platforms while wondering why people don't read newspapers anymore: pay a little attention to the grand sweep of things. Set the election-year cynicism aside, especially since it's not even an election year yet. Yes, personal politics influence politicans' decisions, but that's not the measure of their positions' worth. When politicians argue over a divisive war, focus on the merits or demerits of their arguments, not on the little pissing contests and turf wars that may partly underlie them. When Bush breaks the law, focus on the law, not on Bush. When Feingold moves to censure the President, focus on censure, not on Feingold. You're writing the First Draft of History, Right?

So start writing that for a change.


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