The Question of The Hour

Jim Henley takes me to ask in the comments section of this earlier post:

John, maybe by “gloating” Matt means that this site and others would become an orgy of “find the most disagreeable things our opponents have to say” items, ignoring more thoughtful and even positive items on places like Crooked Timber, Thomas L. Knapp’s site, The Agitator and Political Animal, to name a few. At least Chrenkoff and Vincent are able to devote the bulk of their energy to expressing their enthusiasm for the event itself. All you seem to manage is carping about your enemies. Can’t YOU take any more pleasure in events than your betes-noires? Is the extra sleep doing you so little good?

A fair question- here is my response.

Because when I woke up this morning and found out that the elections had gone off as good as or better than I had ever expected, I was ecstatic. Granted, it was horrible that 33 people were killed (for wanting to vote- that makes it pretty clear the scum we are dealing with), but the event itself eclipses their deaths.

I didn’t and don’t view this election as a complete vindication of the Bush doctrine, I didn’t and don’t think this election mean that we can withdraw are troops tomorrow (which we can all agree is a chief long-term goal), and I didn’t and don’t think Iraq is going to be New Hampshire tomorrow. I viewed the election as a very positive step in the right direction, and I felt relief and happiness.

I felt like we dodged a bullet, and I felt happy for all those who were able to vote. And then I started reading the left wing blogs, starting with Matt, who had nothing but a snotty post up dismissing the elections. Then I went around to the other lefty sites, and rather than celebrating along with everyone else, I saw snotty post after snotty post by people either dismissing the election, struggling desparately for a way to dismiss them, or in Oliver’s case, just being a jerk.

Add to that the mainstream media attempts to frame this election prior as a failure prior to one vote being cast, and I got pissed. I started to wonder- when did the Democrats become the Dick Tuck Society for Sore Losers (“The people have spoken, the bastards.”)? How do you possibly frame this election in a negative light?

But they did, and I blogged about their disgusting transgressions. If my documenting their behavior counts as ‘gloating,’ then we have redefined the term and I am guilty of some major league gloating. My apologies.

However, let me say it again- I am thrilled about the outcome, although I fully expect a wave of violence in the upcoming weeks and months. More soldiers are going to die. And the country may never see Democracy. But I will wait for that bad news, should it come. Right now is for celebrating, and I wish my friends on the left could get rid of their bitterness and join in.

And in case any Democrats who think this election was all a sham and that things were better off under Saddam Hussein, let me point out one little difference between what is going on in Iraq now as opposed to 3 years ago. We dipped their finger in purple ink after arranging the first free election in 50 years. Saddam Hussein hammered nails into their fingers and hands.

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22 replies
  1. 1

    Here’s reason #2: Because for the last six decades the Left has been pissing and moaning about how this or that government was an authoritarian dictatorship which didn’t represent the wishes of its people. So the US deposed a dictator and sponsored elections in that country. Is the Left happy? No, and their reaction makes it obvious that they could give two shits about any nasty Third Worlders if helping them out polishes a southern Republican’s resume.

  2. 2
    Greg says:

    I too was thrilled to see the elections take place and posted my thoughts about this day. Don’t let the left take away the beauty and optimism of this day.

  3. 3
    Tom Paine says:

    “…didn’t and don’t think this election mean that we can withdraw are troops tomorrow (which we can all agree is a chief long-term goal)…”

    What nonsense! It took 50 years of American occupation to finally civilize those European barbarians after WW2! (In fact we did it too well — they’ve actually become decadent wimps.)

    And now you want us to pull out of Iraq before we finally civilize the oldest civilization on earth!

    In the words of Glenn the Great…

    “Heh” !!!

    Tom Paine

  4. 4
    Dean Esmay says:

    Yeah, my own hope is we’ll have basing in Iraq for some time.

    That said: seriously now, most of the pro-war bloggers I’ve seen were content merely to celebrate. But whatever.

  5. 5
    nick says:

    and when is the election in Rwanda?

    oh, hey have no oil or fake WMD either!

  6. 6
    derek says:

    Hey Nick.

    3 words.
    Tin. Foil. Hat.

    Because it’s all about the oil right?

    By the way, you may want to direct your question to the previous administration.

  7. 7
    Kimmitt says:

    Because it’s all about the oil right?

    The thing is, it can’t be about the democracy, because Bush’s complete indifference to human rights abroad or nation-building before 9/11 makes this more or less impossible.

  8. 8
    derek says:

    Michael,

    I see where you’re going with this, so I’m going to stop you before it’s too late.

    You’re trying to use the excuse that Iraqi democracy is impossible because George Bush is against ‘nation building’. This comment would have some validity in the past, if it wasnt for two commercial airplanes that exploded into the WTC.

    As for George Bushs complete disregard for human rights, Im afraid Im not sure what you meanAre you referring to Abu Ghraib?

  9. 9
    space says:

    And in case any Democrats who think this election was all a sham and that things were better off under Saddam Hussein,

    Wow! Talk about strawmen!

    Can I ask a serious question? Do you people ever feel the slightest bit of embarassment at accusing 1/2 the country of “siding with terrorists” and “thinking things were better off under Saddam”? I mean really. I would feel pretty fucking stupid making accusations like that. But that’s just me.

  10. 10
    Kimmitt says:

    You’re trying to use the excuse that Iraqi democracy is impossible because George Bush is against ‘nation building’.

    No, what I’m saying is that whatever the reason for the invasion of Iraq is, it isn’t democracy, because people don’t suddenly acquire an entire fully formed Wilsonian crusade mentality after a lifetime of opposition. It just doesn’t happen.

  11. 11
    derek says:

    I’m not accusing half of America of ‘siding with terrorists’.

    However, I am accusing half of America of swallowing the verbal sewage that popular mascots like to rant about.

    Remember, the Iraqi revolution is being fought by the minuteman.

  12. 12
    Derek says:

    because people don’t suddenly acquire an entire fully formed Wilsonian crusade mentality after a lifetime of opposition

    I’m glad you’ve cleared that up. For a second I thought the elections were really happening, but it turns out it was all blue screened.

    Besides, the elections don’t really mean anything.

    Anyways…what did you mean about Bush’s human rights indifference? I honestly want to know.

  13. 13
    Sinbad says:

    Kimmit illustrates (probably inadvertantly) what is rapidly becoming a defining characteristic of the American left, namely, obsessing about motives at the expense of actual results.

    Say for the sake of argument we’re not in the Middle East for democracy’s own sake; suppose we’re actually there in pursuit of some long-term national security or energy policy goals. So what? Regardless of why Bush went, he’s replaced two murderous thugocracies with nascent democracies. Surely, even if one disagrees with the whys and the wherefores and the motives of the administration, one can concede that the results are by-and-large a positive?

    But no, not on the left: as Bush’s motives are open to question (and just question, as nobody has actually shown to any degree of proof that the guy’s insincere about wanting, in the post-9/11 world, to spread democracy and further humanitarian causes), everything his administration does is tainted.

    It’s pretty sad, really. It’s probably also why the left keeps losing elections: fewer and fewer people meet the left’s requirements for purity of motives.

  14. 14
    Kimmitt says:

    For a second I thought the elections were really happening, but it turns out it was all blue screened.

    Again, you’re reading too much into what I said. Whether or not democratization is the only politically feasible option now, I cannot believe that it was a serious factor in the decision to invade. Bush’s actions are simply too inconsistent with this in countries that we haven’t invaded.

    Anyways…what did you mean about Bush’s human rights indifference?

    I don’t want to get into another discussion of “what is torture,” but it’s pretty clear that Alberto Gonzales’s nomination is a strong sign of the Administration’s view on basic human rights.

    That said, the single largest thing that puts this over for me was the Administration’s semi-endorsement of the military coup against Chavez in Venezuela. A true commitment to democracy involves sucking it up and backing people you find odious, because they really do represent the wills of their people.

  15. 15
    derek says:

    Michael,

    I’m taking your posts at face value. You clearly said:

    it can’t be about the democracy, because Bush’s complete indifference to human rights abroad or nation-building before 9/11 makes this more or less impossible.

    Before 9/11. Key point. We are now four years post 9/11.

    Do I wish Bush would stand firm on his rhetoric and not take bullshit from other terrorist nations?

    Absolutely.

    That said, I still stand strong that Iraq is a great starting point for Middle Eastern influence. Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon are already taking notice of what is going on. I truly believe that good has, and will continue to come out of this.

  16. 16
    Kimmitt says:

    Before 9/11. Key point. We are now four years post 9/11.

    Right, which is why I think that Bush’s rhetoric post-9/11 represents cynical manipulation, rather than an actual change in policy.

    Again, if you look at countries that the US hasn’t invaded, it’s pretty clearly business-as-usual; we support dictators when they are convenient (Mubarrak, Karimov) and undermine democratic leaders where they are inconvenient (Chavez).

  17. 17
    ray says:

    We haven’t invaded France. Which, of course, is another thing to fault Bush for.

  18. 18
    Kimmitt says:

    Hey, I hated France before hating France was cool.

    Posers.

  19. 19
    Gary Farber says:

    “Then I went around to the other lefty sites….”

    It would make a great deal of difference if you would say “some other lefty sites,” rather than “the lefty sites.”

    Of course, since you didn’t, I can castigate you for not having read all the lefty sites with the same logic you castigated Sullivan with for not having read every post on Powerline, and yet dared to comment.

    But I won’t, because that would be silly.

    As a trivial point, although I certainly wouldn’t put myself into the same plane of success in numbers of readers, of course, as Matt, Drumm, Atrios, Kos, Tom Tomorrow, or various others, I am an Evil Kerry Voter, who has little good to say of George Bush, and I neither carped nor spoke ill of the Iraqi election on my blog. I didn’t say anything at all, because I have nothing original to say about it. I could have said some anodyne variant of something someone else said, but that seemed quite pointless to me. Just saying.

  20. 20
    derek says:

    So the United States should invade every country with dictators.

    That’s such a typical liberal defence.

    You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.

    I suppose we should just load up a sqaudron of F16’s and bomb the shit out of Syria, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

    Would that be better?

  21. 21
    Kimmitt says:

    So the United States should invade every country with dictators.

    No; we should stop sending billions of dollars of aid to dictators, and we should stop seeking to undermine democratically elected leaders. The US has neither the military strength to invade every authoritarian regime nor the capacity to guarantee that what comes after would not be even worse.

    That’s such a typical liberal defence.

    Look, you’ve consistently misinterpreted each of my posts in this thread in order to shoehorn them into some kind of strawman argument, and I’ve been pretty civil. I request that you both read my posts carefully and return the favor of civility.

  22. 22
    Kimmitt says:

    But now that Bush and the right have embraced nation building,

    I missed this part; the problem is that while the Right may have theoretically embraced nation building, the Left knows two things:

    1) The interest will last precisely as long as:
    a) it is politically useful to beat down liberals, and
    b) a conservative is in power.

    2) Because the right is profoundly wrong about how a civil society can be structured, their grand experiments are doomed to failure, after costing ridiculously large amounts of money and many lives. This will have the nasty side effect of making it impossible for lefties to engage in nation-building in the future.

    Better not to start something which is likely to end very badly and which upends the stability of a worldwide system of US hegemony.

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