February 18, 2003

Gene Healy Is Irked

Usually Gene Healy pounds his head against the wall in despair at the speed of the steady drift of the Bush Administration to war with Iraq. Today, however, he is just irked, and irked about something else:


genehealy.com: The Quest for Community: Certain phrases really irk me. I saw an ad recently for a Brooks Brothers' "Performance Polo" shirt. I understand "Performance" running shoes--but what is "Performance Polo" supposed to indicate? Something that won't tear when you hoist your Chardonnay?...

Posted by DeLong at February 18, 2003 02:34 PM | TrackBack
Comments

“Usually Gene Healy pounds his head against the wall in despair at the speed of the steady drift of the Bush Administration to war with Iraq.”

Huh? This process has been thoroughly debated at almost a snail’s pace. The consensus conclusion now is that Saddam Hussein must be dealt with in the very near future. That is both the moral--and prudent thing to do. Brad DeLong should take another look around him. Many neo-Liberals like Josh Marshall are starting, although somewhat reluctantly, to get on board with President Bush. Has our Berkeley economics professor lately also taken a look at Slate.com and The New Republic? DeLong will soon have only a few nut balls at the Cato Institute and Sean Penn to keep him company.
Oh gosh, I did forget about Susan Sarandon. i think she might live somewhere in California.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 18, 2003 03:33 PM

Like most of the world, I still fail to understand why this war is in the national interest of the US

The costs and the dangers are obvious:
- increased probability of islammic terrorism,
- financial and political cost of an occupation
- strain in the alliances
- direct financial cost of this war and of buying the goodwill of allies (look at Turkey)
- indirect impact on the economy.

Any idea of the benefits?
(Getting rid of Saddam is obviously a + for the Iraqis, but I am not sure it can be really described as part of the US national interest).

Posted by: Fberthol on February 18, 2003 03:57 PM

David Thomson wrote: "Huh? This process has been thoroughly debated [blah, blah, blah]"

And what does that have to do with "Performance Polo"? Does Saddam wear them? Susan Sarandon? Honest, I just don't know where you're going with this.

Posted by: Paul Callahan on February 18, 2003 03:59 PM

"The costs and the dangers are obvious:
- increased probability of islammic terrorism"

Nope, the islamic totalitarians respect only brute force. This is the only way of intimidating them. Anything else is perceived as appeasement. A Jimmy Carter America is a vulnerable nation. Is that what you want?

"And what does that have to do with "Performance Polo"? Does Saddam wear them? Susan Sarandon? Honest, I just don't know where you're going with this."

Hey, I'm just feeling sorry for this Gene Healy fellow. After all, I'm told that he is pounding "his head against the wall in despair at the speed of the steady drift of the Bush Administration to war with Iraq.” What can I tell you? Healey's IQ might be down to -50 if he keeps this up.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 18, 2003 06:07 PM

"the consensus conclusion" David? The Bushies' problem is precisely that there is no such consensus.

And if you think its been debated too much, I have a suggestion. Stop adding your bit.

Posted by: derrida derider on February 18, 2003 07:07 PM

DT wrote: "Nope, the islamic totalitarians respect only brute force."

Yeah. Sharon's brute force approach really works well.

And I seem to recall that we used 'brute force' in Afghanistan. Yet Al Qaeda and related groups are
still launching attacks.

So David. Just how many times does 'brute force' need to be applied before they start paying attention?

Posted by: Jon H on February 18, 2003 07:51 PM

“DT wrote: "Nope, the islamic totalitarians respect only brute force."

Yeah. Sharon's brute force approach really works well.

And I seem to recall that we used 'brute force' in Afghanistan. Yet Al Qaeda and related groups are
still launching attacks.

So David. Just how many times does 'brute force' need to be applied before they start paying attention?”

Gosh darn it, thank you for making my case for me. Indeed, Ariel Sharon’s use of brute force has significantly increased the safety of the Israelis. Any appearance of appeasement would have been interpreted as weakness by the Islamic fascists. The situation in Afghanistan has been greatly improved. So much so, that thousands of Afghans are moving back into the country. War can sometimes accomplish some wonderful things. Look what also happened to Nazi Germany and the Hirohito's Japan.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 19, 2003 02:06 PM

"Gosh darn it, thank you for making my case for me. Indeed, Ariel Sharon?s use of brute force has significantly increased the safety of the Israelis."

And yet they're still being attacked. Clearly, brute force hasn't stopped that.

" The situation in Afghanistan has been greatly improved. So much so, that thousands of Afghans are moving back into the country."

So? Good for Afghanistan, but has it stopped terrorist attacks? No. Bali and Kenya both occurred when,
according to your theory, terrorists should have been
cowed into submission after our show of brute force.

Oh, and some of those Afghans moving back are probably Taliban/Al Qaeda.

Again, David. When is our use of brute force going to start being 'understood'?

It's not like actual nation-states are a threat to us. It's the stateless terrorists who are a threat to us. But 'brute force' hasn't stopped them yet.

There's not much evidence to support your theory. Your attitude is the same as a parent who is unable to conceive
of any means of discipline other than beating the crap
out of the kids. But that doesn't work very well either.

Posted by: Jon H on February 19, 2003 02:48 PM

"So? Good for Afghanistan, but has it stopped terrorist attacks?"

Of course not. The at least metaphorical reality of Original Sin will forevermore remain alive and well on planet Earth. We will always be challenged by thugs and moral monsters. If we followed your premise to its logical conclusion---we would get rid of our police departments! After all, crime never entirely disappears. The police are deemed successful if they severely limit the opportunities of those inclined towards criminal behavior. The same holds true regarding evil dictators like Saddam Hussein. We must deal with him today knowing full well that in the future another one will take his place. That’s the real world. Did somebody tell you something different? If so, they lied to you.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 20, 2003 06:34 PM

Okay, DT. You're all over the place. We have to go to war because 'they only understand brute force', and yet, you say it won't actually make any difference.

Which is to say, your argument for using brute force doesn't seem to hold water. It's not actually a
deterrent, though you claimed it is.

Someone stated:
" - increased probability of islammic terrorism"

which you tried to rebut with:

"Nope, the islamic totalitarians respect only brute force. This is the only way of intimidating them. Anything else is perceived as appeasement."

Clearly, you are saying that brute force will cut down on terrorism.

However, it doesn't, as shown by Bali and Kenya. The terrorists clearly were not intimidated by the use of brute force against Afghanistan.

You responded by saying that all is peachy in Afghanistan. But that wasn't your claim. Afghanistan is quiet because Al Qaeda and the Taliban were chased out. ie, they're not there anymore. But they haven't stopped taking part in terrorist attacks.

Yeah, there might not be much terrorism IN IRAQ after we take it over, but that's not the concern. The concern is, will there be terrorism against the US on the mainland or elsewhere.

You have failed to substantiate your claim that the use of "brute force" will be effective at intimidating the Islamist terrorists into giving up on attacking us.

You might want to consider giving up that little pipe dream.

Posted by: Jon H on February 21, 2003 10:54 PM

"Okay, DT. You're all over the place. We have to go to war because 'they only understand brute force', and yet, you say it won't actually make any difference."

I said it will not solve everything. There is no such thing as a complete victory over evil. We can only increase the odds in our favor and limit the opportunities of those wishing to do us harm. Police departments do not stop all crimes; the military does not deter all of our nation's enemies. Nonetheless, the situation would be far more worse without their relentless efforts.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 21, 2003 11:10 PM
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