Sunday, July 31, 2005

Who remembers Dudley Doright?

On July 28th, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave an interview to Jim Lehrer of NPR's News Hour. It was the usual political bob and weave, but Spotty perked up his ears at one part of the interview particularly:
JIM LEHRER: What about the additional element here that, increasingly, terrorism experts and Muslim experts are saying that the combination of Iraq and other foreign policy decisions by the United States are actually creating more terrorists every day than they are eliminating them.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: When we are going to stop making excuses for the terrorists? The terrorists on Sept. 11 attacked the United States. We weren't in Iraq. We weren't even in Afghanistan on Sept. 11.
No, Condi sweetie, but we were in Saudi Arabia and countless other places in the Middle East, usually supporting repressive Arab regimes. We weren't "in" Iraq, but we sure were around it, lobbing bombs and missiles with some regularity. But maybe most significant all, was the uncritical US support of Israel and its treatment of the Occupied Territories; Arabs see the consequences of this on TV all the time, and they don't fail to take notice.
They have attacked in places that had no forces in either place. They've attacked all over the world. They've attacked in Morocco and in Bali and in Egypt and in London and in Madrid.
And in every case, the attacks were against what were perceived as western interests or proxies.
When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists and saying that somebody is making them do it? No, these are simply evil people who want to kill. And they want to kill in the name of a perverted ideology that really is not Islam, but they somehow want to claim that mantle to say that this is about some kind of grievance. This isn't about some kind of grievance. This is an effort to destroy, rather than to build.

And until everybody in the world calls it by name -- the evil that it is -- stops making excuses for them, then I think we're going to have a problem. And I hope that after the bombings of innocent people in London, innocent people at Sharm el-Sheikh, innocent children in Iraq, that people will call this by name and stop making excuses for these people.
The notion that there is a free floating force called evil is an ancient one. It is a useful notion, because it is a sure fire way to cut off debate about a difficult subject, and especially when you are trying to deflect any examination of your own conduct or decisions. If you can reduce a group of people to evil, the Other, then anybody who tries to criticize you is just plain crazy and immoral. Who's your witch doctor, Condi?

When George Bush began to speak of evildoers, it had an odd ring to an old dog like Spotty. He eventually figured it out: the cartoon Mountie Dudley Doright used to rail the against the evildoers all the time. A coincidence? Spotty doesn't think so.

We will continue to have a problem so long as we think we are fighting the boogie man.
No one is making them do it. They're doing it because they want to create chaos and to undermine our way to life.
People (and dogs) who are opposed to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq largely understand something that Condi apparently doesn't; the US cannot make the terrorists stop. We can huff and puff and rant and rave, but as more and more people are figuring out, it is non-productive or even counter-productive. But gee, that sounds so unfair! Maybe so, but we live in the world of "is" not "ought."

As far as ways of life are concerned, Islamic militants are a lot more concerned about how they perceive western influence, rightly or wrongly, to affect their way of life than they are concerned about our way of life. In fact, the militants are simply engaged in the same evildoer rhetoric that we are.

So, the smart things to do would be to adopt a crash program to reduce dependence on oil from the Mideast, spend money domestically to protect chemical and nuclear plants and our ports, and get out of Iraq now before we grind our armed forces into dust finer than the sand in which it is presently mired in a unwinnable war of attrition. Iraq is already descending into civil war. Iraq will inevitably follow the path of Yugoslavia when the repressive communist regime collapsed. The bright lights in Washington should have figured that out before we lit the power keg.

Oh yes, and one thing more. We could make our good friends the Israelis (and Spotty says that absolutely genuinely and without a trace of irony, really) deal fairly - and even humanely - with the Palestinians. The land grab on the West Bank under the Sharon government is shameful. It is often the case the oppressed and abused became the abusers and oppressors.

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