Monday, June 20, 2005

I don't see the Democrats gaining ground anytime soon

Something pointed out by commenters over at The Anchoress is the difference between the way the Republican Party dealt with Trent Lott (who got too effusive at a birthday party) and the way Democrats are dealing with Dick Durbin. (If you say, "Dick who?" then you are pretty much quoting every prominent Democrat who has been asked about Durbin's comments.) This, I think, says a lot about why the marginalization of the Democrats has done nothing but gain momentum over the last few years, to the point where they are ceasing to serve as an effective counterbalance to the Republicans. We could actually see a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the near future if the Democrats don't right the ship in a big way. Why aren't the Democratic Presidential hopefuls taking this opportunity? It's a golden opportunity -- you can move to the center with a gesture that's largely symbolic. Why, why isn't Hillary speaking up in support of the troops here? Is moderation really such a pariah in the Democratic Party these days? I just don't understand what they're thinking, ESPECIALLY Hillary, whose only shot at the White House is her ongoing reinvention as a moderate. How can she be letting the moment slip away with "no comment"? ???? ???? I don't understand these people.

I had a vaguely negative impression of Gitmo three weeks ago, before the AI report came out, never having bothered to go investigate the issue too carefully. But I've spent the last three weeks trying to find out what's going on, and I'm pretty honked off with Bush and Company at this point -- where the hell does our government get off feeding these guys better than they feed our troops?

We are treating those bastards (all of whom, as far as I can tell, were captured on a battlefield, in the act of trying to shoot American soldiers) a helluva lot better than they deserve to be treated. I don't have a huge objection to it -- but if you're going to complain about Gitmo, and your complaint doesn't have to do with the fact that we've let people go without being 100% certain that they weren't going to go back to trying to kill us, then you seem to me to have a somewhat tenuous grasp on reality.

Geneva Convention? Come on, the point of the Geneva Convention is to encourage people to play by the rules; if you say, "You can have the protection of the Geneva Convention even when you yourself flout the rules," then what sort of incentive to good behavior have you left the Geneva Convention? If you can join in a war on the side that openly and shamelessly blows up women and children, tortures kidnap victims, saws people's heads off for daring to take jobs as policemen, and in every other way imaginable spits on the Geneva Convention, and yet you can still claim protection from the Geneva Convention when you yourself are captured, then what possible reason would you have for following the rules? A law that you can break without punishment is not a law at all; it is a bad joke. The more you care about the Geneva Convention, it seems to me, the more passionately you must oppose the extension of the GC's protections to terrorists and those who fight, uniformless, at their side.

As far as the propaganda damage: if you don't already hate the U.S., you can see through the Newsweek b.s. to see how above and beyond the call of duty the U.S. has gone in its treatment of these guys. If you do hate the U.S., then any stick will do to beat 'em with, if not Gitmo, then something or anything else. If Gitmo were closed tomorrow, Newsweek and Al-Jazeera and the Daily Kos would be complaining the day after tomorrow that Bush reads the Bible every day and only reads the Koran -- sorry, the Qu'ran -- once a month or so, a clear sign of his hidden Crusader agenda to convert all the Muslims in the Arab world to Roman Catholicism, as his Jewish masters have ordered him to do...or whatever. If your goal is to get Al Jazeera and Michael Moore to stop running around using gross distortions of fact to say that God likes Satan more than he likes W, then in comparison with you Don Quixote was the soberest of realists. Newsweek and Dick Durbin and the lunatic Wahabbi clerics will find something to condemn George Bush for; and their fellow Bush-haters will believe them no matter how absurd the condemnation.

So, they're gonna slam you anyway; why not at least be the one who chooses the battleground? Gitmo is clearly not something for which the U.S. and her soldiers deserve condemnation. Why not leave it there so that the propagandists can continue to attack it, thus destroying their credibility with the reasonable persons in the middle who are actually the key to long-term success?

Really, I am prejudiced against W, having had him as governor before I had him as President, and I had a generally negative impression of Gitmo. But then this whole AI and Durbin flap got me interested to see just how bad it was. And what did I discover? That the prisoners routinely gain weight. That they are provided with personal copies of the Qu'ran, handled by the guards literally with gloves. That there are more documented cases of prisoners' mishandling the Qu'ran than of guards'. That the food is better than the rations given to soldiers in the field. That nobody has come close to dying, even the guy who we know was to be the 20th hijacker. That even a media so desperate to make Bush look bad that it will run unconfirmed stories from anonymous sources, can find no "anti-Muslem" abuse worse than some grunt's taking a leak outside and having a few drops accidentally blow through a vent to land on a prisoner's US-issued copy of the Qu'ran. I mean, I can VERY easily imagine myself doing something like that; it's a pretty minimal amount of airheadedness that's required. And even then, the airheaded grunt's immediate officer promptly reprimands him, reassigns him, and issues a new Qu'ran and set of clothes to the prisoner.

So now I'm thinking, "Wow, Gitmo is actually something for the Shrub to brag about."

In other words, thanks to the hysterical ravings of the Bush-haters, I've come away more of a Bush-supporter than I was to begin with.

The thing is, if Karl Rove is the evil genius that Democrats seem to think he is, then he's doing to the far left with Gitmo exactly what he's doing to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is the same thing the Algars do to the Murgos in David Eddings's amusing and light-hearted Belgariad series. The Algars don't live in towns; they are nomadic horsemen. They build, however, an immense fortress out in the middle of the steppe. Its only purpose is so that when their none-too-bright enemies the Murgos decide to attack, the Algars won't have to go wandering across the steppe trying to figure out where the Murgos are -- they'll be camped around the stronghold trying to capture a fortress where nobody lives. And therefore they will be easy for the Algars to deal with; as no time will be wasted in hunting them down and they'll all be in one nice big readily massacred mob.

In Iraq, Bush has given Al-Qaeda a target that they can't help but attack, but where they also can't do anything but lose. Iraq has been a propaganda disaster of the first order for Al-Qaeda, which has shown a severe inability to kill Americans AND a startling (to Al-Jazeera's Arab-world audience) readiness to kill Iraq women and children. It's a bait that Al-Qaeda ought not take, but they can't help themselves.

I'm starting to think Rove is doing the same thing to the lunatic Democrat fringe with Gitmo: they can't help but attack it, but the more noise they make about it, the more curious the ordinary middle-of-the-road American is going to be about what's really going on. And the more the average American goes and finds out what's really going on -- like I've spent the last couple of weeks doing -- the more insane the fringe appears. And, presumably, the more Rove grins to himself inside his dark lair.

Would somebody PLEASE give me a decent alternative to both Shrub and the Howard Dean freak show? This is all very disheartening to my Libertarian soul.


At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Aubrey Niemeier said...

I''m familiar with this subject too

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