Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A friend of mine wrote me an email today that I won't reproduce, mostly because I'm lazy. But in the course of writing my response to him, I figured some things out, and, more importantly, was kind of funny. If I were a real writer, I'd take those nuggets, polish them up and find an appropriate setting for them. But I'm not. I'm a blogger, so I'm going to just paste in the letter.

I read an article about Google a few weeks back that said their corporate mission statement was, basically, "Don't be evil." Wouldn't it be nice if our foreign policy was based on that as well?

I can't argue with anything you say, though there is a layer I'd add to the talk of Palestine and Palestinians, something to evoke my frustration with the "government" of Palestine's continuous refusal to act like a nation, choosing instead to lash out, squandering energy on hatred and violence that could be directed to more productive, more nurturing ends. It's a war where the only heroes seem to be the medics who rush in to save lives, regardless of creed or nation. That's a credo I can support: stem the flow of blood.

Are there heroes in war? I think there can be. I'm not a pacifist; I think war is sometimes good, and sometimes necessary. But I've spent my entire life trying to learn how to express anger appropriately, and think there's a similar discipline required to do what is necessary in war, then get the hell out before you get caught up in the endlessly escalating cycle of violence and retribution.

I don't know what the right thing to do about Iraq is, but I do know that the burden of proof must rest on those who want to start shooting, and I, for one, am not persuaded. I know few people who are. And even if there are good arguments to be made for invading Iraq, the people who will be running the invasion aren't the ones making them. Hitchens is. The hard part, the dangerous part, is not the invasion, it's the aftermath, and I haven't heard a damn word about it from the folks who are supposed to be in charge.

At the same time, it's exhausting to think about. I've spent my entire life loving my country, researching the minutiae of politic and policy because I take my voting rights seriously and want to make the right choice, and along comes some knuckle-dragging moron who sees the dissent that I've struggled with, fought over, stayed awake with, who seems my dissent and calls me a traitor. That's bad enough from some idiot at the bar, but now it's coming from the New York Sun, the Washington Post, and from in front of the blue curtain in the west wing of the White House.

We have a president who thinks his favorite political philosopher is Jesus, and that he has the right to bomb people on the other side of the world against the will of the world and his own people. We have a vice president who lets company lobbyists write legislation, then cries executive priviledge when we ask for names. We have an attorney general who thinks every amendment in the Bill of Rights except the 2nd should be suspended on his say-so. I mean, Jesus, Bob Barr of all people thinks they've gone too far!

At this point, the only aesthetic response that works for me is to believe with all my heart that when Douglas Adams died, God promoted him immediately to head writer.

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