Monday, August 27, 2007

My Appointed Rounds

Danger Room on Blackwater's purchase of attack aircraft:

On one hand, it's not a surprise that Blackwater is getting into this game, given that counter-insurgency aircraft are making a big comeback. But it's still a rather significant precedent (and that perhaps is an understatement) to have a private company in the U.S....offer training services on an attack aircraft.
PHK on the domino theory:
When I worked at the US Embassy in Bangkok from 1973-5 and observed the evacuations of our missions from Vietnam and Phnom Penh that final spring, conservative domino theory fingers wagged virulently threatening the imminent onslaught of the future Communist apocalypse.
Molly Ivors on Iraq:
As it happens, I do believe that a political rather than a military solution is the sole hope for some sort of balanced peace, and obviously the political structure is not in place to achieve that. But whose fault is that? The purple-finger people? The people who voted in what they thought were their best interests? Or the crowds of twelve-year-old bureaucrats who treated Iraq as their own personal sampo, determined to remake it as some freakish cross between Gilead, Colorado Springs, and the Marianas Islands?
Auguste on tolerance:
[T]he current jingoism is a whole new kind of wrong. It’s morally wrong, it’s strategically wrong, it’s wrong about human nature, it’s wrong about Democracy, it’s simply utterly wrong, and it’s the kind of wrong that gets people killed. Lots and lots of people killed. That’s the kind of wrong you don’t “agree to disagree on” and you don’t “respect the opinion.”

Anyone has the right to express any opinion they want. They don’t have the right to expect that borderline-genocidal opinions will be met with anything other than people calling them [pace Atrios] “pretty hideous human being[s], one[s] which all good people should shun.” Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that we ought to be polite to defenders of empire.
David Roberts on fear:
Fear causes fairly predictable reactions, which do not include international cooperation, equitable distribution of resources, cost-benefit analysis on a multidecadal scale, and short-term sacrifice in the service of long-term problem-solving. They do include increased xenophobia, reactionary moralism, and susceptibility to demagogues.

That is to say, the language of fear intrinsically serves the needs of authoritarian-leaning politics, regardless of the fear's particular object.
(Photo from BLDGBLOG's amazing feature on the Drains of Canada.)

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