Swallowing spiders

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Not all genocidal bad guys are Adolf Hitler. Even when/if they reach that level of industrial death. It should be obvious that historical analogy gets you only so far. Our favorite failed PM candidate, Iggy, built a good chunk of his fame on peddling a widely-accepted concept—-that when faced with a bad set of choices, you should choose the least bad—-as the latest greatest panacea, except that the “Lesser Evil” always seems to be whatever the elite consensus is, for some reason. Maybe they’re just smarter than the rest of us.

Except, the world is apparently about to embark once again on an old favorite: bombing Iraq! This time, the latest neo-Hitler is the Islamic State.

Last time I wrote about this (which I guess was my previous post, I’ve been busy!), it was a lamentation that the Iraq war had been piling up consequences, one of these being the forward march of yet another would-be Leader of the Faithful, this time signalled by a genocidal campaign against the Yazidi minority. I didn’t write that just to flog the “ChimpyBush” dead horse or to demand a gold star for my (and other Iraq War II opponents’) prescience. What I wanted to know is whether we had learned the lessons of that campaign and why it was a bad idea.

The pushback I got was interesting. Some of them who supported it back then didn’t seem to feel that they had made a mistake given what they knew back then. No shortage of reporting showed that Saddam Hussein was an atrocious ruler. But that’s the point. We seem to be trapped, perhaps because we feel we owe our modern world to the defeat of Hitler, in the belief that every maniacal ruler is Hitler and the solutions to all these problems must be the same. And we’re all supposed to be little Churchills, except for those who dissent, who are cowardly appeasing Chamberlains.

I am here to tell you, once again, that not every conflict is World War II.

The Islamic State is full of nasty characters and it does nasty things, but it is a product of machinations of exterior political forces and the political vacuum that was created by toppling Saddam Hussein. This is a vacuum that must be filled by something. It would be nice if we could now discuss the shape of that vacuum and what must fill it.

But instead, it looks like more bombing is in the cards, with a situation so comically complicated that it is not at all clear what it would achieve. It’s depressing.

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on September 14, 2014 1:28 PM.

Politics in the raw was the previous entry in this blog.

Things fall apart: or, Scotland rising is the next entry in this blog.

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