Et tu, Felicus?

The arid feline writes: I’ve decided it is time to change parties. Yes, that’s right! And Vox Day can proudly claim credit for my epiphany. Vox has been advocating principles over practical reality for some time now. He has even taken to referring to the president as George Delano (as in Franklin Delano Roosevelt) over his moderate and statist postions on some issues.

Tha Kat is down with tha Voxsta again! Sounds good so far… whoops, spoke a little too soon.

Never mind the fact that I don’t live in a country with proportional representation. Never mind that in this democratic republic, third, fourth or fifth parties stand zip, zero, nada chance of holding any office above that of “dog catcher” (I LIKE that office, by the way). I don’t care, because principles are all that matters. In fact I intend to tailor my platform so narrowly that I am the only one that it will appeal to. Yessiree! I intend to stand on PRINCIPLE above all else. I shall proudly bear the title of “Principled Loser”.

Well, if you believe that winning is the only thing, that the end justifies the means and that holding power is the ultimate goal, it’s hard to argue with that logic. I’m just curious how this distinguishes one from Lombardi, Lenin, Mao, Bismarck and countless others who have preached the same message.

How great is that?! Since there is zero chance of my party ever holding office, I can mount my lofty perch and pontificate on the moral shortcomings of all those who duke it out in the trenches in the real world of politics. I can look down my nose and “TSK!” disapprovingly as cold calculations are made for the benefit of political advantage. Never will I be held accountable for the failures of my party’s administration, because my party will never find itself in that position. I’m immune in my lofty Ivory Tower from all accountability.

Looking past the occasional shortcoming and honest difference of opinion are one thing. But to attempt to justify support for a man whose Republicanism is almost entirely devoid of republicanism, who egregiously forswears his oath of office in almost every speech he gives and who governs in a manner nearly indistinguishable from Lyndon Baines Johnson, is a curious form of pragmatism indeed.

Almost every significant social change unrelated to economics and technologyy has begun with the actions of a single principled loser. I’d rather be called a loser than sacrifice my principles – I’ve seen far more men regret the latter than I’ve ever seen regret their failure to do so. However, please also note that I have no objection being used as a scratching post upon which the Cat sharpens his claws. If one’s beliefs cannot withstand the testing of one’s friends, they are not worth holding.

As for the notion that nothing can change in a two-party system, well, tell it to the Whigs.

Mailvox: another fallacy

EB writes: Vox I think you are making the Isolationist mistake. As much as Woodrow Wilson’s notions of Global Order were misguided so is the polar opposite idea of total foreign isolation. WWII and the rise of Hitler are perfect examples of how ignoring the problems of the world generally comes back to haunt us. If we leave Iraq and Afghanistan now the worst the islamofacist world has to offer will seize power. Instead of millions of allies we will have created millions of fanatical enemies. On top of that we will be making the same mistake Clinton did in Somolia.

If we were seriously concerned about ending future problems, we’d be invading France, Holland and Denmark. Islamic domination there will cause far more problems than where it has been established for 1300 years. Secondly, to conflate Iraq with Somalia is such an exaggeration as to border on complete intellectual dishonesty. Cutting and running after doing nothing but feeding a few people is hardly the same thing as pulling out after completely decapitating an entire regime after militarily conquering the whole country. Col. Qaddafi did not start quaking in his boots after Somalia, he did after Iraq. The message, such as it is, has been sent. It is the continuing occupation and not what should have been a victorious withdrawal that risks diluting it.

Furthermore, to suggest that Hitler wouldn’t have risen to power if the US had been more involved in Germany reveals an almost complete ignorance of the post-WWI situation. The problem in Germany was not a dearth of international involvement; Hitler’s rise fed off an understandable hatred of the crushing French-led international economic abuse of Germany that followed the war.

The false analogy

The equation of postwar Iraq with post-WWII Germany is just a terrible analogy.

1. Troops were initially stationed in Germany to provide basic police and border missions and after 1948, to prevent the Soviets from overrunning Western Europe. The force was formed in 1946 and known as the US Constabulary.

2. The foreign jihadists waging war against the Iraqi occupation don’t equate very well to the Nazi Kameraden of the Werewolf die-hards. Many of them weren’t in Iraq before or during the war and never had any loyalty to the now-deposed Baathist regime.

3. Iraq is only part of the Arab-Islamic world that opposes the US. It’s as if we conquered Bavaria and tried to declare game over in WWII by occupying it, except that this would be an exaggeration. Iraq, unlike Bavaria, was not the richest, most powerful or most influential part of the Arab-Islamic world, nor the territory from which violent Islamic expansion began.

4. Our troops are not, for the most part, actively involved in hunting down and eliminating the opposition in Iraq. Try talking to the actual soldiers instead of basing your opinons on what you think the troops there are doing. They spend far more time watching, tracking and defending and providing Constabulary-type services.

Mailvox: where and how did you get that?

RK writes: Now you’re indulging in the utopian fantasy of peace . . . never in the known history of civilization has there been global “peace,” and it isn’t going to start now. The problem with bringing all the troops home now, or at any other time, is that there is no other country or coalition of countries independent of the US both able and willing to step up and enforce a “mitigation of violence.” To imagine that we can “win the peace” in some kind of more or less stable and permanent way is utopian indeed, and I see no evidence that anyone in the Bush administration thinks so. Indeed, the President has warned repeatedly that the war against Islamic fundamentalism will be a long one, that may last decades or generations.

All I said was that soldiers couldn’t win the postwar peace, mostly because a) the “war”, such as it is, isn’t even close to being over and b) there is no such thing as peace, only brief respites between wars. This email reveals a strange lack of reading comprehension and presumes an assumption that is in direct opposition to my actual postulates. I actually wrote: “Stationing troops in 144 of the 191 U.N. member states around the world has not brought peace. History proves that no utopian vision, however sweeping, will ever bring a permanent peace.” Bringing them home won’t bring permanent peace either, but it will prevent the corruption of our military into a global police force less effective than the LAPD in South Central.

But if the US withdraws from it, it is a virtual certainty that the Jihadi movement will dominate much of the world, parts of it quickly, parts of it more slowly . . . is that a risk we want to take? There is no cheap, simple, easy, definitive solution to this war with the Jihadis, just as there is no cheap, simple, easy, definitive solution to the never-ending battle between civility and barbarity. War, not peace, is the natural and definitive condition of mankind. Episodes of relative peace are, in the long view of things, the aberrations. In the present conflict, there are two options: (a) the US coalition ultimately restrains, defeats, or diminishes the Jihaid movement to the point that it is no longer a threat to global or regional stability, or (b) the US abandons the fight, and the Jihadis win.

How can one seriously consider the conquest of a secular state with loose and minor ties to the Jihadi movement a serious restraint on it when the primary advocates, philosophers and funders of the movement are being ignored, even hailed as allies. I submit that the US is still, even now, not engaged in this particular conflict and the nature of the postwar Iraqi occupation demonstrates that those who thought that Iraq and Afghanistan were the first step in it were incorrect to believe so.

Mailvox: 4 not 5

The star was a typo, sorry about that. I haven’t had direct access to the administration site since WND was hacked and I didn’t even see the article until this morning, so I didn’t know there was a problem and even if I had there wasn’t anything I could do about it anyhow. I am no relation to Omar Bradley.

Mailvox: Totally missing the point

DC writes: Brilliant Vox…Official voices of Iran, al-Qaeda, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Saudi Arabia never had any issues with the United States of America before the EVIL Bush Administration came along, right??? Nice try, get real!!! If we bring our boys home…the war will be in your f’n front yard.

Did you miss the little bit about the war being declared on the United States since the 1970s? And perhaps it escapes you that the Bush administration is quite noticeably not fighting Iran, the PA, Hezbollah or Saudi Arabia? In fact, until very recently, the federal government was sending tens of millions of dollars to the PA.

The Bush administration is engaged the equivalent of invading and occupying Bavaria while leaving the rest of Nazi Germany alone. This leaves two choices. Either declare and fight the entire war properly or get out. There is no sign whatsoever that the administration or the nation are prepared to discuss, much less seriously consider the former, therefore the latter is the only logical solution.

Mailvox: he wants to jump

MDM writes: I just returned from Army Airborne School, where I had the pleasure of making some new friends in the Army and Marine Corps. One of the most talked about topics on discussion was, “people who support the troops and still say bring them home.” This is a contradictory statement if we have ever heard one. It’s like saying to journalists, “we support journalism just don’t finish your articles.” If you think that reads like nonsense, try asking some troops for yourself. After all, it’s my fellow troops asses that are on the line, shouldn’t the decision be left to us, if it is left up to anyone? By the way, I love your column so don’t think I am an ass. No 40K players are all that bad, now are they?

You can certainly disagree with me on a single issue without fear of being called an ass, MDM. But if you think there’s a contradiction there, what do you make of those troops who agree with me? And as much as I admire the US military and the fundamental good judgment of the American soldier, I don’t think military dictatorship is the answer to our political problems. That is essentially what you’re talking about here, although not in so many words. I would say that a better analogy would be: “we support journalism, please write about national sovereignty instead of the best way to rebuild the Iraqi economy.”

And I play Fantasy Battles, by the way.