AND NOW WE PLAY THE WAITING GAME…

Something struck me whilst typing up yesterday's post, re: bouncing ball logic and moving goalposts in Iraq. There was some sort of malaise coming over me, as if I had to force a little bile out of the ducts. While I initially attributed this to the mononucleosis/bronchitis tag-team, reality struck me quite suddenly: I have Iraq Fatigue. Not only do I have Iraq Fatigue, but the Bill Kristols and Dick Perles of the world have been waiting for me to get it.

Now, by "me" I of course mean "us." Call me cynical, but….does it strike you as entirely possible that the AEI-types who spent the better part of the 1990s planning this war assumed that they can simply outlast their opposition? And are they right?

The more I think about Iraq these days, the less I have to say about it. What more can I, or anyone else for that matter, possibly do except state the bleedlingly obvious – and do so for the upteenth time? It is a cluster-fuck. It is a failure. Nothing that was initially predicted has materialized. All of the legitimate concerns that were initially voiced have manifested themselves with a vengance. The violence isn't abating. The president is an utter moron. The pre-war "intelligence" failures are either a case of malicious manipulation or inexcusable, criminal idiocy.

All of the war cheerleading dead-enders are immune to these and any other facts. And the essential facts don't change. Another day, another 100 corpses in Baghdad, another car-bombing, another couple of dead American soldiers, another idiotic series of pronouncements from the Liebermccain crowd about how we're just starting to make progress and need A Few More Months. We wake up, pound away at the keyboards with a slightly-altered version of yesterday's (or last week's, or last summer's, or 2003's) elucidation of these same points, the words bounce off our mentally-challenged wingnut bretheren, and then we wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. I lose my enthusiasm for it at some point.

Was that the goal all along? This is how wingnuts, cranks, and denialists argue. And this is how they win. We here in the Reality-Based Community are constrained by logic and facts. They are limited only by the expansiveness of their imaginations and the breadth of the asses from which they pull their facts. They say something retarded, we carefully refute it. They say something else retarded, we put effort into refuting that too. We grow tired of the childishness of the repartee. They, having the intellect of children, never tire of it. All the while we subconsciously dignify their idiotic viewpoints by responding and thus validating them as Fodder for Public Discourse. And the usual conclusion (see: Global Warming skeptics) is to wait until respectable people stop dignifying the stupidity with responses – and then declare victory. We Won, because the Ivory Tower intellectuals can't (read: won't/are sick of) debate us!

But what if the strategy here was to stupidly, stubbornly, and naively repeat the same things over and over until everyone – pundits, politicians, and public alike – got so sick of pointing out the obvious responses that they stopped caring altogether? What if the strategy was simply to say Six More Months every six months until the words lacked all credibility? In fact, until the words became so prima facie ridiculous and false that people paid no attention whatsoever?

The president has, in essence, taken hostages. He's standing there with the gun pressed to the temples or the innocent Iraqi civilians caught up in this disaster, and he doesn't give a flying shit whether or not they live or die. We do. Neocons don't. The hostage-taker's demands are simple: let me do what I want or the girl gets it. If we leave now, the price will be paid almost entirely by the civilians who will be caught in the crossfire of the sectarian slaughter. He knows it. So do we. And thereby, one could argue (in fact, I think I just did), has the entirety of America become anesthetized to Iraq as an issue. No more front-page stories, no more opinion columns (we have to devote them to more important things like a stillborn, milquetoasty immigration bill), and no more bile. We know the facts, and we've come to realize that no amount of repetition of said facts is going to affect the War Cheerleaders.

In real-life hostage situations, the police always have the inherent advantage because they can simply wait. Everyone needs to sleep eventually. In this situation, unfortunately, the exact opposite has proven true.

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8 Responses to “AND NOW WE PLAY THE WAITING GAME…”

  1. Matthew Says:

    I completely agree. To me, it seems markedly similar to the way that Gonzalez stayed in office – people could only manage to remain outraged at him for so long, but he could just keep on smiling dumbly the whole time.

    Any sane person would have stepped down, would have gone off to spend more time with his family, but not one of this group. He'll just hang out until people get tired of being mad at him.

    I can only muster so much rage. I don't know what we do in this situation, now.

  2. Ed Says:

    Since you and I are the only people who even read this webpage, I imagine we can do essentially anything we want.

  3. Scott Says:

    I read this webpage…

    I think we all know what to do in this situation. The waiting game sucks, let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

    Seriously, though, You and Bill O'Reilly have come to the same conclusion, but for different reasons. Bill says that anyone reporting on the war at this point is trying to embarrass the president. So, obviously Fox News won't report on the news as much – because if you've seen 100 roadside bombs you've seen them all.

    Maybe you can get O'Reilly to write a guest column.

  4. J. Dryden Says:

    Like Scott, I read this webpage, and with a devotion that's slightly pathetic. And again, I agree both sadly and wholly with what you're saying. I once wrote a diatribe describing ours as "The Age of 'Meh'"–kind of the after-effect of the Age of Anxiety, where we're too burned out to care and so things that would have outraged us 20 or 30 years ago just roll right off. (Either that or, post-9/11, everything that isn't complete and total cataclysm seems trivial to us. But then, the collective indifference to the post-Katrina horrors would suggest that we've moved well beyond 'comfortably numb.')

    I suppose my only question–my only sense of frustration–remains the big "Why?" As in, what the f***ing f*** motivated these people to engage in this debacle? Hubris, sure–but did they have at least some kind of pay-off in mind? Is this just about oil revenue and shoring up Halliburton stock? Is it the equivalent of the anti-communist paranoia that led us into Korea and Vietnam–not to mention our 'dabbling' in places like Chile and El Salvador? Or are we dealing with the same impulse that motivated Caligula to make his horse a senator–'just because we *can*'? What's your take on the "Why"?

  5. Corey Robertson Says:

    I agree with everything stated in this article.

  6. Chris Says:

    War is a weird part of human nature. I, like yourself, don't understand how it can happen and how people can support it, especially for an obviously dumb war. War always has been a part of humanity, and it just keeps happening over and over. It is sick if you really think about it.

    For Iraq, it does get old stating the obvious over and over again and not have people get it. You would think people would understand by now and know the reality and horrors of war, such as death, rape, destruction, etc. I think the solution, as calloused as it sounds, is wait for 2008. Bush will be gone, and a Democrat will probably be elected president. Most Republicans, including the ones in Congress and Presidential candidates, are separating themselves from Bush. Real change happened in 2006, and it should continue in 2008.

  7. John Says:

    Ed you are very well spoken in the way you understand my, and I would hope many others' opinions. I totally agree.

    When I realized in 2005 that I was sick of being angry at the war it was bittersweet. Sad because they are capturing my mind, but liberating because I had so much more free time to focus on other more useful endeavors like playing Xbox 360. Anyone want to play Gears?

  8. peggy Says:

    I would just also like to state that I too read this blog. I also appreciate the bile. It helps to fight the apathy. Not that I currently do much besides reading bilious blogs to combat my inherent apathy, but still.

    Thanks.