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.