Thursday, February 15, 2007

How Much Are You Willing to Believe?

Once when I was about seven years old, I told my best friend that I was in training to become a Jedi. It wasn't a childhood delusional thing--- I wasn't trying to actually get over with the lie--- I was just seeing how long it takes people to catch on to the fact that whatever I'm saying is pretty preposterous.

Anyway, that day, at age seven, I told Danny how the Jedi thought I was too little for holding a lightsaber at that point, but that if I got a little taller the next year, they'd teach me to fly X-Wings. Just enough detail and even humility to make the ridiculous story seem a little more grounded, but a hell of a long way from making it believable.

What does this have to do with anything? Not much--- Directly.

It's just that when I look at those sad, twisted souls with the once ubiquitous "W" stickers still adorning those cars, I think of Danny--- For just like him, there seems to be no limit to what these people will believe as long as it's a friendly face telling them the story.

It would be easy to look at them and say "These people are dumber than an Elvis movie". And that certainly may be true of some of them. They have, after all, been fooled twice by a man who claims to live by the words of Gomer Pyle, yet is stymied by any attempt to repeat them.

But it's not stupidity, or anything even closely resembling it. It's a lethal mixture of wishful thinking and good old-fashioned gullibility.

The time has come for these people to come in from the cold. I certainly recognize that reality isn't as attractive as the utopian world built upon the fertile ground of the Republican imagination, where fallen American soldiers exist only as an abstract, deficits truly don't matter, and congressional oversight exists in name only. In fact, to borrow the title of perhaps the most overrated film in living memory, reality bites.

But it has one advantage over Iraqi WMDs and ties between Iraq and al Qaeda--- It exists.

The time has come for even the most staunch of Republicans to admit that the war in Iraq is a failure beyond what even the makers of "Waterworld" and the taste engineers behind New Coke could imagine--- For their failures, grand though they may have been, were not accompanied by a high and steadily rising body count.

The question is this. How many more American lives are we to throw away on an ill-planned, misbegotten misadventure that has proven to be a failure on every level? And exactly what is it that you hope to accomplish by sending more Americans to their deaths?

And now, the White House is cranking up Ye Olde PR Machine for an invasion of Iran. Because, you know, things are going so swimmingly in our other war zones. Last month set a new record for civilian deaths in Iraq, and John McCain, a member of the party that complains any time we talk to the UN, has just complained that NATO isn't doing enough in Afghanistan to avenge an attack on our soil. Because, you know, it's their responsibility to pick up the slack pursuing the people that attacked us so we could move personnel and equipment into a nation that had nothing to do with it.

Attacking Iraq as a response to the 9/11 attacks makes every bit as much sense as if FDR had attacked Pago Pago in response to Pearl Harbor. The only question is how many lives we're willing to throw away simply to avoid admitting that this nation made a mistake that cost the first 3,113 their lives.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've been told that if I save the cheerleader, I can save the world. I really must figure out what that means.

No comments: