Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Camille Paglia on the Iraq War

I want American troops out now -- not next year but tomorrow. Support of the troops means not subjecting them to an unsustainable and ultimately unwinnable mission, cooked up by armchair cowboys who see the world in simplistic cartoon terms ("good guys" vs. "bad guys"). The provincial philistines of the Bush administration blundered into the Mideast with little more than superficial knowledge of its tangled history and ancient culture. And they have colossally wasted American blood and treasure on a project that had only a tangential relation to the atrocity of 9/11.

--Camille Paglia


CC said...

Camille seems to understand the complexities of the Mid-East, however, maybe not of the U.S. President and Vice-President.

To only say they have been on a "Good Guy vs. Bad Guy," "simplistic cartoon" romp seems "superficial knowledge" of *their* "tangled history?"


Tom said...

I am underwhelmed by Paglia's sentiment. Yes, it is a terrible mess, but it is in the intellectual fly-weight class not to mull over the consequences of a very sudden withdrawl.

Most Iraqis are lawful, kind-hearted citizens who are in a living hell. They love their children and their lives have value, too.

Truly, Paglia is a child having a tantrum.

Nagarjuna said...

Tom, I'm afraid I don't see any "tantrum" in what I quoted. I see a sober and realistic assessment of the abject ignorance and ideological blindness of those who engineered our invasion of Iraq, and a reasonable view of what we should do now. Reasonable doesn't necessarily mean right. But I think a strong case can be made that Iraq is likely to be consumed by all-out chaos whenever we DO withdraw, so why prolong the inevitable at the horrible expense of more American lives and untold hundreds of billions of dollars more that we can't afford to lose? I don't think that this is necessarily an intellectually "fly-weight" rationale for withdrawal resulting from not having "mulled over" the consequences. I suspect that if you discussed the matter with Paglia, she might well evidence some intellectually heavyweight reasoning for her stance.

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Tom said...


There is no sober and realistic assessment. Paglia makes no assessment at all! It does matter how abruptly we withdraw from Iraq -- but Paglia stamps her foot and wants it now.

I mostly agree with what you write in your comment, Nagarjuna. But Paglia is just rehashing ancient news which has nothing to do with the situation now, on the ground, which is the only material issue as to how we disentangle ourselves from the fix we are in -- preventing as much loss in Americans lives, limbs and treasure AND leaving Iraq in as good a situation as possible.

Weird that Paglia is riding back onto the net proclaiming there was a clamor for her return because "the partisan polarization of the blogosphere [is] numbingly predictable and its prose too often slapdash, fragmentary or drearily prolix." I think it is very observable that Paglia is paralysingly perdictable, slapdash with the balderdash she spews, and people should be given Prozacs to help them wade through her muddy paragraphs.

We may have to agree to disagree on Camille.

Nagarjuna said...

<< We may have to agree to disagree on Camille. >>

Yes, it looks as though we may. :-)

CC said...

What may I ask would be a satisfactory reason to delay leaving Iraq?

Why I ask is because it seems that for every "terrorist" or "freedom fighter" Bush has sent to "Virgin Heaven" ten new ones have been born from it.

Thanks, CC

Tom said...

"What may I ask would be a satisfactory reason to delay leaving Iraq?"

While I am not advocating a long delay unless there is substantial progress toward peace, there are reasons to delay.

If the surge were to work, and the Iraqi military and police were to get a handle on the city of Baghdad, that would thwart the devolution toward chaos.

If we could insist that the Iraqi government come to either an overarching framework for their country, or a program for federalized governance, or a plan to split the country [ala the Balkins], that would avert the worst of a civil war.

America does have an obligation not to throw the civil society in Iraq to the wolves. Pottery Barn rule: WE broke it; we can't just leave the pieces on the floor and whistle quietly to ourselves as we sneak out the door. While we should not leave American soldiers as duck decoys in the middle of a civil war, we have to prop up something in our place.

It is, indeed, part of the incredible crime of the Bush Administration that we are in this tragic fix. The Bushies have never looked ahead; they have not sought options. We are now in the Big Muddy Muddy and we must extricate ourselves coolly and in an optimally peaceful way.

CC said...

In my opinion, a "surge" would do no lasting good. I don't see how it could handle a never-ending flow of "Insurgents." Possibly, if billions of dollars were spent on a huge Security Wall around Baghdad it might, but even if that were possible this obviously would not stop terrorists from going after other targets in that country.

We already understand these people are passionate to the death in defending Islamic land from the "Christian Crusaders."

The only argument I would consider is that our forces staying there might give more time to help train the Iraqi Army more properly.

However, on the flip-side of this, the argument might be, since the, most powerful in the world, US Military cannot stop the Insurgent attacks presently, just how could we expect even a very well-trained Iraqi Army to do any better?

I'm beginning to believe that there is no way to control these sort of fanatic people within a democratic society. Possibly a strict and violent Tyranny would be all they could comprehend and respect... yes, like Saddam Hussein ran.

Thanks, CC

Tom said...

cc: On 60 Minutes Sunday they had a report on the Kurdish area of Iraq -- a place of total peace, with democracy taking hold, where industy is thriving.

There are fanatic people in Iraq, but these are a small minority. Condemning the whole population to a reign of another Saddam is placing them in an unwarrented hell.

The problem is the incredible power a small radicalized group can have.

There is something like 300,000 Iraqi soldiers, now. Yes, they are undertrained, underequiped and a great many have greater loyalty to their sect than their country.

Probably the way out of this fix, IMHO, is something akin to what Biden suggests -- a partition to give the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds each their own areas. The good news is that they are now finding lots of oil in the Sunni areas. They will soon have a vote in Kerkook (sic) to determine if it wants to be Kurd or Sunni. The surge, if it succeeds, could bring peace to Baghdad, putting the Shiites nominally in charge, allowing the US to withdraw and perhaps deal with al-Queda to the west.

I think there is hope that things can get better. This is necessary because if we left immediately there would be a bloodbath, with the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

CC said...

Tom, what solid, "for sure" benchmark would indicate just when the Iraqi Military were trained enough for the US to get out?

Thanks, CC