Friday, July 30, 2010
Keep in mind that Newt Gingrich is considered a serious person.
The US has been at war for the past nine years in Afghanistan and the past seven in Iraq. It's cost us a lot of money. It's cost many lives. And war does that--it costs money, and it costs lives. It shouldn't be entered into lightly.
When Gingrich refers to being at war with the other two countries in the somewhat artificial "Axis of Evil" that got such a good reaction shortly after 9/11, I think he's missing all kinds of points.
We were attacked by an extra-governmental extremist group on 9/11, not a nation. The participants in the terrorist attack on 9/11 did not actually involve anyone from those countries in the "Axis of Evil". The country out of the modern-day "Axis" that we did invade had no immediate designs on the US, no WMD's, and no material connection with al-Qaeda at the time of our invasion. This would be rather different from the situation FDR was in when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and shortly thereafter, Germany declared war on the US. The Bush Administration took advantage of a climate where, yes, people did applaud the "Axis of Evil" sentiment (because it appealed emotionally to a sense many aggreived patriots felt that someone had to pay) to start a war.
FDR did not have a choice. And for that matter, the choice that Truman had came at the end of a "hot" war. And then there's Korea....
I'm sure that as an historian and something of a public intellectual, Gingrich does not require a semi-anonymous smarty-pants blogger to remind him of all the very many ways these situations are in no way parallel. For that matter, I'm sure he knows as well as anyone that his "get'em all" sort of rhetoric is a whiff of red meat for the GOP base, and not necessarily something that would appeal to a larger war-weary public, which has been tired of Iraq since a whole presidential election ago, and has just this week gotten some negative news about Afghanistan.
But, me being me, I find myself recklessly speculating that Gingrich felt the need to make a foreign policy statement of such.....machismo, because he's already been beaten to the punch by that Alaskan woman over the mosque thing. Her eye-catching Tweets have made it more her issue than his business about no mosques until Saudi Arabia has churches (Hey--those are some guys who aren't even in the Axis of Evil, are they? Huh! How do you like that!) And then kind of backpedalled about how it could be in Manhattan, but then maybe not so close....
(Meh--should Ground Zero get a restraining order against Cordoba House? It should only be within so many feet?)
And now Palin is off to defend the border, plugging the holes from the golfing Mexicans or whatever and not at all being on talk shows, which is like, so whatever! How can Gingrich compete without upping the ante--
Being extra-double-plus macho: War with everybody! America, FUCK YEAH! Even if we have to clone Jango Fett to take on a billion people because otherwise we'd be all outnumbered and stuff....oh now HE's GOT ME MAKING UNSUCCESSFUL ANALOGIES!
Or that's how I'm reading it. It gets his face out there and looking militant-ish.
Otherwise, I could say he might have a point about treating it like the Cold War in some respects, if we could ever get current-day conservatives to recognize the difference between appeasement and detente. Which I think we can't so long as we use "Axis"-based rhetoric. So there.