January 16, 2003

Knocking Down Stupid Anti-War Arguments 101

Jonah Goldberg is not always the sharpest knife in the drawer (remember the Mark-Twain-favored-censorship brouhaha?), but he was on in this old column of his (from last October): Same Old Tiresome Arguments of War. In the intervening months nothing much has changed: we are still hearing the same old dreary mantras from the same butt-headed people. So this column is a reference for some rebuttals that might at least get the loons out of your face long enough for you to find your car keys. Some highlights:

Re the scary "Arab street":

Maybe Victor Davis Hanson knows the answer, but for the life of me I can't remember the last time the United States was so willing to let an unarmed mob of illiterate malcontents half a world away dictate American foreign policy.
Re the notion that we can't do a thing until the Israelis and the Palestinians hug:
But others, Saddam Hussein for example, subscribe to this view only because if a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a necessary precondition for any invasion of Iraq, Saddam can make sure that Iraq is never invaded.
Re the idea that we need "UN approval," as if the UN were, well, God, or someone objective and uninvolved in the grubby doings of this mortal coil:
People who think we must go through the U.N. seem to believe that the U.N. is an objectively neutral or moral institution. In their eyes, getting approval from the U.N. is like getting approval from a judge or a priest. Or, they think the U.N. is where the nations of the world put aside their petty self-interest and do whatever is in the best interests of humanity.

There's only one problem with this. None of the nations in the U.N. — especially the permanent members of the Security Council — are acting on such pure motives. France isn't opposed to invading Iraq out of an abiding love of peace. It's opposed to an American invasion largely because France has been trading with Iraq for years, despite the sanctions. France has billions of dollars in oil contracts it doesn't want to lose.

Re the number one on the Stupid Argument Hit Parade, "No Blood For Oil":
This was all the rage when I was in college during the first Gulf War and it hasn't gotten any better with age. The basic argument goes like this: Bush and Cheney are oil guys. They want to get their grubby hands on Iraq's oil. Ergo, this is a war for oil. I guess it could be stated with more sophistication, but why go to all the trouble of putting a dress on a pig?
Re the ignorance about the rich that is implicit in these arguments:
Every day, I hear from people who honestly think Bush & co. want to invade Iraq to make a few more bucks. These people are either stoopid or they are trapped in a Twilight Zone where Thomas Nast cartoons seem real.
Read the rest, and memorize. I'm sure they will come in handy in the next few months.

Posted by Andrea Harris at January 16, 2003 08:39 PM

Yeah, that was a good one. Thanks for refreshing my memory! I seem to remember using it a while back in a discussion with someone on an email list who started on about the Arab street and war for oil.

Posted by: Ith at January 16, 2003 at 09:24 PM

I'm sure the "dreaded Arab street" should be showing up any time now...right after the "brutal Afghan winter" that was equally going to kill us all.

Posted by: David Jaroslav at January 16, 2003 at 10:11 PM

Okay, I don't think it has hit the airwaves yet, but some Berserkeley idiots with way to much money are putting on an add which claims that going to war in Iraq will lead to nuclear annihilation.

They apparently believe that we can't go to war because Saddam doesn't have nukes, and if we start a war, he will nuke us.

According to the news reports, the ad is an adaption of LBJ's notorious little ad about Goldwater.

Posted by: Ken Summers at January 16, 2003 at 11:01 PM

Yeah, I've been reading about this. I did wonder where the heck the nukes were going to come from. You know, since Saddam doesn't have any. Maybe he thinks we are going to nuke ourselves? You know, we'll be all overcome with bloodlust and just start nuking nuking nuking. I can't really figure out what they are thinking, or if "thinking" is even involved.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 16, 2003 at 11:38 PM

I didn't hear about Goldberg and the Mark Twain/censorship business. What was the story?

I've generally liked Goldberg, and usually agree with him.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at January 17, 2003 at 12:01 PM

There's a preface Mark Twain wrote to one of his books -- I believe it was Huckleberry Finn -- which said something along the lines of "no child should ever read this awful book." Of course, everyone knows Twain was being extremely sarcastic because he'd already gotten lots of flak from the censorship biddies of his day. Anyway, to make a long story short, in the Corner (NRO's blog thing) Jonah Goldberg cited the preface to shore up a "maybe censorship isn't a bad thing after all, see, even Mark Twain was for it!" argument, and got roundly slammed. I think I even commented on it -- I will look through the old blog for the links.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 17, 2003 at 03:21 PM

I saw a letter from Twain to a librarian about censorship in the Corner in which they completely missed Twain's sarcasm. But Goldberg has been much better than, say, Amb. Tom Freidman, who says something brilliant in paragraph one and steps on his dick by paragraph 12. Consistently.
I can think of when a mob dictated Am. policy, though; after Mogadishu.

Posted by: Noel at January 18, 2003 at 06:08 PM

Oh yes -- I highly prefer Jonah Goldberg to Thomas Friedman. Friedman is always the last to get it.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 19, 2003 at 11:55 AM

I can't believe someone has gone through all the crap that Jonah has gone through and still come out the other side smiling (albeit a typical "not me" burger-chomping fat western side smile).

The insights he offers are so incredibly full of insight, and he for one is always willing to expose those dirty dealings that governments, like France, get invovled with in international business.

I'm glad to know that our beloved GW Bush has pure intentions to rid this world of dictators (secret or not), evil men that violently control their affairs and stick their noses into countries where they are not welcome.

Thank the Lord that Jonah isn't a bigoted, arrogant, well-fed pig who would make a point about our beloved country supporting the theory that GW Bush and his best friends are only interested in world business affairs, especially oil, has deep-lying connections to the Bush family.

We all know that our leader has world freedom at heart. We all know war is good where world freedom is concerned. Killing civilians is worth it if we secure our noble military aim, which is to make the world a safer place for all (well, I mean except those inncoents - sorry collatoral damage - we kill).

I mean, as if our democracy would ever have supported Saddam in killing all those Iranians, Kuwaitis and Kurds!! That would be supporting murder and our constitution says that is wrong, even if it in in the name of freedom and against terror the world over.

I'm sure that twelve year old Iraqi boy I saw on TV with the machine gun knows that Bush is only bombing his country so that he can prosper and be happy in the future, especially when the US lands in Baghdad and sets up a military hospital for all those injured civilians and sews the legs back on his mother.

We have a chance to make this world a better place! I say BOMB IRAQ, screw the anti-war people, they know nothing about our reasons, and listen to Jonah, he has all the answers because he's on TV too.

Posted by: We love Jonah at January 23, 2003 at 10:07 AM

Yeah, screw the anti-war community who obviously have no clue about the situation in Iraq. I'm just glad Blair and Bush have the balls to stand up to terrorist states who threaten our very existence. Hopefully one day people will look back and realise they were wrong for jumping on the anti-war bandwagon just because everyone else seems to support it. Well I dont. Keep your hippy crap off our streets.

Posted by: Petey UK at March 15, 2003 at 01:39 PM