Thursday, March 02, 2006

It Would Be Neat If You Were Smart

It kills me that in much American analysis of Iraq, no matter how critical, the neo-con objective of spreading goodness throughout the world is somehow taken at face value. Criticism invariably turns to how "freedom," etc., can most effectively be doled out, particularly in terms of dollar costs (though American lives are important too); or can goodness can be spread to others at all: How many columns has Tom Friedman written pleading with Iraqis that they might stand up and make our occupation successful? (I don't know myself: I don't consider paying the New York Times money for what was previously free an especially attractive deal for "younger people" such as myself, though I have heard NYT staff make the pitch.) Now that we've destroyed their infrastructure and invited destabilization into the society, Tom Friedman wants to know why the Iraqis haven't taken their lack of water and electricity and run with it.

There is nothing "neo-" about being baldly interventionist, nor is there anything "neo-" about casting it in humanistic terms; these must be among the most ubiquitous conventions in all of human history--right up there with sex and pooping. Yet anyone who argues that their motivation for copulation is "Wilsonian idealism," or that the "meal of freedom will produce no waste" when one's buttocks are deployed over Baghdad, will be rightly deemed suspect without very compelling evidence, or at least a doctor's note--two things American commentators seem content to do without.

1 comment:

Joselle said...

Ryan, I've been poking through your blog and have so thoroughly enjoyed the posts I've read so far. This one, however, is by far my most favorite! You nailed it on the pooper!