Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Velvet Hack

Bobo is about as profound an editorialist as the Pepperidge Farm guy, "David Brooks remembers".

In today's monstrosity, Brooks spends a great deal of time talking about the "power" of democracy in El Salvador and how awful the leftist rebels were. Yet nary a mention of the death squads, nothing on the slaughter of Archbishop Romero, no time on the rape and murder of nuns, no reference to the murder of six priests and intellectuals by right-wing murder squads. Naturally the name Major Roberto D'Aubuisson doesn't come up. Furthermore, there is no time on the millions the Reagan Administration dumped into the nation or of the disproportionately high number of deaths for a small country.

If Brooks wants to point to El Salvador as an example, then the Iraqi's can get ready for hundreds of thousands more to die until the nation is so exhausted from bloodshed it no longer has many people left capable of fighting.

I don't consider that a triumph of democracy. That is democracy only for a neo-con. For most folks it is a tragedy. A tragedy that a smilin', jockular, editorialist composed of little, if any, capacity for contemplation beyond the thin veneer of looking like you are contemplative, could understand.

I mention this case study because we are approaching election day in Afghanistan on Oct. 9. Six days later, voter registration begins in Iraq. Conditions in both places will be tense and chaotic. And in Washington, a mood of bogus tough-mindedness has swept the political class. As William Raspberry wrote yesterday in The Washington Post, "the new consensus seems to be that bringing American-style democracy to Iraq is no longer an achievable goal." We should just settle for what John Kerry calls "stability." We should be satisfied if some strongman comes in who can restore order.

The people who make this argument pat themselves on the back for being hard-headed, but the fact is they are naïve. They've got things exactly backward. The reason we should work for full democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not just because it's noble, but because it's practical. It is easier to defeat an insurgency and restore order with elections than without.

You know Bobo, it either takes a big set of testicles or a moron.

I'm betting on the latter.

If Mr. Brooks, who I'm pretty sure spent no time in El Salvador in the 1980s, Vietnam in the 1970s, the Balkans in the 1990s or certainly Iraq in the 2000s cannot do more than use his "Velvet Keyboarding" to give the Bush Administration's clusterfuckery a pass, he should do what he is clearly more qualified to do.

Write treacly Greeting Cards.

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