Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh, fuck you

After arguing war crimes are an inherent part of war, perhaps not understanding that individual acts of brutality aren't war crimes, but rather that they require institutional involvement and some degree of official sanction, Megan, as everyone who's ever read her expected, says she was misunderstood by those who criticize this claim.

My colleague misunderstands me:

I did not say that what the Bush administration has done is no different from what any other president has done. I said that what the Bush administration has done was not the result of choosing what Glenn Greenwald called an "aggressive" war in Iraq. (To be distinguished, presumably, from the peaceful, passive sorts of wars that other countries have.)

What the Bush administration has done has been a choice of the Bush administration. They did not have to make it, even after they had gone to Iraq. They could (and did) make those choices even before we went to war in Iraq; they didn't stem from the fact this is a special, bad kind of war that requires torture in a way that other wars don't. Torture is a tactic that works just as well (or as badly) in defensive wars as in other kinds. The decision to do it is not an inevitable outgrowth of invasion. Lots of defending peoples have committed atrocities against their invaders.

I am arguing that it is dangerous to attribute war crimes to the type of war you are waging, because the implication is that when you fight a "good" war, you won't have war crimes. That tilts the calculus too heavily in favor of future wars.
War crimes are inherent to war, so don't wage war, but don't blame these current war crimes on our having gone to war. They merely stem from having our having gone to war.
(Can anyone make coherent sense of that chunk of Meganity? It is such bad writing I have genuine difficulty parsing it.)

Why did Dresden happen?:
Daniel Larison's critique of my post makes even less sense to me.
Than your own writing? That'd be difficult. (Note this critique comes, like Sully's, from the right, meaning Megan oddly finds no sexism in it. Only lefties blame her vag, I guess.)
I am not arguing that what the Bush administration did was inevitable, only that at the point when you decide to commit atrocities, the nation is almost never thinking of how the war started, but of the suffering that has come since. We did not firebomb Germany because "they started it"; we firebombed them because they'd killed a lot of people since then.
So now war crimes aren't an inevitable part of going to war? The Bush Admin was using torture before we ever got to Iraq, quite possibly even before we invaded Afghanistan, so this is true, but that's the precise opposite of what you claimed, Megan. Here's what you said
when you choose war, you choose war crimes--and that this is true regardless of why you are choosing the war.
Is it inherently feminine to contradict and misrepresent your own work? Jebus, I'm being sexist, aren't I?


Susan of Texas said...

Would it be sexist if I asked how the hell this woman got her job? And I'm not implying she slept her way up; you have to stop talking about yourself long enough to do that.

M. Bouffant said...

Sully (Is he not the on-line editor of "Voices?") used to link to her fairly often when she was "Jane Galt." But we all know how easily he's fooled.

Clem said...

Oh noes, someone said 'Dresden.'

My two cents: the decision to carry out indiscriminate area bombing of German cities was also driven by the technological limitations of RAF Bomber Command; with the exception of Dresden, the U.S. Army Air Force wasn't much in the business of firebombing European cities. The RAF had two major problems: their bombers were poorly defended, and their bomb-sights weren't very good. Both deficiencies made daylight raids on strategic targets costly and ineffective, as the USAAF learned. However, Bomber Command's aircraft were very good at carrying heavy bomb-loads, and advances in radar and target marking made them good at dropping all those bombs on an area of several square miles. In other words, they firebombed Germany's cities because it was the best they could do, given the available technology, in addition to being a savage act of collective punishment.

Ironically, flying at night didn't do much for the safety of RAF bomber crews; German night fighters stopped Bomber Command dead in its tracks in early 1944, inflicting losses as high as 79 heavy bombers and 545 aircrew per night.

Megan and her acolytes had better not allude to the above. I'm conflicted about addressing the 'Lipstick Libertarian' contretemps, but I will if provoked.


spencer said...

I feel compelled to point out that she finally updated her "gadget of the week" feature. To save you the trouble of looking for yourself, I'm going to tell you what it is: a TiVo.

Clem said...

Next week's gadget: the cotton gin

Anonymous said...

piracy affects porn but it's still winner during the crunch