Saturday, January 07, 2006

By day, he's a mild-mannered president...

I've been wondering; now that it's 2006, does anyone actually remember why we're still in Iraq? What's the official line? I've got to be honest -- I've forgotten. The White House has changed so often since the War began, I honestly have no idea what we're supposed to be accomplishing. It's not because of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden -- we pretty much know that he's not there (and at this point the White House is wondering, "Septembah-wha? Osama-who?"). And remember when Colin Powell delivered that oh-so-persuasive presentation about Weapons of Mass Destruction? If anyone still believes the WMD defense, I've got a couple of photographs of real, genuine fairies to show you -- only $39.95. And then, there was the whole "Saddam is sooo evil!! Really!! He's the entire Axis of Evil all by himself!! He's so evil, he's a fuckin' Trinity of Evil!! That's right -- you thought cloning came out of South Korea, but no!! We're talking Saddam -- he's so evil, he cloned himself so he could be his own Army of Evil!! Kill!! Him!!" thing. How often were we bonbarded with news reports of just how awful Saddam was to his people, how he was the devil incarnate, and all he needed was a BB Gun and he would launch his very own WWIII. After all, he tried to kill Bush's daddy! Of course, that whole rationale was a little shaky at best, and it's not like we really had a hard time finding and capturing Saddam. And now that he's captured, the War still isn't over. Meanwhile, the new Conservative line is one that I find absolutely priceless. Conservative puppet-monkeys have transitioned full-time into the War in Iraq as a philanthropic mission, designed to save the Iraqi people ("from themselves"). It's not a war, it's a humanitarian mission, and the Conservatives are actually taking the moral high ground in chastising those who are anti-war as being sexist, classist and even racist. Conservatives honestly believe that Bush's plan all along was to "civilize" the brutal Middle East by bringing Western values and democracy to the savage natives. They would have us believe that 2,000+ American deaths, 20,000+ Iraqi deaths, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent is all for the "greater good", as defined by "A Good, Peaceful, Pious Texan Turned Reluctant Leader of the Free World". This new rationale can't help but remind me of the Justice League of America. In DC comics, the Justice League is a coalition of superheroes who have banded together to fight evil. The Big Three are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman although the most recent JLA incarnation also includes Martian Manhunter, Flash and Green Lantern. The JLA orbits the Moon in the JLA watchtower and keep a watchful eye over the Earth -- and when evil threatens, they mobilize to deal with the threat. (Yes, I know some shit has gone down in the Infinite Crisis story arc. Haven't read it -- I'm too broke -- but please don't spoil it for me!!) The JLA was never elected as the world's guardian. They answer to no higher authority. They wield the power to save humanity or destroy it, and they use it whenever evil, as they interpret it, threatens the Earth's population. But (as has been explored in more recent issues of the JLA, particularly in Grant Morrisson's run as writer for the JLA title), one must wonder if the JLA has a right to interfere with the affairs of humans. The White House might argue that "might makes right". If one has the power to change another country's destiny, then who is to say that their actions are wrong? But, everytime Superman swoops in to save a woman from a purse-snatcher, he is taking human affairs into his own hands and judging the man guilty and the woman innocent -- all without a judge or jury present. Moreover, he is re-shaping the world into his own ideal of it, never having been approved for such a role, nor would humans have any way of stopping him if he ever overstepped. In that way, one must wonder what the difference is between the JLA and a fascist state (and, indeed, an anti-matter version of the JLA called the Crime Syndicate of America differs from the JLA primarily by their twisted morality -- their methods for forcing their ideals on the world's population are basically identical). Because of the concentrated, unstoppable power of the JLA, there's a fine distinction between their actions and maintaining a dictatorship over the Earth via their assumption of a moral absolutism in their actions. Though they "fight for justice", it is their own interpretation of justice and goodness, and they force that interpretation onto the rest of the world's population without possibility of opposition, all supposedly for "the good of humanity". In other words, they control humans in order to protect them, "from themselves". Sound familiar? The Bush Administration is adamant in defending this war because of the supposed benefit for Iraqi people. But, who has created this code of morality by which we are judging the White House's actions? And, should the US of A have a right to enforce democracy upon another nation all under the guise of salvation? Just because the US of A has the power to exact righteous action does not mean that every action that they undertake is righteous. And, as the JLA must struggle with, while an individual life may be saved when Superman stops a mugging, care must be taken such that the JLA does not take the power of self-determination from the people they are trying to save. What I'm trying to say is that I have a hard time believing that what we've brought to Iraq is a "democracy" if we had to force it on them at gun-point. Whether or not the Iraq War has saved Iraq or is doing more harm than good is in the eye of the beholder. Certainly, mass killings of civilians are (hopefully) no longer happening, but the US of A needs to stop acting like a group of unelected, morally ambiguous, and completely fallible super-powered aliens who think that just because they can save the world, they should. (Tune in soon for the next post: why Conservatives really don't care about Iraqis, anyways.)


Blogger phillyjay said...

Interesting comparison of the bush team and the JLA.But it's kind of hard to buy it since you're comparing the administration to a comic book.I'm just saying :)

1/08/2006 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Philly, you don't think that the Bush Administration's illogical dualism isn't straight out of a comic book?

I can see Jenn's point. All the "you're either with us or with the terrorists" analogies, the "dead or alive" line, the "God speaks to me" complex of blind righteousness, etc. say to me that President Bush's ideological purity only makes sense in a world where there is only a "right" and a "wrong", and that distinction is not hard to make, to paraphrase Superman. Unfortunately, the real world we inhabit is much more complex and grainy and grey, and normally operates outside of childish either/or morality.

In my opinion, President Bush fathoms himself a devout, democratizing superhero, a born-again Christian Captain America, empowered by guns, God, and government to right the evils of the world, as he sees them. How else would you explain a man who views federal spying on American citizens as both necessary to preserve the American body politic, and respective of American civil liberties? If the newly revealed NSA domestic wiretapping program isn't a clear cut example of Superman's "might makes right" theology, I don't know what is.

1/08/2006 05:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Rtother said...

On a side note, "Superman: Red Son", kind of examines the issues os a superhuman running things on Earth.

1/08/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

You mean Mark Millar's finest hour? Yes, Superman: Red Son proved that a Superman comic need not be boring. One of my favorite Elseworlds.

1/08/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

phillyjay -- That's assuming that comic books are not a viable art form, which is actually fairly offensive. Most novels that come out are popular fiction, and often fairly trashy. Is that to say if you compare politics to a lesson espoused in a novel, the argument doesn't hold any weight?

You're putting form over substance.

1/08/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Lee Herrick said...

As a woman on Air America recently noted, it's like we have Richie Rich running the country...spoiled little brat in waaaay over his head. What doom he has brought.

I know about Congress' numbers and that any real repurcussions for his actions are unlikely, but I wonder if any of the following (allegations or truths, depending on your view) mean a thing:

1) no WMD
2) total disregard of the UN as we go to war
3) the admission that we went to war on faulty intelligence (is that supposed to placate us?)
4) bin Laden is somewhere sipping margaritas
5) abu ghraib
6) valerie plame
7) scooter libby
8) abramoff
9) tom delay
10) karl rove (his time is coming)
11) all the men and women from the US and around the world and throughout Iraq who have died
12) james yee
13) guantanamo torture
14) beheadings
15) admitted wiretapping of domestic phone calls without warrants in violation of FISA
16) the litany of other civil rights infringements guised as the patriot act
16) the man said subminibal.
17) much less that both elections were questionable or fraudulent)...Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004
18) Ashcroft (hired and departed)
19) Bremer (hired and departed)
20) Powell (hired and departed)

i'm not saying bush is responsible solely for all of this (nobody could take credit for Delay)...but have mercy...what a sad culture of fear, anger, and instability we find ourselves in. i hope that he (Bush) may find a moment of loaned wisdom and that the damage he creates during the rest of his term is not irreparable beyond repair.

Sorry for this long post, Jenn, but your post got me going. Cheers!

1/10/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Jordana said...

If you think the JLA is bad, you should read the The Authority. They actually reband because the world "needs a higher authority" and doesn't have one anymore. Ick ick ick!

1/16/2006 09:14:00 PM  

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