Friday, August 12, 2005

Dan Savage's Guest-Blogging Stint

Dan Savage has been guest-blogging over at this week. I love Dan Savage. His sex column Savage Love is funny, opinionated and graphic. He doesn't pigeonhole himself into a standard lefty (or righty) stance on all positions. Did I mention he's hilarious?

His stint at has been enjoyable, although I personally could have done with fewer references to dildos and whatnot, but that's just quibbling. (Oh, and he also revealed that he has a good editor for his other writing jobs, as he's made several proofreading errors. I know how easy that can be...)

But what I was really waiting for was his take on the Iraq war. As Dan noted on Monday, he was possibly "the only professional sex advice columnist in the United States, if not the world, to come out in favor of the invasion of Iraq." On Monday, he promised to blog about his current view of things, and then waited until today to give it a try. I sense hesitation due to the difficulty for a lefty to explain a lefty stance on the Iraq as it is today. Clearly, unlike Christopher Hitchens, Dan is not just pretending that everything has gone as hoped.

He reprints a column he wrote for the Stranger (the Seattle weekly he edits) in March 2003, shortly before the U.S. invaded Iraq, which gives a great LEFTIST argument for overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and other Middle Eastern tyrants as well. It's well worth checking out (at the top of today's entry.)

But the point of the article is actually to explain why he stopped supporting going to war because of the dismal failure of the Bush Administration to sell the war to NATO and the U.N.

This is almost the exact same view that I had at that time, except that I still supported the war, in part because I thought we would find lots of ugly WMD there. Yeah, that worked out well.

Anyway, reading Dan's stuff today reminded me of something else I was thinking today, while listening to an NPR show about Cindy Sheehan, that mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who is protesting the war. During this hour-long show, no one called in to say they supported keeping the troops in Iraq. One person even called in to sing a protest song -- ugh. This is one of my major gripes with the left by the way. The continuing obsession with 60's style protests with sappy, limp protest songs. And large puppets, for some reason that I cannot comprehend.

But the point is, that while I continue to think, as Paul Berman has said that "the position of the antiwar movement and of liberals should be that the United States fulfill entirely its obligation to replace Saddam with a decent or even admirable system," it's hard to feel sympathy for the Bush Administration since they basically brought this on themselves by selling Americans a product that is vastly different than what Bush et al have actually provided. This is always a recipe for disaster, even if the actual product delivered is not a bad one. Bush basically sold a war:

1. that would remove nasty WMD from the hands of an unstable dictator -- whoops
2. that would overthrow said dictator, and bring about a democracy that would make life better for Iraqis -- check on overthrow, jury still way out on democracy
3. with no defined price tag (remember how Bush refused to give a figure for fighting the Iraq war during that fiscal year's budget process?) -- no effort to prepare Americans for the very high pricetag of this war
4. with no set timetable for removal of troops -- Bush was, at best, cagey about how long and bloody the occupation would be, and at worst, let people who were clearly speaking for him (Cheney, Richard Perle, Rumsfeld) portray the whole undertaking as relatively easy.

Needless to say, this is not the war that has been delivered. Bush failed to produce anything close to the specs he provided, so of course, people are, shall we say, surprised by the product performance thus far.

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