Monday, April 04, 2011


I guess the wingnut strain of anti-war sentiment isn't just for the Ron Paul crowd anymore. We know that Michele Bachmann -- who, assuming Huckabee doesn't run, is probably the front-runner in Iowa -- has expressed her opposition to U.S. involvement in Libya. Glenn Beck has now said that U.S. troops should be removed from the Middle East (non-embeddable video at the link, via the Right Scoop). And John Hinderaker at Power Line says this:

Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

I think it is. In the aftermath of September 11, we had no choice but to overthrow the Taliban, destroy al Qaeda's training centers and kill and scatter as many al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists as possible. We did that, brilliantly. Bin Laden escaped by the skin of his teeth, but al Qaeda has never recovered from that initial devastation.

Since then, for going on nine years, we have pursued a somewhat half-hearted peacekeeping/democracy policy in Afghanistan. The Bush administration was right, I think, not to devote excessive resources to Afghanistan, which is virtually without strategic significance compared with countries like Iran, Iraq and Egypt. Moreover, the country's human natural and human raw material could hardly be less promising.

Afghans are not just living in an earlier century; they are living in an earlier millenium. Their poverty, cultural backwardness and geographic isolation--roads verge on the nonexistent--are hard for us to fathom. They are a tribal society run by pederasts whose main industry is growing poppies. If our security hinges on turning this place into a reasonably modern, functioning country, we are in deep trouble. But I don't think it does; and, in any event, I don't think we can do it....

(By the way, I hope the Time folks who gave Power Line that Blog of the Year award back in '04 are reading the "tribal society run by pederasts" line and feeling a sense of pride in their choice.)

I have an extremely hard time imagining Paul-style categorical anti-interventionism catching on with the majority of the wingnut rank-and-file -- not while right-wingers continue to see Democrats and liberals as pantywaist peaceniks who want to sing "Kumbaya" with America's enemies. And if you're going to do this, you have to write the Iraq War out of the equation, as Hinderaker does, because liberals hate the Iraq War, which has always made it sacred to the right:

The war in Iraq is over, and has been for some time. Our mission there has been a success; how important a success depends not on us but on the Iraqis. For a predominantly Arab country, Iraq is doing well. At this point, we have done about all we can do. Our troops are no longer in a combat role, and we should bring them home, and honor their victory, on schedule.

And I think it would be hard to sell wingers on the notion of pulling out of Afghanistan, which was also a Bush war, though Hinderaker sure does give it the old college try.

Ultimately, I don't think this is going to work. Beck's line is that we should withdraw so the U.S. military can "replenish" itself, in preparation for the moment when the world will be "on fire" after Iran has waved a magic wand, ended all Sunni-Shia conflict, and united all the evildoers into a massive force that will destroy Israel and then America; the apocalyptiic stuff plays on the right, but the tactical retreat idea is probably way too wussy.

Bachmann's argument, that we may be helping al Qaeda in Libya, and that this intervention is (ick) humanitaritan plays better, I'm sure -- it's OK to oppose war when the war is (a) treasonous and (b) not a real war, dedicated solely to kicking evildoer ass.

It's possible that there could be some useful anti-war talk on the right. It might really do some good in the short run. But it isn't anti-war so much as anti-wars-not-conducted-by-us. We'll still nuke Iran when Bachmann is president.


By the way, please notice the futility of advocating "humanitarian war" in a teabag age. It's sort of the foreign policy equivalent of advocating Budget Cuts Lite -- it's something you do as president because you accept right-wing frames (that the deficit is the top domestic priority, that muscularity is a must overseas), but you still never placate the wingers this way.

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