Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Protesting v. Patriotism

You'll find through my posts that I get a lot of my inspiration from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. Like Jonah Goldberg used to use The Simpsons as a springboard for thoughts, so will I use those wily Westerners as mine.

One of my favorite Matt Stone quotes (which really isn't a quote) is: "I hate conservatives, but I fucking hate liberals." So sums a substantial impetus of my political thought.

Nevertheless, I caught an episode of South Park on the Iraq war that was moderately insightful. Give it to Stone and Parker to break down the importance of patriotism v. protesting.

In the episode, Cartman finds himself back in 1776 in order to find out (for a class project) what the founding fathers would have thought about the Iraq War, and whether the nation should be founded on a principal of fighting or protesting.

At the "Continental Congress", Benjamin Franklin had this to say on the relative merits of going to war while allowing for protests against that war:

And that means that as a nation, we could go to war with whomever we wished, but at the same time, act like we didn't want to. If we allow the people to protest what the government does, then the country will be forever blameless.

Cartman summarizes it nicely:

I learned somethin' today. This country was founded by some of the smartest thinkers the world has ever seen. And they knew one thing: that a truely great country can go to war, and at the same time, act like it doesn't want to. You people who are for the war, you need the protesters. Because they make the country look like it's made of sane, caring individuals. And you people who are anti-war, you need these flag-wavers, because, if our whole country was made up of nothing but soft pussy protesters, we'd get taken down in a second. That's why the founding fathers decided we should have both. It's called "having your cake and eating it too."


Parker and Stone are careful not to take sides in the debate, but merely to take note of the inherent good of having two sides. Frankly, we lose sight of this too often. I will discuss more on this later, but we have to remind ourselves from time to time that our internal debates all focus on what is best for America. No matter how much we may disagree, we are not the enemy.

There is an enemy, imbued with a radical violent ideology convinced to kill as many of us as possible, not constricted by the deterence of death. They're not joking around, despite the fact that it's been some time since we've been seriously attacked. Let's keep at least one eye on the ball.


At 3:32 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

"There is an enemy, imbued with a radical violent ideology convinced to kill as many of us as possible, not constricted by the deterence of death. They're not joking around, despite the fact that it's been some time since we've been seriously attacked. Let's keep at least one eye on the ball."

Problem is that I think we're in the wrong stadium.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

What, then, is the "right" stadium?

At 10:29 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Three Rivers.

Or Shea.

Failing that, any place that doesn't start with an I and end with a q.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Two words, rhymes with "korth norea". Or really anywhere that there are crazy dicators that are actual threats to us.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

That's great. I'm in.

Here's the deal: If you can put together plan of taking on North Korea without 1 million innocent people dying in the first day, I'm in.

If you think losing 2,500 soldiers and 10,000-20,000 civilians is bad (and it is), you couldn't even begin to fathom what would happen by attacking North Korea, with the fourth largest standing army at 1.2 million, and thousands of ballistic missiles pointed directly at Seoul.

Respectfully, Codemorse's idea is the more reasonable. Shea stadium is an eyesore beyond words, and the Mets are, well, the Mets.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Did I say start a land war? (Or any other kind of war?) We need to do something there and "diplomacy" ain't it. And why is it that just because I see a real enemy that fullfills your criteria (quoted in the first post) that I have to come up with a plan?

At 11:11 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Because Jaba is a lazy muthafunka.


At 11:15 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

The reason I said to come up with a plan is simple. My least favorite argument against the War in Iraq is this one:

Don't attack Iraq because there are bigger threats elsewhere.

I understand that argument as follows:

You should not have done A (attack Iraq) because of B (there were bigger threats than Iraq); you should have done C.

Well, doesn't that beg the question, what is "C"? What's the plan? Attack North Korea? Attack Iran? Diplomacy? Nothing? Some people say we should have done nothing. I don't agree, but at least it's an alternative.

I mean, everyone can say: You shouldn't do A. What's harder is coming up with the alternative.

In short, complaining about the Iraq War because North Korea is a threat is a non-sequitur if you can't explain how doing anything else would have been a better option.

Note: I'm not asking for a battle plan, although I would imagine it would be fun to draw up in the hypothetical.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Codemorse: Once again, so stipulated.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Actually I said don't attack Iraq because they haven't done anything to us. My mistake for not believing in pre-emptive strikes I guess. So mine is don't do A (attack) because B (you haven't been attacked). There is no C.

Now Crazy Man with nuclear weapons is a good reason for a pre-emptive something. I don't think crazy people understand MAD. And I think we should be able to get the rest of the world behind us on this one. Is diplomacy enough? I don't think so. Thankfully I am not able to make these decisions.

One thought though (and this is just for fun) is to have some individual or some tight knit group of individuals go in and arrange an "accident". Say Kim goes to get hsi hair cut and the "baber gives him a mini-gun buzz. Or maybe he's taking a shower and accidentlally drops the soap. While bending over someone sticks a RPG where the sun don't shine.

I reccommend that the group consist of a crazy pilot, a bad ass mechanic, a con man, and a natural born leader of some sort )cigar optional).

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

"I love it when a plan comes together."

Meanwhile, I'll comment in a future post about the cost of doing "nothing" in regard to Iraq. The only reason I put "nothing" in quotes is that we had been placing the country under sanctions for several years, and periodically bombing his in an attempt to enforce a no-fly zone even before we attacked him. So, "nothing" is relative.

At 12:23 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Someone should tell the South Park boys that their new episode on the threat of Hollywood smugness was the smuggest thing I've seen in ages.

I love me some South Park, but oy.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I always get a little upset when the mean kids from South Park pick on Hollywood stars.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Whereas I tend to simply roll my eyes at smugness used to deflate, well, smugness. :)

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I feel like I should write something on smugness generally, but let me just say this:

There is an inherent good in a certain poking fun of political convention. It's what Americans (and the British probably) do best.

Orwell once remarked that one reason fascism never took off in Britain was because the sight of a goose-stepping soldier would prompt your average Englishman to giggle. I would argue that the same would apply in the United States.

Jon Stewart makes a living off being smug toward political convention. And I'd argue that it's one of the most essential parts of our political culture.

Without it, we'd be just like Germany without the awesome beer halls.


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