Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pocketful Of Money/Bellyful Of Wine/Condi In My Heart/And Romance On My Mind

From the BBC:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted the US has made thousands of tactical errors in Iraq, but said it was right to remove Saddam Hussein.

"I know we've made tactical errors - thousands of them, I'm sure," Ms Rice said in a session of questions after her speech, organised by BBC Radio 4's Today programme and Chatham House international affairs institution.

"But when you look back in history, what will be judged is did you make the right strategic decisions," she said.

Um, no. What will be judged are all of the decisions.

What Rice is arguing here, essentially, is that the ends will justify the means. That's bizarre logic; absurd and dangerous as argument. It seems calculated to make criticism of the actual war (as opposed to the hoped-for result of that war) effectively irrelevant. What sort of reasoning is that? "Yes, I screwed up...I cheated on my wife, didn't give my kids enough to eat...called in sick to work too often...gambled...but history will show that, the whole time, I was trying to be a good father. And my kids turned out all right."

Well, that's all well and good...but the fact is, you weren't a good father. And the fact that your kids turned out alright probably has less to do with you, and more to do with them.

That's the sort of argument Ms. Rice appears to be making. And then there's this.

During her speech Ms Rice touched on a number of key issues of US foreign policy, saying that:

  • no-one should doubt America's commitment to justice and the rule of law

  • the US had no desire "to be the world's jailer", and that Washington wanted "the terrorists that we capture to stand trial"

  • No one should doubt it?

    I love my country - heart, mind, and soul. I believe that America is the greatest country in the world. Nothing - not even the lunkheaded war tactics of our current administration - can change that opinion. But as a lover of my country and what I see it as representing, I cannot help but doubt our nation's current approach to "the rule of law." Wasn't there something in the papers a while back about some sort of illegal, warrantless, wire-tapping? Cynicism is a political state of mind that's been a hallmark of democracy since the form's inception. It's a necessary component. It's valuable, even if, and perhaps, especially when, it's unwanted.

    And that brings me to Condi Rice point number two: that Washington wanted the terrorists they capture to stand trial. You mean like Jose Padilla stood trial?

    It's Ms. Rice's job to be positive about this stuff - she'd be foolhardy and ineffectual if she stood up and lambasted her bosses. But one hopes that behind closed doors, there's some serious lambasting going on. Lambast. What a great freakin' word.


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