What's All This Then?

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Friday, August 12, 2005

I’ve been looking at some of the right wing blog postings and making note of some of the right wing callers to left leaning radio talk shows - of which there are painfully few - and much of what I read and hear is laughable - but at the same time irritating - and to some degree scary because many of these people seem to believe what they write and what they say.

A common theme coming from the right is that those with opposing political views are "Un-American." It is Un-American in their view to be critical of the administration, its policies and particularly its military actions. If you are critical of what we are doing in Iraq you are Un-American. If you are critical of the lack of sufficient equipment for our troops in Iraq, you are giving aid and comfort to the enemy and you are harming the morale of our service personnel and that is Un-American. . If you are supportive of the ACLU you are Un-American. If you are the ACLU you are not just Un-American but subversively so. The fact that the ACLU would support your right to say that - in court if necessary - somehow doesn’t register with these folks.

I do not find that kind of invective coming from the left. Not that there’s any lack of invective of other kinds. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and the rest are attacked viciously and regularly. They are called every name in the book. Their policies are ridiculed. They are called liars. But I can’t find any left leaning commentators or bloggers or talk show hosts who accuse them of being "Un-American." What I do find is that they laugh at this whole business of classifying people as being "Un-American" if they don’t see things the way you see them. They laugh at anyone who doesn’t seem to grasp that that is the very essence of what being "American" is all about.

I’m not saying that those on the left have never used the "Un-American" gimmick as a political ploy. After all, the Democrats had control of the House when the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee was created in the 30’s. They just haven’t used it in recent times. It’s a "weapon" that "belongs" to the right and its use makes its users look and sound stupid. But it’s one thing to sound stupid and entirely another to be so stupid as to believe that because someone doesn’t buy into your political views, they are "Un-American." Not "uninformed" or "uneducated" or "unsophisticated" but Un-American!! That’s a scary thing. That’s Germany of the 30’s.

Some of the things that I’ve heard right wingers say when calling left leaning radio talk shows have sounded just as stupid. A couple of such calls from the other day stuck in my mind, both relating to the invasion of Iraq. Somehow, a whole bunch of people have not just bought into the fiction that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attack, but have come up with their own ideas about why invading that country was the right thing to do and how we have benefited from it.

Caller number one had little time to waste on the various justifications that have been offered by the President. To him, weapons of mass destruction, missiles ready to launch in 45 minutes and bringing freedom to an oppressed nation weren’t needed as reasons to invade Iraq. No sir. Iraq had fired at our planes patrolling the "no fly zones" - and that was a "violation" of an "agreement" and more than sufficient justification to retaliate by invading the country. This guy would qualify for honorary membership in the Holocaust Denial Society. The trouble with his reasoning is that the two "no fly zones" - allegedly created to make sure that there were no aerial attacks on the Kurds in the north and the Shi’as in the south, were never authorized by the United Nations and for sure were never "agreed" to by Saddam Hussein. And we and the Brits were bombing Iraqi targets at will during a time when there was no official war - except for the softening up of Iraqi defenses in advance of the planned invasion to get rid of all those menacing weapons of mass destruction. But this caller had created his own version of an "agreement" that had been "violated" - and of course we were entitled to respond by invading Iraq. And he couldn’t understand how we were so uninformed as to not understand that!!!

Caller number two had his own version of Dubya’s assertion that "we’re fighting the terrorists there so that we won’t have to fight them here. " With smug self assurance, he first said we were doing exactly the right thing in the right place at the right moment in history and to "prove" it, he asked rhetorically how many 9/11 type attacks had occurred since we invaded Iraq - and of course answered his own question with a triumphant flourish. We invaded Iraq. No subsequent 9/11 attacks. QED in the world of idiot syllogism.

The program host could have pointed out that there hadn’t been any more 9/11 type of attacks since Jaylo and Ben Affleck broke up either. Or asked how many 9/11 type attacks had been successfully carried out before 9/11/2001. Or how many suicide bombings a day had occurred in Iraq before we invaded. But he didn’t. He tried to engage the smug one in an exercise in logic to see how one arrived at his particular brand of quod erat demonstrandum. It was of course an exercise in futility. He, the caller, knew!! He, the liberal program host, just didn’t understand.

Left leaning people say a lot of stupid things too, but they’d have to go some to match the idiocy of these examples.