Monday, April 05, 2004

Right-Wingery 101: How To Interpret Fallujah

Thanks to Atrios, I have finally met Kathleen Parker. She's a right-wing journalist and columnist, and must be a good one. After all, in 1993 she won

>...the H. L. Mencken Writing Award issued by The Baltimore Sun. The judges praised Parker for "singing another note on the subject of family values and following the tradition of H. L. Mencken in attacking ignorance and stupidity with vividness and originality."

The new note on family values she sings is the normal conservative lament. Her Townhall biography reveals the fascinating fact that she had four stepmothers, and this may explain her take on family values: the sins of the fathers and so on. Anyway, I digress.

The reason I wanted to write about Parker is the promise of finding someone on the right who has vividness and originality in the attacks against ignorance and stupidity; someone who would actually be fun to read. Maybe even a new Dorothy Parker. We'll see if Kathleen is one. She's going to be our guide on the question how your average American right-winger interprets the horrible events in Fallujah where four American civilians were killed and their dead bodies then burned, mutilated and hung from a bridge. She's going to teach us how to see the world through right-wing eyes, and she's going to be vivid and original while doing it. What a treat!

Here we go then. She begins thus:

I suppose it would be considered lacking in nuance to nuke the Sunni Triangle.
But so goes the unanimous vote around my household - and I'm betting millions of others - in the aftermath of what forevermore will be remembered simply as "Fallujah."

Wouldn't it be lovely were justice so available and so simple? If we were but creatures like those zoo animals we witnessed gleefully jumping up and down after stomping, dragging, dismembering and hanging the charred remains of American civilians whose only crime was to try to help them

"To nuke the Sunni Triangle" means to destroy it by using something called weapons of mass destruction, in this case of the nuclear sort. The effect of such 'nuking' would be to kill most living things in the area, as well as all the foetuses still inside their mothers. I thought this was a no-no for Parker.

But she's willing to make an exception in the case of Iraqis, or at least in the case of those Iraqis who happen to live near the ones she describes as zoo animals. It took me some time to connect this zoo story with Fallujah, until I realized that Parker is talking about the Iraqis who participated in the mutilation or cheered it. She calls them zoo animals. Why zoo, I wonder? Who has caged them? Nevermind. What we can conclude from Parker's opening comments is that she thinks a nuclear attack would be a good equalizer for the murder of four Americans, and that it wouldn't really be that terrible, given that some who would be killed behaved in a manner which she thinks would fit zoo animals.

We are also learning that Parker believes millions of others to have the same opinions. These millions must be right-wingers. Ok.

But then Parker rises to the expected high moral level, and tells us that using weapons of mass destruction on the Sunni Triangle isn't really such a good idea; instead we Americans must stay calm:

But keep our heads we must. Calmly we must transcend the primitive lust that compels ignorant others to mug idiotically for cameras.
Our revenge will be in facing down enemies who, though unworthy adversaries, impede the worthy goal of stabilizing a country whose future may predict our own. To retreat now would merely feed the terrorists' appetite for America's immediate failure en route to her ultimate demise

And who are the primitive muggers for cameras? Perhaps American politicians? Or maybe she means the zoo animals in Fallujah. But 'we' (the American right-wingers?) are not like that: we are rational, cool and logical planners of important military strategies. The most important of these is to guarantee that we don't see the same future in the good old U.S. of A as we would see in Iraq without our military intervention.

I'm not sure what the similarities are supposed to be. Does Parker mean that the American Christian fundamentalists are having similar takeover plans here as the muslim fundamentalists harbor in Iraq? If this is the explanation, how would the American troops in Iraq help? Shouldn't they be brought home to defend us against the much more immediate domestic dangers? Or am I getting all confused here, and Kathleen is just telling us the old Republican story of how the 9/11 terrorists really were Iraqis though everybody knows they weren't?

We then learn that Parker wants the United States to stay in Iraq to avert this horrible American demise. She also wants more international help for all the averting:
We have no choice but to stay the course and fulfill our commitment. That said, it would be nice if the international community would step up to the plate and insist on justice. This isn't just America's war, but America's response to a war that was brought to us.

I thought that the international community had stepped up to the plate over a year ago. Millions of people all over the world protested against the Iraq war, and I suspect that most of them thought their protest were for justice. But Parker sees things differently: the international community should come in aid of the unfairly attacked United States. It doesn't seem to trouble her that 'America's response to a war that was brought to us' meant attacking a country that had nothing to do with the bringing of that initial attack. As far as I know the guilty party was an organization called Al-Qaieda, not the bogeyman called Saddam Hussein. But clearly my way of thinking wouldn't do in the right-wing circles; instead I should view the Iraq war as a logical consequence of the 9/11 carnage and the international community as lacking in proper cooperation if it doesn't occupy Iraq, too.

Parker has more to say in the same vein, but I have covered most bases already (See! I can do baseball analogies, too!) She ends her column by reminding us about the zoo animals one more time:

Still, a well-placed MOAB smack in the Sunni Triangle ... but then, we are not animals. A reel of Rambo will have to do.

There you have it: the proper right-wing views to hold, all presented to you in a vivid and original manner by Kathleen Parker. I think Dorothy Parker was a better writer by far, but Kathleen is quite entertaining in her own way.