Saturday, December 02, 2006

Crime And Blandishment

Posted by olvlzl.

Yesterday in a discussion on Hullabaloo of the too late and too partial enlightenment of the pro-war liberals about Iraq, the proposal was made that there should be real consequences, professional and social, to having called for what was so plainly an illegal, unprovoked, unwise and just plain stupid war. Ok, I said it. Usually it’s the punishment of policy makers but here it’s a member of the clerical class, the press. In response, I was accused by one of Josh Marshall’s defenders of calling for those of insufficient doctrinal purity to be lined up against the wall, as is charged against the communists in the Spanish Civil War. Don’t you wish that the Orwell fad would pass? Who ever thought reading that dyspeptic contrarian, good for all excuses, would unhinge so much of the center-left? What I had advised was that if they wanted to redeem themselvs they should quit the centers of corruption in DC and go do some fact-based reporting away from the temptations of the insider world. Temptations they apparently can’t resist.

While it is true that Marshall is far, far from the worst of the media I just can’t get over that big and growing pile of corpses, the wards full of the maimed, those maimed who don’t have access to hospitals because they are chuck in the middle of a horrible civil war, their suffering families. In order to explain my eagerness to see that there be real consequences for what people of influence write let me pose this thought experiment.

Say that instead of supporting the invasion of Iraq these pro-war liberals had been caught red-handed, plagiarizing a column about baseball. What are the consequences for this crime against words? The career and social penalties for someone guilty of stealing words run from temporary banishment to total and lifetime damnation. Race, gender, past-profitability and political persuasion being the usual mitigating factors.

Shouldn’t the promotion of the disastrous invasion of Iraq, helping to bring about the entirely unnecessary and futile carnage and the fully predicted spreading regional disaster, carry a heavier penalty than paying an author the compliment of stealing their words? I can tell you from experience that sloppy punctuation on a blog thread carries more of an onus than promoting this war has for most of it’s supporters.

You pro-invasion liberals, don’t you think you should take some time off and ponder your folly? At the very least, shouldn’t you go back and study what the side that turned out to be right had to say about it during the run up? Don’t bother with sappy, self-interested contrition, that’s useless and it’s gotten old. You want respect, you’re going to have to earn it. Forget your ambitions, that’s what led you to where you are now. Try the facts, they’re not heavily rewarded but they are what will turn out to be real in the end.