Expecting Different Results

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Memo to America: LET'S NOT TEST SANTAYANA THAT RIGOROUSLY.

The famous saying by Santayana is that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. I bet if you'd gone up to Santayana in 1905 and said "you mean, like the last decade, right?" he'd have punched you in your fucking face. And he was a philosopher. Philosophers are not generally known for face-punching.

But a century or so later, here we are, willfully forgetting history in an attempt to engineer a repeat of it, because a bunch of pissed off Sunnis who've taken the name of Shazam's girlfriend* are tearing through Iraq like a hot knife through hummus, and Paul Wolfowitz is insisting we DO SOMETHING NOW.

In doing so, ISIS has met with little to no resistance from the Iraqi Army, on whom we spent over $25 billion dollars, apparently mostly on discarded uniforms and captured Hummers. As we stood down, they ran off.

Many are blaming Obama for getting us out of Iraq when he did, which is a bit problematic because, first, "when he did" was "according to the Status of Forces agreement signed by Dubya - out of cities by '09 and out of the country entirely by '11".

And second, the people who were saying "if we leave, Iraq will dissolve into sectarian violence" weren't fucking listening when we were saying "if we topple Saddam, Iraq will dissolve into sectarian violence", and are trying to both take credit for being right about something they weren't right about and trying to lay the blame for something they kicked off.

It could very well be argued that we have a responsibility to act, to try and help mitigate the harm we ultimately caused. And that's fine. But hey, maybe we shouldn't be asking Paul "Pay For Itself" Wolfowitz how to go about it, and when he suggests, as he did on the Sunday talk show circuit, that we get serious and maybe do something about Syria, we cut off his microphone, give him a flaming wedgie, and kick him out into the alley to fight rats for scraps of edible garbage.

I don't know what the best course of action in Iraq is, but I do know that anyone who thinks the answer is making sure the ragheads are terrified of our huge, red, white, and blue dick is someone who had that same idea ten years ago, got us embroiled in two epic occupations, and demonstrated to the world the precise limitations of American foreign policy and military power.

I also know that none of the people suggesting we refreedombomb Iraq know how we can refreedombomb the right people in Iraq, and most of them don't care, because anyone we refreedombomb over there is guaranteed to be a terrorist.

If we are going to try to make things better over there, we need to spend serious time considering whether we even can, because all we've shown so far is that we can make things worse. And we seem to be turning to the making it worse experts for their opinion on how to make things better, which not only illustrates Santayana's point to new levels of absurdity, but also beautifully illustrates the apocryphal definition of insanity.

*Rest assured, I am aware of all the nerd-based and age-based objections to that construction, and do not care.