Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dissent Magazine - Paul Berman (via Andrew Sullivan): "I answered, 'The United Nations and international law are fine by me, and more than fine. I am their supporter. Or, rather, would like to support them. It would be better to fight an antifascist war with more than a begrudging UN approval. It would be better to fight with the approving sanction of international law-better in a million ways. Better politically, therefore militarily. Better for the precedents that would be set. Better for the purpose of expressing the liberal principles at stake. If I had my druthers, that is how we would have gone about fighting the war. But my druthers don't count for much. We have had to choose between supporting the war, or opposing it-supporting the war in the name of antifascism, or opposing it in the name of some kind of concept of international law. Antifascism without international law; or international law without antifascism. A miserable choice-but one does have to choose, unfortunately.'

My friend said, 'I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!'
I said, 'I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?'
'But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean-admit it!'

My own eyes widened. 'You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is,' I said. 'I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . .' "


I simply had to reproduce this for people to see. This is why I won't debate with anyone who says Bush, or conservatives in general, are fascist. We sincerely did not go into Iraq with the intent of killing Iraqis (other than the Baathists at the top who would not surrendur) -- we went there because we firmly believed (whether we were right or wrong is up for debate) that Iraq posed a threat and to save the Iraqi people from a truly fascist (not up for debate) regime. There are plenty of people who understand this, and can discuss the War on the merits, but far too many who do not and cannot.

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