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What gives you the right to fuck with our lives: CLII
What gives you the right to fuck with our lives: CLI
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
baby i'm born to lose:
In advance of the State of the Union, I spent my day watching and writing about General Petraeus's confirmation hearing for the Prospect. Or at least that was part of my day. The part that's upset me was an unexpectedly bitter argument I had with a good friend and neoconservative Iraq supporter.
I confess I started the fight. The guy sent me some thoughts of his about Iraq, and I found them stunningly unworthy of his talents, and said so in a particularly nasty manner. We went back and forth, and soon enough I found myself being called an advocate of "retreat and defeat." I protested that this was a low blow. He said not at all: after all, I do in fact advocate retreating from Iraq and conceding defeat. I replied, look, at some point, you may find yourself unable to accept the idea that there's anything salvageable here. How would you like to be called that? He parried: Well, if I do, that's what I'll be. The implicit premise was that I'm unprepared to accept the implications of my own course of action.
And I think he had me there.
Many of you, I suspect, also think the better part of valor is in leaving Iraq. If you're like me, this is an agonizing thing, something that makes you heartsick. Awful things will happen after America leaves. Even if it's apparent that it will be worse if we stay, there's no masking this. Being called a retreat-and-defeatist is a way of suggesting that I revel in this conclusion instead of coming to it reluctantly. And yet I suppose that's what I am. This, I suppose, is why I got so pissed at Jason Zengerle for writing that withdrawal advocates were underemphasizing the consequences. Perhaps it's a defense mechanism; or perhaps I've let my position in this whole thing embitter me to the point that I'm even embittered at myself, and will find myself snapping at my friends. I try to avoid mistakes -- but in doing so, commit other ones.
UPDATE: That Petraeus piece is here. Sam n' Ann gave it the awesome hed, "Surgin' General."
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