Tuesday, October 27, 2009

hold on

I'm not gone, just buried. I swear I'll be back.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A free ride when you've already paid

Did Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush?

Maybe, although, hey, let’s not underestimate the value of not being George W. Bush.

Across the country, the heads of right-wing chicken hawks are exploding, as they are confronted once again with proof of their own ideological isolation, and the possibility that their emotional investment in their belief system might be preventing them from seeing a more moderate truth.

One dinkus I saw this morning even quoted Neville Chamberlain. Yes, really. I mean, come on, right wingers, quoting Neville Chamberlain is so 2008. Neville Chamberlain quotes are the wingnut version of Tuesdays with Morrie. So here’s the quote:

"I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds."

The above was said after Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in 1938, which essentially was the treaty version of giving a shark a nice big piece of chum in the hope that it will agree to stop being a shark. The right-winger who was quoting Chamberlain was attempting to make a point about appeasement and Iran. Because Obama, who has agreed to actually talk to the leaders of Iran, is an appeaser. GET IT?

What conservatives miss…um…or rather, one of the myriad of things that conservatives miss in this analogy is that ENGLAND WAS NOT PREPARED TO GO TO WAR. England had fuck all to fight with, people. They were still in the process of building up their armaments, including what would eventually become the truly awesome Royal Air Force of WW2.


But the analogy is perhaps apt in an unintended way. Because beginning in the early 1930s, Chamberlain embarked on a controversial policy called rationalisation, in which the obsolete and crumbling industrial infrastructure of the country was knocked down and rebuilt with government funds. As in taxpayers’ moolah. The conservatives in the government (including Churchill) opposed this, shall we say strongly? But it was this initiative that allowed, among other things, for the buildup of the U.K.’s war machine. Until then, the RAF was still flying WW1-type biplanes, for pete’s sake. If England had entered WW2 before 1939, it would have been fighting against Germany’s state-of-the-art Messerschmitt with what was essentially Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel.

So, I’m not going to speculate about whether Chamberlain would have entered WW2, and at what time. His support eroded, and he stepped down to make way for Churchill, so we will never know. What we do know, however, is that he negotiated peace as he prepared for war, and I really find it interesting that any person claiming to be a conservative would find fault with such an eminently practical policy.

Also, for all those conservatives out there who use the Chamberlain quote in an attempt at irony…please don’t. Don’t attempt irony. Because irony is, contrary to popular belief, nothing like rain on your wedding day. Irony requires self-awareness, and an ability to see situations from a perspective other than your own self-centered one. So you kinda suck at it.

A much more relevant ironic observation we could make, as the world attempts, with this Nobel Peace Prize, to nudge the American people toward peace, involves Iran. Because I personally find it ironic that during the Clinton administration, when Iran elected a liberal leader, it was the opposition conservatives in that country’s government who stymied progress to end their isolation. Even now, as the people of Iran once again show overwhelming support for a more liberal government, it is the conservatives who keep the country from agreeing to the U.N. initiatives, and they do so because they object to a policy of appeasement.

Perhaps the conservatives of the U.S. and Iran would agree to duke it out in some remote corner of the world, so that those who are truly interested in peace could go about making it manifest. I would be in favor of this policy. And as for that remote corner where they may proceed to battle to the death – may I suggest Alaska?

Many thanks to my blogger friend SJ for the inspiration for this post.