Wolf Pangloss's Fish Taco Stand

"But, reverend father," said Candide, "there is horrible evil in this world."

"What signifies it," said the Dervish, "whether there be evil or good? When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he trouble his head whether the mice on board are at their ease or not?"

"What, then, must we do?" said Pangloss.

"Hold your tongue," answered the Dervish.

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Location: Edge City, Titan

10 January 2008

Doctor Strangebush: Don't get MAD, get Preventive

how I learned to stop worrying and love the preventive war

Preventive War isn't quite as bizarre as it seems at first sight. It is a doctrine designed to prevent the US from getting nuked by terrorists or sickened unto death by tailored plagues from terrorists who have home bases in a state that either sponsors or tolerates them. This is an existential threat. Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was also bizarre at first sight, was also a doctrine designed to stop an existential threat (getting nuked by the USSR), and was widely accepted by both left and right. Both of them depend psychologically on caricaturing the USA as violent and unreasonable. Preventive War is actually much less frightful and awful than MAD, for it does not promise to lay waste to entire continents but only overthrow dictators and kill international terrorists. The problem comes with believing the violent, unreasonable pose is real, rather than a pretense. The problem comes with personalization, with believing the pose actually reflects the personality defects of the President instead of understanding it is a pretense, the confidence of a good hand, a posture meant to prevent hostile others from risking attacks against America.

A few days ago I wrote a sarcastic post about preventive war*, focusing on reframing the discussion by recasting the language used.

Now to be fair to myself, it seems the biggest problem with the preventive war doctrine is that it came from George W. Bush. Some Democrats remain falsely convinced that Bush stole the 2000 election from Gore (despite even the NY Times concluding that Bush won fair and square in Florida). They claim that Bush isn't their president, and refuse to be loyal to their own country (thanks to Glen Wishard for the loan of the word) because they dislike the occupant of the President's office.

Will replacing a Bush with a Clinton, again, fix this? Doubtful. And if it does, can we afford to let Jamie Gorelick (author of the wall that prevented the CIA and FBI from sharing data) and people who think like her into another administration?

Having been a wee sprat in the 60s in the midst of MAD hysteria, and having been frightened out of my socks by Duck and Cover and similar films, I see Preventive War and the spread of Liberty as the alternative to fear that gives hope to Americans. It also offers hope to those who are oppressed by dictators or threatened by Jihad/Hiraba terrorists and brigands like al-Qaeda, that things might get better.

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Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

                Matthew 7:15-16