Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hilzoy's Failures of Will

Hilzoy, at ObWi, has written one of the best posts I've ever read in the blogosphere, and one of the most sagacious discussions of the Bush administration dynamic in the run-up to and prosecution of the war in Iraq. If you read nothing else this week, here or anywhere else, regardless of your political commitments, I urge you to take the time to read her long, wonderful post. Truly.

It's painful, and its truth, as with any reasoned discussion of a complex matter, is subject to debate. But no one can realistically question its rigor, sobriety, and facial legitimacy as an orientation toward the State of Things. Those in favor of the war, of "staying the course," as such, have a tall order before them in responding in kind. But I'm not holding my breath that anyone will try. No one's bothered to compliment the American public by mustering such a powerful argument in defense of the necessity of the war before. Hell, even a rambling effort not nearly as rigorous as Hilzoy's but at least as wordy would be a nice improvement over the pithy apothegms and bromides that have passed for a rationale to date.

Just go read, really.

ESSENTIALLY IMMEDIATE UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Von, who holds a different view, has countered with a thoughtful post rejecting Hilzoy's analysis. So, at least at ObWi, always notable for its diversity of viewpoints and subtlety of thought, there is a deeper endeavor to support the war in itself. It's worth noting, however, that Von, at the outset of his discussion, acknowledges that notwithstanding his support for the war, he voted for Kerry in 2004, a "boob," due to Bush's negligent prosecution of said war. Which to me seems at least in part to concede the heart of Hilzoy's post concerning the electorate's failure of will in reelecting a man president largely based upon his prosecution of a war his behavior manifests an inability to win. (It's also worth noting that their respective analytic frameworks differ critically: while Hilzoy makes clear that she neither supports nor opposes a withdrawal; Von, on the other hand, strenuously insists that we must remain. The distinction is subtle, but has notable effects on their respective rhetorical strategies. I feel as though, at least in some sense, they are talking past each other.)


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