Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thoughts (political, etc)

Many progressives are demanding the head of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales after the recent massacre in Afghanistan. I'm not going to go there at this point: my problem is that - with, obviously, all due respect to the vast majority of soldiers who are able to cope with conditions in that country - it's not immediately clear whether Bales is psychotic, or someone who's exploded after extreme pressure.

My view is that training people to kill and then sending them into a country full of people who just don't like you, where a minority is even trying to kill you, while soaking you in propaganda depicting your role as heroic and worthy of unquestioning support from those very people, just... well, it seems almost inevitable that given enough people subjected to that situation, one of them would snap. And if someone engineer - by design or through negligence - a situation where such a brutal tragedy is inevitable, I would consider that person more culpable than the person who pulls the trigger.

Chances of such a person being officially identified, let alone held accountable? Zero.


I'm considering holding my nose and voting for Obama at the moment. It depends, right now, on who wins the nomination. All signs point to Romney, who may be a 1%er jerk, but is apparently no worse than Obama and so would leave me free to lodge a "You didn't get my vote Obama, you torturing, executing, jackass" vote for a third party. But there's a moderate risk that Santorum will get the nomination, and actually I believe he's one of very, very, few people on the Republican side who would actively make things worse. And interestingly in part it's because of his proposal for a war on porn that scares me.

It's not so much the subject, although actually I do strongly support the rights of consenting adults to take pictures of each other and sell the pictures and movies on the Internet. My major concern here is the indication that he would consider such a war a priority and the implicit understanding that this means Santorum would, actually, use his executive powers under existing law to impose his screwed up moral values upon the rest of us. Given that there's no suggestion he's opposed to Obama's wars on civil liberties, such a President would give us the worst of all worlds.


And on that note, would one of my conservative readers like to comment upon whether the "Right wing urges Gingrich to drop out, so that Santorum will get a clear run against Romney" thing actually makes sense? It doesn't to me. I've always seen Gingrich as coming from the semi-libertarian branch of the Republican coalition, he's definitely not theocratic, and I don't see someone who supports Gingrich the technocrat with unfortunate personal morals as being a natural Santorum supporter. In fact, I'd assume most of those people would actually consider Romney a better fit with their beliefs.

I understand that Santorum and Gingrich are both considered more "pure" than Romney, but on the left I'd argue that Glenn Greenwald and Vladimir Lenin are considered more pure than Obama - that doesn't mean if all three were running for President, and Greenwald dropped out, Lenin would pick up any of Greenwald's supporters.

So what's the deal? Are the conservative commentators who are calling for Gingrich to step down onto something I don't understand, or are they just... well, as crazy as Santorum?

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