Friday, April 09, 2004

A Plan is a Plan

Also over at TAPPED, Big Media Matt discusses the Bushies' MO about everything - do what they want and damn the consequences. Their approach to everything is "a hornet stung me so I have the right to wack its nest with a stick!" (Or, more recently, "a hornet might sting me so I have the right to wack its nest with a stick!") Now, either of those may be true from a moral perspective, but that doesn't mean that the practical consequences are ones we really want.

No matter how evil or bad or deserving of the worst sort of punishment our opponents are, sometimes finding a nonviolent solution to the problem is preferable. This isn't "appeasement" - it's just making the best out of a crap situation.

I think part of the problem is that we're in the mindset that the opposition in Iraq are "terrorists." It's more helpful to perceive them as an "opposition army." This isn't because I think they're "less bad" than terrorists, but rather it helps reframe the way we deal with them. And, to the extent that the opposition does have some nominal leaders, this isn't so far off the mark.

Let's submit that Sadr is a bad guy and his supporters are following a bad guy and a bad cause. If they, and he, are "terrorists," then we can't negotiate with them because you can't negotiate with terrorists because it just encourages more terrrorism. On the other hand, you can potentially negotiate a surrender with an opposition army. That's how battles and wars are generally ended, after all. I have no idea if negotiation is possible - maybe it isn't. Maybe there's no willingness on the other side. Maybe there's no solution but to keep blasting away. But, if we just assume that blasting away is the only option because bad guys are bad and we must kill them, then either the violence will continue to escalate or we'll be running a country with none of the "freedom" Dear Leader keeps babbling about, or likely both.

We need to find something that works. more thing. I know part of the reason the administration wants to call everyone bad "terrorists" is for the propaganda value. But, the thing is they actually believe it themselves. Anything bad is a terrorist, all the terrorists are allied with each other, and they're all against us.