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March 10, 2005

Dear World: Yes, We Are Completely Insane

Via Kevin Drum, the New York Times says that:

After years of campaigning against Hezbollah, the radical Shiite Muslim party in Lebanon, as a terrorist pariah, the Bush administration is grudgingly going along with efforts by France and the United Nations to steer the party into the Lebanese political mainstream...

In other words, the Bush administration is acting in a non-crazy fashion. However, that doesn't mean the crazitude isn't still seething beneath the surface:

"Hezbollah has American blood on its hands," an administration official said, referring to such events as the truck bombing that killed more than 200 American marines in Beirut in 1983. "They are in the same category as Al Qaeda."

This is similar to a statement made a few years ago by Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's then-deputy at the State Department. According to Armitage, "Hezbollah may be the A-team of terrorists...They have a blood debt to us."

What so peculiar about these pronouncements are the assumptions underlying them. Of course, Hezbollah does have American blood on its hands. However, America had supported both an occupation of Lebanon (by Syria beginning in 1975) and an invasion (by Israel in 1982). Then we sent our own troops, and, as Colin Powell wrote in his autobiography:

... the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey start[ed] hurling 16-inch shells into the mountains above Beirut, in World War II style, as if we were softening up the beaches on some Pacific atoll prior to an invasion. What we tend to overlook in such situations is that other people will react much as we would... And since they could not reach the battleship, they found a more vulnerable target, the exposed Marines at the airport.

So, here's the reasoning of people like Armitage, etc.: We allowed to encourage countries to invade Lebanon. We are allowed to send our military to take sides in the Lebanese civil war. We are allowed to shell Lebanon. However, if some Lebanese attack the US military in Lebanon, THEY ARE BREAKING THE RULES.

To get an idea of how completely nuts this is, imagine some country—let's call it Lunaticistan—had a history of meddling in US politics, and had encouraged both Canada and Mexico to invade the US. Then Lunaticistan had sent its own troops to New York, while merrily shelling northern New Jersey. Then Americans attacked and killed some of Lunaticistan's troops. And twenty years later, government officials of Lunaticistan were still talking about the "blood debt" that Americans owed them. Meanwhile, no one in Lunaticistan noticed how nuts this was.

That might be acceptable from a country called Lunaticistan, since their name would involve a certain amount of truth in advertising. But as far as America goes, we should either (1) cut it out, or (2) change our name to the United States of Crazed Maniacs.

Posted at March 10, 2005 07:40 AM | TrackBack

America, like the pope, is infallible. Why do you hate America so much?

Posted by: Alexis at March 10, 2005 09:01 AM

Sorry. But that is the present response to every rational argument.

Posted by: Alexis at March 10, 2005 09:02 AM

America? Hell: why do you hate Lunaticistan so much?

Posted by: Shahed at March 10, 2005 09:36 AM


That made me laugh out loud.


That made me weep. But—silently.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at March 10, 2005 09:46 AM

One thing that I find very confusing: is Lunaticistan pronounced with a hard "c" or a soft "c" (s sound)? I mean, you'd expect it to be a hard "c", but it's followed by an "i" so it's hard to say. Plus since the place was founded by lunatics, I hesitate to draw any conclusions.

I think a large part of the problem is the language we use to describe these things. Take the phrase "Softening Up the Beaches". I mean, when you put it that way, how dare they fight back? It sounds like our shells are just filled with soothing Aloe and Vitamin E.

And then there's "Shock and Awe". Nobody should be fighting back, of course, because they're just too shocked.

Posted by: Ted at March 10, 2005 11:18 AM

Don't weep too long,'ll need that energy to fight off America's enemies.

As a Canadian, of course, it is all right for me to hate America.

Posted by: Alexis at March 10, 2005 01:35 PM


Don't you worry—my tears give me strength. TO CRUSH CANADA!!!!!


You're quite right about the unusual pronunciation of Lunaticistan. Dialects there differ, but the most common way the people say it is "BEEE-snar-WAAA-sven."

Then they punch you.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at March 11, 2005 05:41 AM