Tuesday, August 02, 2005

MALAISE. You have always supported the war. In fact, you have been an unusually stalwart advocate, because it is war, and war is serious; "This is war, not a Dr. Phil show."

But things have gotten strange. The Administration, which you supported for its steadfastness on the war, now says the war is actually more of a "struggle." This seems to fit its recent conduct. The Brits have decided to respond to terror attacks with police work instead of indiscriminate foreign invasions, and that seems to be working out pretty well.

Is the war a "struggle"? You yourself have written that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the U.S. just pulled out of a still-exploding Iraq. A sensible position, perhaps, though rather at odds with your previous don't-abandon-Iraq position. Maybe you and the President have grown together. Maybe this is what centrism is all about!

But maybe this is also far less satisfying than the certainties of days gone by.

On the mild provocation of some ill-chosen words by Juan Cole, you roll out terrorism's greatest hits in 22 colorful pictures. This lengthy exhibition does demonstrate that terror is more than, to use Cole's glib phrase, "four guys in a gymn (sic) in Leeds." But a sentence or two would have done as much. Why the warnography? Perhaps just for the thrill of "fisking" a notorious dissident in language (or lack thereof) that even your densest commenters will understand.

Or maybe these wan days of unwar have awakened in you a need that even fisking cannot fulfill. Maybe, by repeated viewing of atrocity photos, you're trying to relive the outrages of 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, and all the other soul-stirring number combinations. Maybe they remind you of the days of flags and unity, the days when "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch was still a big deal, when Rudy Giuliani was America's Mayor and Fox was America's Network -- when the Leader's numbers were in the stratosphere rather than the toilet -- when you could just cite a number or a show a picture and suddenly everyone was right on board with whatever you wanted to do.

Either that or you just aren't very eloquent.

UPDATE. The great philosopher known as The Editors has expanded on this here.


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