Red, white and blue -- and inky

The measure of patriotism, the price of war, and pleasure of the twilight, this week in TT.

By Salon Staff

Published December 9, 2005 10:32AM (EST)

White House

What's wrong with patriotism?

maryfrances - 01:48 pm Pacific Time - Dec 7, 2005 - #2 of 21

I think the American flag jumped the shark after 9/11. Every overpass, every car, everywhere. Those lapel pins. It's like having a school tie. And there is definitely an "If you're not with us, you're against us" message with the flag.

I find it hard to WANT to take it back. It's so much a part of "Them" that I can't imagine working it back into my life in a meaningful way -- and I'm not sure it was meaningful to me before 9/11. The concept of America, absolutely; the flag, not so much.

White House

Gulf War II - #5

Ken Erfourth - 01:34 pm Pacific Time - Dec 5, 2005 - #8063 of 8117

One problem with articulating a coherent response to the current situation in Iraq (and I too am mindful of the strategic political reasons for allowing the Republicans to stew in their own shit) is that Iraq is such a royal fuckup that there is no good policy available.

As it stands, whatever we do, the United States loses big. If we stay, the resistance continues and likely becomes more and more deadly. Our forces become more and more stretched, and our soldiers, demoralized and ill-led, become more ineffective and brutal. This quagmire saps our national stamina, drags down our economy, and isolates us internationally and morally.

If we pull out entirely, it is likely (not certain) that the Middle East devolves into chaos as Iraq's neighbors are drawn into the conflict over control of Iraq's resources. Worst case, a rising major player like India or China decides to capitalize on the chaos and secure access to Iraq's oil using its massive and capable army. The United States and Europe could find themselves frozen out of Middle East access for the conceivable future.

Each of the above cases also contain the seeds for a revitalized threat of domestic terrorism. Either a frustrated Iraqi resistance decides to up the ante by bringing their bombs and booby traps to the American home front (and who doubts some of the many infiltrators into the Green Zone and other American installations are busy learning how to "pass" as native citizens here in the U.S.), or al-Qaida takes our cutting and running as a sign that America is scared and ripe for more plucking. Plus, the recent demonstrations of misAdministration incompetence can't be at all disturbing to a group bent on wholesale destruction.

That why I see only one good solution -- admit we were wrong and turn over the guilty parties for trial. That puts us on the right side morally, and will give us some international leverage to form a real coalition to put Iraq back on its feet.

If that is politically impossible, then Murtha's plan to strategically withdraw with a force in readiness to turn back any serious incursions by greedy neighbors is the best of a bad lot. We let the Iraqis fight it out between themselves and make friends with the winner. In the meantime, we put some more boots on the ground in Afghanistan to keep the heat on that bin Laden feller little George has forgotten about for so long. The triage option.

Private Life

Bizzare Love of Random People, Places and Things

pushkins - 03:34 pm Pacific Time - Dec 4, 2005 - #67 of 203

I love dusk, the inky feel of it, the smear of fog that appears when the sun falls. I love the way the cranes look against it, full of rust and dangling hooks the size of houses that could crack the whole sky, and the ridge with the row houses and the very incongruous stand of palms. I love the deeper and darker blue ooze that spills across the sky until it's slowly but also suddenly become dark. I love the double-take pinprick of the night's first star and remembering that all around up there, everywhere, is bigger, badder, beautifuler stuff than I'll ever see. I love to wonder what it is, and what it isn't, and to not even have a clue.

Salon Staff

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