Avedon Carol takes on the ridiculous but maddening Either/Or argument supporters of Bush and his private little war have been imposing upon all debates about the debacle in Iraq.
For her post, Onward Bushian Soldiers, in which she also deals with the absolutely relgious faith in the man many of Bush's supporters hang their arguments on and makes the case that the real target of the war on terror has since the beginning been not foreign terrorists but American Liberals, Avedon's found the perfect quote exemplifying that Either/Or-ishness.
Each of us has a Hobbesian choice concerning Iraq; either we hope for the vindication of Bush's risky, very possibly reckless policy, or we are in de facto alliance with the killers of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
Avedon analyzes this according to its own internal logic:
Note that the alternative possibility that Bush will somehow think better of his reckless policy and do something that might work (or even that Divine Providence will intervene), isn't in this equation - you must either believe in the impossible or you support the enemy.
Most interestingly, your "good" option isn't defined as peace or even as just "the good guys win", it's defined as Bush's vindication. It's all about him, as usual.
For the sophisticated Machiavellians among them, there's genius in this agrument because it is all about George Bush; it keeps Bush's image tied to the war, which is better for him even if it is a losing war, because whenever his image gets tied to domestic policies his poll numbers nosedive. (I should say there was genius in it, as lately Bush's tanking in the polls is due as much to his screwing up the war as to his screwing up the ecomomy.) It is also genius because it forces people who disagree into having to trumpet their patriotism and hatred of terrorists first, and it's never very persuasive to start a fight from a defensive crouch.
But for the run of the mill supporters of Bush and his war, they mean the argument. They think they think this. Avedon explains the fundamental blockheadness here---"they can't seem to absorb the possibility that people just plain think the policy itself is not workable"---and then she delivers the perfect metaphor. I've been working on my own metaphor and looking for an opportunity to use it. Something about us all trapped inside a burning house and supporters of the war accusing anybody who points out that the house is about to collapse around our ears of wanting the fire to win. But I like Avedon's metaphor much better. She says:
...they evade the serious debate over the efficacy of the policy by dragging us all into the path of a speeding train and claiming that those who warn that we need to get off the tracks are actually cheering for the train to crush us. Bush says we will defeat the train, and the only reason we might think otherwise is that we have a pathological hatred of Bush, which means we must actually hope that the train will prove him wrong - even if it kills us.
Accurate, urgent, and eloquent.