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Madeline Albright, oh how I miss you, you stout little brainiac

Madeline Albright writes an excellent opinion piece in today's LA Times that you should read. In it she explains that the US government has made a big mistake in breaking the world up into "good" and "evil", because it does not aknowledge the reality of its complexity and leads to undesired outcomes.

I will give one example from the article, because I think you should go read it.

By lumping Saddam Hussein, Al Quaeda, and Iran's current leadership into the "evil" group, decision-makers are denied the information that bin Laden and Hussein didn't get along with Hussein, who in turn persecuted Sunni and Shia, and in fact fought a brutal war against Iran in the 1980's. And now the Americans have propped up an Iran-friendly government, because the Iraqi elections have made a "good" government; it's idiotic.

Her three pieces of (unrequested) advice to Bush:

The first is to understand that although we all want to "end tyranny in this world," that is a fantasy unless we begin to solve hard problems.

...

Second, the Bush administration should disavow any plan for regime change in Iran - not because the regime should not be changed but because U.S. endorsement of that goal only makes it less likely.

...

Third, the administration must stop playing solitaire while Middle East and Persian Gulf leaders play poker.


Naturally, the subtlety (cough) of her arguments are going to blow right on past the right-wing zealots that take comfort in the Biblical good vs. evil myth that the Bushites have created. It is easier to sleep at night in the secure knowledge that you are right and they are wrong (we should go ask Adam Daifallah that question), however the reality of the world is far more complicated and disconcerting.

As an example of one such response, I point you toward the barely-coherent babblings of the Strong Conservative for no other reason than I apparently think you don't deserve to start your weekend without a dollop of suffering first. You see, Jonathan reads in her opinion:
Its as though she believes that since the problem has not been solved in the 3 years since the invasion of Iraq and the 5 years since 9-11, we should just plain give up.

This would imply that she's been a backer of Bush's doctrine for a while, but has now changed her mind. Ummm, no.

And he also misinterprets her warning about planning for regime change in Iran as being caving in on "our own values and interests", even though she explicitly stated that the goal was not the problem, rather US endorsement of it publicly is. Apparently he can't even read the news enough to know that this is 100% true. Doesn't he understand that the final nail in the coffin of the moderates leading up to the Palestinian elections was American support?

Sheesh.

[Edit: I forgot to note that the Strong Conservative article was titled "Albright Portrays the Pessimism of the Left". Apparently the Left's pessimism is bad because it aknowledges the complexity of the world and the difficulty of doing things. Contrast this with the optmism of the Right, which blindly runs us into walls because it allows us to take actions without understanding the risks and likelihood of failure in advance. I'm starting to see it more clearly now - Pessimism = Realism; Optimism = "we create our own reality". Seriously, which one of these viewpoints is appropriate for YMCA summer camp and which for the leader of your country?]

"the Left's pessimism"

When the liberal imperialist who declared on national television that the price of half a million Iraqi children dead from the U.S.-pushed sanctions was "worth it" gets called "Left," then we're in trouble. Of course, we are in trouble.

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