Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pottery Barn Theories

If you've sufferred the misfortune of seeing of the US Presidential TV Debates, then you've probably heard somebody, in one party or the other, suggest that like a neato planter from the Pottery Barn™ "we" broke Iraq, so "we" have bought it.

At the mindless, emotional level this makes a lot of sense. Well, not really. The mindless, emotional level doesn't really have any critical thought, so I guess "it just feels right" would be more accurate.

But, when subjected to any critical thought, the Pottery Barn analogy is either deeply offensive, racist, garbage or bizzarro nonsense. Or a little bit of both, maybe, in some permutation of it.

For starters, it's pretty strange to suggest that "we" (I'm not included in "we"--I had nothing to do with this disaster--and you probably didn't either) broke Iraq so "we" own it. Iraq is a nation of more than 25 million people, their land, and their stuff. So to say that "we" broke & own it is either completely nonsensical or some sort of massive slavery.

In the less literal meaning that the folks in Washington D.C. destroyed the place and so they have to fix all the problems...that would make sense, but has two problems.

First, they aren't the ones who are going to be the ones who get killed, maimed, and disfigured cleaning up the mess they created. Our people in uniform are and cleaning up after chickenhawk politicians like Dick Cheney isn't, to the best of my knowledge, in their contracts or what they swore an oath to do.

Second, it assumes the people in Washington even know how to go about de-disasterifying Iraq. With the number of times they've switched supporting factions already, and with the vast number of factually incorrect statements they make about the various Iraqi factions, the likelihood of them guessing how to go about that is negligible.

But, that's just dissecting what the idiotic phrase really means. Its unspoken, but fundamental and underlying assumption, is what's truly perplexing. If "we" "broke" Iraq, so "we" have to "buy" it or however one chooses to phrase it, that necessarily implies that it wasn't "broken" before "we" went in there. That is to say that Iraq, under the Iron-fisted rule of the Bogey-man of Baghdad, wasn't broken.

So the old, demagogic, neo-con taunt of, "So you think Iraq was better off under Sadam Hussein? (You, enemy of liberty, you!)" has actually been answered by the neo-cons. And it turns out that even neo-cons agree with the antiwar movement: Iraq was much better off under Sadam Hussein.

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