2005/02/17

Reading too much into things

New York Magazine looks at a statement by Markos Moulitsas in DailyKos, that “January was the third bloodiest month for U.S. and allied troops. Will that cease now that Iraqis have voted? Nope . . . The war will continue unabated.” The author reads into this statement that Moulitsas is hoping for a US defeat. Personally, I read it as a simple statement of fact. By the time this issue of the magazine was published, the war has resumed its prior ferocity and the level of attacks are unchanged from a week before the elections.
The author also feels that the elections are a great and significant victory for the Bush Administration that should cause lefties everywhere to rethink their opposition to the war. I noticed that he also feels that:

....our heroic and tragic liberal-intellectual capaciousness is facing its sharpest test since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back then, most of us were forced, against our wills, to give Ronald Reagan a large share of credit for winning the Cold War. Now the people of this Bush-hating city are being forced to grant the merest possibility that Bush, despite his annoying manner and his administration’s awful hubris and dissembling and incompetence concerning Iraq, just might—might, possibly—have been correct to invade, to occupy, and to try to enable a democratically elected government in Iraq.

I have no idea what this guy is talking about. When I was a freshman in college in 1978, I was aware that the Soviet Union was a declining power and that they had become a stodgy, flabby country without any real fire or imagination. Their misadventures in Afghanistan, their inability to secure the place, made their weakness all the more obvious. When they finally collapsed in 1989, Reagan was far more the guy who had been sitting in the Presidential Chair than he was any sort of conquering hero. If any of Reagan's actions were responsible for decisively weakening the Soviet Union, I'm not aware of them. The claim has been made that it was Reagan's arms buildup that did the trick. Leaving aside the fact that President Carter began that buildup after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, there was little evidence then and there has been none since to indicate that it made any serious difference to the Soviet economy. Mikhail Gorbachev has written that the Soviet Union had deep and serious economic problems that had become quite serious long before he or Reagan ever took office.

My feeling on the election is that it would have been nice had they really meant anything and yes, it's possible they still might, but nothing can be considered as really accomplished yet.

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