What the ‘Progressive Movement’ does not seem to grasp….

….simple really we can’t engineer a progressive transformation of society and politics with folks writing posts like this: War is Bad for the Economy.
seems obvious but let’s unpack this post.

Let’s start with the title. At Drinking Liberally, Oaktown Chapter we long ago, 2003 or so, started calling the conflict in Iraq what it really is. It is an occupation
not a ‘War’. This is important. Words matter as some guy who keeps popping up on TeeBee keeps insisting. In this case Jeffery Feldman and George Lakoff would agree
I do believe. War is something you ‘win’ or ‘lose’ Americans don’t like to lose so by sticking with the corporatist media terminology the poster is off on the wrong foot at the very
beginning. Survey’s also show that Americans don’t like to think of our nation as ‘occupying’ another one make ’em feel bad about themselves. Since, according to the poster, we are
trying to persuade the citizens of our point of view which is that the occupation of Iraq is a bad thing this framing is to be preferred over the use of ‘the war in Iraq’.

If that was all that was wrong with this post I’d not bother to write this which few will read but there are more serious flaws in the argument being advanced here. Let’s unpack Bowers spaghetti prose. Here’s where the essential fallacy of his argument falls on it’s face:

However, winning an election on the platform that war spending is bad for the economy is exactly the sort of mandate for change that we need to order to end the national security state, reduce military spending, and implement the comprehensive reforms of The Responsible Plan When 71% of Americans view spending on war to be a drag on the economy, the justification to reduce military spending is accepted by a supermajority of the public, and skepticism about engaging in future military operations of this scale is cemented in the public consciousness for decades.

I’ve never seen an numbers like ‘71% think….’ Indeed you’d have to think that the citizenry are idiots to believe this. If you’ve read my posts on Military Keynesianism or those of some other bloggers and non-bloggers you’d know that the occupation is not necessarily ‘bad for the economy’ indeed at the levels of spending we see now it’s propping up the economy. Later during the inflationary post-occupation phase things will not be so good for the average American but that requires telling a comlex tale of economics that I am dubious the blogosphere can and the corporatist media have no intention of doing. Further, many average Americans are part of the MIC and don’t think for minute like Mr. ‘Creative Class’ Bowers does that they don’t know that. Ask the dudes over at Boeing why don’t ya?

Trust me on this, just imagine for second I’m Bower’s hero the ‘Magic Man’, I saw the New Left attempt the same sort of attack on the War in Vietnam and it failed utterly. Don’t get me wrong good arguments can be made that the occupation of Iraq has real effects here in America. Bad effects. Direct connections can be drawn between disaster un-preparedness here, Governor Schwarzenegger has already made this ‘bi-partisan’; the chunks of crumbling roadway hammering the average citizen’s car into scrap can also be pointed out; the coming waves of homeless mentally ill soldiers who will take to the streets very soon make a cogent argument.

But arguing from the point of view of ‘the economy’ only does two things: first, makes people nervous about the future and second, their eyes glaze over unless you connect the war with real specifics in their lives not abstract ideas like ‘the economy’.

I’ve spent more time on this than I wanted but I just cannot abide some of the dumbassery we are now getting from folks who really, really should abide by Mark Twain’s excellent suggestion.

It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.


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