Saturday, April 10, 2004

Overestimating our competence

Ahhhh. David Brooks wants us to The New York Times > Opinion >"Take a Deep Breath".

Explaining why things aren't as bad as they seem - why the sky isn't falling, why the deck chairs need rearranging, why the water isn't rising, why this new suit looks great - in Iraq, he concisely lays out Sadr's strengths:

He has cleverly picked his moment, and he has several advantages. He is exploiting wounded national pride. He is capitalizing on the Iraqis' frustration with the American occupation (they continually overestimate our competence, then invent conspiracy theories to explain why we haven't transformed Iraq).

Most important, Sadr has the advantages that always accrue to fascist thugs. He is vicious, while his opponents are civilized.


He is vicious, we are civilized.

I'll continue to contend, however, that - as we learned by watching Se7en - essentializing something as "Evil" is taking the easy way out.

Now, sit and stare in shock and awe with me - how we can so easily cut things down to size - ignore chances to understand motives so that we may find peace and end the rivers of blood running down far away streets:

Over the long run, though, the task is unavoidable. Sadr is an enemy of civilization. The terrorists are enemies of civilization. They must be defeated.

How?

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