Thursday, January 12, 2012

Arianna Huffington's Aristophanean Wit against the War

I'm republishing the following piece for the browsers of this new website.

A retort: By Con George-Kotzabasis to:

 Bush and the Truthiness Taliban By Arianna Huffington
Huffington Post-February 27, 2006

Arianna, coming long ago from an ancient philosophical stock, always presents her arguments with cogency and “tinsel town” wit. But whilst her Aristophanean wit has the power to lift even a great philosopher, the basket - laid Socrates into the clouds, she is no Athena, and lacks wisdom to bring the great philosopher down to earth from her politically idealistic clouds. . She argues that the Bush administration “sold us the invasion of Iraq” with false claims and half-truths, which she satirizes as “truthiness”, and she jeeringly says that the “’Saddam unleashed mushroom clouds’ could be the logo for the truthiness society”, i.e., the Bush administration. But after the lethal attacks on New York and Washington, the Bush administration, or any administration, would hardly need to sell the war to Americans by sleek and crafty Madison Avenue techniques, as a majority of Americans would have bought the war, and did, at any price.

The fact is, that Bush invaded Iraq not because Saddam had a link to the 9/11 attack but because of the high probability of his link with a future 9/11, that would have been more devastating than the first one. No responsible and insightful political leadership could disregard and discount this probability of a connection between terrorists and rogue states in the near future, and do nothing about it. The war in Iraq had as its primary aim the prevention of this ominous coupling of suicidal fanatic terrorists with rogue states, the latter being willing and able to furnish the former with the lethal weapons that would mortally endanger America and the rest of the West. Only someone who was living in a state of pathological complacency and moral and intellectual indifference, enjoying the stupefying and ephemeral glittering comforts of ones narrow and egotistical existence could have mocked and lampooned the above “truthick” threat as “truthiness”. In times of danger, it’s utter foolishness to indulge in the rambling diversions of witty political satire or in gloomy broodings instead of taking firm action.

Moreover, to bring in Halliburton’s corporate shenanigans, which for many Americans is justifiably an emotional issue, is to bring into the debate of the war the American public “roaring like an oak on fire”, to quote Aristophanes, when more than ever, in face of some US strategic errors, cool deliberation is needed. Especially when, the question as to whether the US should stay the course in Iraq or should cut and run, must be answered by the public and its leaders from the Congress and the House, soberly and wisely. Probing to the highest possible degree whether a premature withdrawal from Iraq would bring in its wake dire and catastrophic consequences for the people of Iraq and of the region in general, and whether it would also embolden the terrorists to perpetrate even more deadly attacks against the US and the West in general. With such high stakes in place, Arianna’s insinuation that corporate greed is a major cause of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is ethically and intellectually irresponsible. It’s also, historically and economically benighted. In all economic systems of demand and supply economic units prosper. In war when the demand reaches astronomical heights only the biggest and the most possibly efficient corporations can supply these huge demands. And by the irreversible laws of economics they are the biggest beneficiaries. But does this economic reality in any way impugn a just war? If I’m allowed to remind Arianna, Themistocles (I’m using this historical event as an illustration not as a comparison in respect to the personal merits of Bush or Cheney to those of the great Athenian), the victor of Xerxes invasion of Greece that saved the latter from despotism and slavery, was subsequently accused of peculation and was banished from Athens. Did this accusation in any way diminish Themistocles’s illustrious standing as one of the greatest generals of his era of whom Thucydides so admirably had written about?

It maybe, that all the above examples are for Arianna seeds sown in a barren intellectual soil and she will never reap their invaluable lessons. It seems she is more concerned in vying with comedian Stephen Colbert - whom she calls the “godfather of truthiness” – for the first prize of truthiness, and it’s more likely than not that she will win the Dionysian Oscar for truthiness in this contest of wits.

I rest on my oars: your turn now...