Thursday, August 10, 2006

Behold: militarist logic

There is a revolting and altogether bizarre argument spreading through the right-wing universe. It has roughly four parts -- let me lay them out:

Couplet of rhetorical questions: Shouldn't any remotely civilized society believe in the equality of human life? Does the Arab world consider Israeli lives equal to Lebanese ones?

Reasonable answers: Yes, and no.

Subsequent inference: This is a war of cultures, between a plural, democratic nation and a medievalist swarm bent on religious tyranny.

Utterly absurd conclusion: We must fight the hatemongers and terrorists in Lebanon and accept the deaths of innocent Lebanese.

When you consider the complete, unembellished argument, its nasty hypocrisy becomes clear. Feverish militarists start with Arab disregard for Israeli life, churn it through partisan rhetoric, and ultimately conclude that Lebanese lives aren't that important. Their statements, indeed, mirror revenge screeds from the other side. Sure, there's more intellectual sophistication: nebulous references to human dignity abound. But the logic is nothing beyond a slimy heap of non-sequiturs, babble from apologetics with no goal but proving themselves right.

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