I had a brief attack of conscience after I posted the ludicrous photo of Hillary Clinton yesterday and considered deleting it. Anyone who is photographed multiple times in every public appearance is bound to be caught once in a while looking goofy. It could just as well happen to you or me if we were public figures. (Well, you may be one, for all I know, but I'm not and hope to keep it that way.)
But I have not made the photo go away. For one thing, it's already been published in a newspaper, so it will hardly make any difference if it appears in Reflecting Light. (The photo editor of the Mail must either dislike Clinton or have a strange sense of humor: did you notice the other picture, in which she is staring wide-eyed into the sky, as if entering the Rapture?)
The other reason is, the leading politicians of my country are making me feel sick. I am so disgusted I don't feel like being "fair." Hillary Clinton seems to be as instrumental as anyone in urging us to commit ourselves to the violent ward at the Arab League and U.N. Psychiatric Facility for reasons that escape reason.
Why are we bombing one set of Libyans on behalf of another set of Libyans?
To save the rebels from savage retribution by Kadaffy's forces? I'm sorry, you start a revolution against a Middle Eastern Supersheik, you have to expect it will go hard with you if you lose. Our very own founders knew jolly well that they would swing from British nooses if the colonies finished out of the money.
I don't want to see nasty retribution against the anti-Kadaffy insurgents, but why do we have to commit any more of our resources to save their hides? Who says they are anything but another alliance of tribes in a kaleidoscopic constant shifting of tribes? What if they turn out to be palsy-walsy with Al Qaeda and their ilk? Check out the picture of that rebel-for-"democracy" shouting "Allahu Akbar!" Is this the elusive Bigfoot, the "moderate" Muslim?
But in a sense there is no point debating strategy with the Obama administration and their running dog Republican enablers in the latest mid-east rumble. There is no strategy, no game plan, no prize to be won except "looking good, baby" if we and the Arab League come out momentarily on top. This no-fly-zoning and missile launching is pure improvisation, making it up as Commander Barack and the enraptured General Hillary go from one news conference to another.
What also makes me sick is that our policymakers seem to have a conception of war that is purely abstract, played out by impersonal "forces." We decide, almost on a whim, which "force" is good and which is bad. Those distinctions don't look so clear on the ground. I am haunted by that photo of the burning tank and the soldiers cooking inside it. To our humanitarian war leaders, they are members of the "pro-Kadaffy forces." But it's unlikely any of them gave a rat's bum about Kadaffy. They were drafted, or were poor men who joined the army to have any job at all.
I'm no pacifist. I want us to have the world's strongest military. Sometime we really may have to use it once more. This isn't that time.