Reacting to the Dazzling Day's News

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by Tom White by Tom White

I am reduced to sheer impressionistic reaction to the day's Internet offerings. (I got up early this morning, not feeling very well, and unwisely sat down at the computer at 5:00 a.m.)

Over at Anti-war.com Justin Raimondo concentrates on Robert Novak's revelations (via leak) that Bush is planning to get the hell out of Iraq right after the elections, either his own or Iraq's as the case may be.

Can it be – breathstoppingly, heartshakingly – true? Having come to love our deep hate for G. W., do we suddenly about face and vote for him as the peace candidate after all? Or stick by our guns and simply not vote in this impossible farrago of an election campaign offered us at home while we bomb and blast our way to true democracy in the Middle East.

On the LRC Blog: are Bill Buckley and Mark Helprin right, over at National Review, that the only way out is through: keep going and knock over the string: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt. Every American boy (or girl) can grow up to be a Roman governor and tax-farmer in a formerly Islamic land? That should involve an end to unemployment at home and a spreading of our marvelous culture everywhere.

John Kerry has at last gone sort of anti-war in his recent New York speech, but he seems to be thinking of getting out of Iraq in, maybe, four years. What's the mighty rush, John?

Howard Dean writes that Bush should come out and say he is not going to ask for a draft if he is elected. But has Dean's man Kerry so far said that he wouldn't? And what does it matter, anyway, what they say now, in media campaignus? Wilson solemnly swore that American boys were not going to war, while he connived to send them to one; and FDR, in the grand two-party tradition, ditto.

We have just sold 500 bunker busters to Israel, "of no use against the Palestinians," but evidently of great potential use against Iran. Iran, meanwhile, has said that it just might launch a preemptive missile strike if it feels threatened past endurance. Against the U.S.? That seems unlikely, rather, against Israel. Iran appears to be taking lessons from G.W.B.

On LRC Bill Kaufman rips apart Philip Roth's new novel (I can't remember its name – if you want to buy it, all you have to know is that it is "Roth's new novel"). It's "the novel as retroactive propaganda": the novel, as art form, has always been propaganda of one sort or another, usually, or at least for a century or more, in favor of easier, guilt-free sex. Now that is a reliable theme. If I summarize correctly what Bill Kaufman is saying, this novel is a tract against the west-of-the-Hudson boobus Americanus ruralis, the fearful and hated Klan-loving, beer-drinking, red-necked, anti-Semitic, bog-footed, anti-war Amurrican who is agin going to the Middle East to die, damn him.

Bill Bonner (again on LRC) is in deep do-do for having written out against gay marriage. The theme his attackers whack him with is that gay weddeds take on the uprearing of damaged children nobody else wants. I know of such a case. It is indeed very moving: an overflow of love and charity that is quite humbling to observe. But it makes no worthwhile case in favor of gay marriage; it only suggests that charity will cover a multitude of sins, which is not new news. (I see that I have broken my own taboo: that I'm not going to get into that.)

And so on and so on and so on. Somebody (also on LRC somewhere) said that politics is a disease. I guess I've got it. There may be a homeopathic remedy for it. I need a dose. Back to bed.

Tom White [send him mail] writes from Odessa, Texas. He is the author of Bill W., A Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous (2003).

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