War

The Abuse of Counterfactual History (10 Years After, Cont’d)

If finding WMDs had not mattered, how much would finding them have mattered?

Posted in Featured, History, Neo-Imperialism, War Tagged with: ,

Responsibility to Project (10 Years After #3)

If the implacable self-deception of that moment ten years ago produced a shallowly mistaken, embarrassingly unjustifiable, finally tragic assertion of a global regency and its prerogatives, the commensurate and necessary deception of this moment might be of a safe, simply chosen abdication.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Politics, War Tagged with:

The Iraq War “Imminence Debate” in Retrospect

Getting caught up on the terms of the discussion can be misleading when the whole point of the new initiative is that the terms of the old discussion are no longer adequate. That people fall into the old terminology constantly should not be surprising, but the fact that they do is relevant to the main questions only as evidence of their very novelty, and illustration of how difficult it can be to discuss and cope with them at all.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Politics, War Tagged with:

Larison’s Feaver

Larison himself is among those frequently and pointedly making the argument that Larison says no one ever makes.

Posted in International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, War Tagged with: , ,

Ship of State of Fools

…a residue or by-product of the same (world-)historical process realized as a nearly entirely dysfunctional passive aggressive national government care-taking the affairs of the passive aggressive polity that it passive-aggressively reflects, represents, and embodies, and that it is expected to preserve and to protect.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Philosophy, Politics, The Exception, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Holder to Paul: “I point to my mask!”

As is typical for Administration critics among left-liberals and libertarians, Digby blames the the executive branch, here represented by its last two chiefs and its current top lawyer, for offering lawyerly locutions on a decisively legal matter, as though the answers to the underlying questions would and must be both non-legalistically simple as well as simply favorable to the ideological liberal legal position. As an ideologue, she is unwilling to imagine that the truth might be relatively simple, but unfavorable to her ideology or at least to the notion of its universality and completeness. The spokesperson for the executive branch is at such times embodying the foundational paradoxes of the liberal democratic order, at the classic exceptional moment in which liberalism encounters the coincidence of its own real-political and conceptual limits.

Posted in Drone as Symbol, The Exception, Torture Tagged with: , , , , ,

Two exchanges on Paul v the Exceptional Circumstance

Final responsibility for the defense of the constitutional order necessarily implies the ability to dissolve the constitutional order – if not by ordering up a nuclear war or declaring a state of emergency, and so on, then by simple failure to act against a threat to it or to fulfill the responsibility of his office. The scope of presidential power is in this sense at least commensurate to the scope of the legal order.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, War Tagged with: , , ,

Further on Pathos v The Drones: Conventionalizing the Unconventionalizable

The overall dysfunctionality of a political discussion can be the product of countless such lesser dysfunctionalities, though the overall dysfunctionality of that discourse may in turn be what makes it manageable, or manageable enough. We dislike things the way they dysfunctionally are, and that is how we like things.

Posted in Drone as Symbol, Featured, Philosophy, The Exception, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Utopian Pathos vs The Drones

The pathos of the libertarian lament reminds us of real death and suffering, and of real failures of policy and moral imagination, but such stubborn self-insistence makes it difficult for others to speak to the would-be prophets other than as to children. Here as so often, the ideological libertarian position reveals itself to be implicitly pacifist and essentially anti-political, in a word utopian, in calling for an impossible polity, one that would be inherently incapable of defending itself or its integrity against violent opposition, whether from actual states or from so-called non-state (actually crypto- or proto-state) actors.

Posted in Drone as Symbol, Philosophy, Politics, The Exception Tagged with: , ,

Torture as Individualized War, War as Socialized Torture

In an “objective” if not necessarily “morally clear” accounting, the thousands killed and thousands more disfigured and terrified would receive many thousands of times greater concern. The child dismembered by a bomb blast, the soldier buried alive in a bunker, the prisoner merely sent off to some conventional Hell, and on and on, precisely as they become multiplied by thousands or millions and turned into numbers, all seem to command less outrage and concern than the captive in manacles.

Posted in Featured, Philosophy, Politics, The Exception, Torture, War Tagged with: , , , , , , ,