Monday, August 14, 2006

Mama always told my not to look into the eyes of the sun ...

Well, Monkey Fluids linked to me, so I guess I have to write something ... but what? I know, I'll break my blasted habit of writing half a post, getting tired or distracted, promising to post the rest of it tomorrow (or next week) and then never mentioning it again.

Just to confound you all.

Does it matter whether the United States saved our bacon in WWII?

So let's ignore the preceeding post and take it as read that the US were the good guys who saved our pasty white asses from the [insert suitably jingoistic description of the Japanese] hordes. Does that mean we automatically have a reciprocal duty to support them in their future military endeavors? In my opinion the answer is an unequivocal "it depends".

Now my approach to the question is moral; there is of course a whole other argument based on realpolitik which basically says do whatever is in your best interests - and whatever you can get away with - and to the casual observer that is how international politics seems to work 99% of the time. But that's not today's discussion. Today we are asking, "what is the morally correct path when deciding whether or not to support the US, given that the US supported us in WWII?"

To answer the question, let's start with an tree analogy (the analogy isn't about trees, but I'm going to add some branches, hence ...):

You are walking along a dark alley on your way home from a long bout drinking with your buddy Winston. You are approached by several gentlemen of unpleasant countenance and an ugly disposition, who suggest to you that a failure to hand over your wallet would lead to an unfortunate accident with a broken bottle. You, being drunk and a 98-pound weakling, decide to give up without a fight - when, Praise The Lord!, your neighbour Bob rushes into the alley with his .45 and shows those ruffians that a large handgun, a twitchy eye and a lifetime membership of the NRA trumps a broken bottle in 9 out of 10 dark alleyway confrontations. You, of course, are extremely grateful for Bob's timely intervention and swear undying friendship to him.

Next week, Bob comes over to your house and suggests one of the following:
  1. That you both go out to the dark alley and mug the next drunken, 98-pound weakling that passes. After all, he saved your ass last week, so you owe him.
  2. That you both go out to the dark alley and lie in wait for more muggers who might be preying on drunken, 98-pound weaklings. After all, he saved your ass last week, so you owe him.
  3. That you go over to the next street where Bob believes the muggers live in their crack house, so you can indulge in some vigilante justice by torching the place, thereby killing the muggers, their families, and burning down the house next door when the fire gets out of control. After all, he saved your ass last week, so you owe him.
... I'm sure you get the picture. The obligation owed is relatively insignificant when weighed against the moral weight of the actions requested. The argument for obligation has it's most weight when you have already decided the rightousness of the action. Saddam Hussain is a bad, bad man, and has WMDs, and we need to free the Iraqis, and it will kick sand in the faces of all those terrorists ... and we saved your ass, so you owe us. If you believe that Saddam doesn't have WMDs (or cannot conceivably use them if he has them), or that invading won't free the Iraqis, and will just serve as a sop to terrorists ... then "we saved your ass, so you owe us won't hold much water.

Now if the US was to ask us to do the geopolitical equivalent of helping to build their BBQ pit and maybe join the neighbourhood watch group ... maybe the argument from obligation is more persuasive.

Golly, all this seriousness is getting me down.

I fricking knew it! Those bastards!
America's plan to invade NZ - courtesy of Anth.

You always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask:
Would Vietnam war money have been better spent bribing the enemy to stop fighting?
How do Porcupines mate?
Oh come on, like you never wondered.

Why the goddamn hell have I never heard of this before?
The USS Liberty Incident pick (courtesy of Span):
Harry Potter and the mystery of an academic obsession. Two words: Potter Porn. Best quote - "the speaker does a quick poll to see who present writes narratives involving bestiality. Hands shoot up."

The full lyrics to the Best. Song. Ever:
Blinded by the light. It would have been by popular request but you bastards are all cultural philistines so I'll just have to ram it down your throat for your own good.

The full lyrics to the Other. Best. Song. Ever:
Lawyers, guns and money. Warren Zevon is my hero.

1 comment:

jonathan becker said...

found three mistakes without even trying in the "blinded" lyrics. maybe cuz manfred mann is english, obscure american cultural references, etc. Hurly burly... love the song, love the blog