Time to Stop Playing

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Man, that fool's just playing, man. I ain't sweatin' it.

That's your problem. Ain't nobody playin' but you. You walk up and down the street all day playing. He ain't playin'! You think he playin' about his money? You done dragged me into this. He know where my mama stay. He know where your mama stay. You say he had a gun when you seen him, right? Yeah. Well, name one person in the hood that play like that?

-- conversation between Smokey and Craig in Friday


In the movie Friday, Smokey is supposed to deal marijuana for Big Worm, but ends up smoking most of it and getting caught short of the money and the weed when his supplier decides to send the slow-moving merchandise elsewhere. Big Worm makes a series of threats, eventually letting Smokey see that he is holding a gun and delivering him an ultimatum: Hand over the money by 10:00 that night or die.

The case could be made that the leaders of the Western world are a playing a bunch of baked, wishful-thinking Smokeys to Iran's threat-spouting, pistol-flaunting Big Worm. Minus the facts that we could easily take care of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and that we owe him less than nothing, the analogy isn't too bad, as this news report, which I quote in full, should indicate.
The outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, is backing a call for the president of Iran to be charged with inciting genocide because of his speeches advocating the destruction of the state of Israel.

Barely a week after he announced his resignation from the UN post, Mr Bolton will appear tomorrow among a panel of diplomats and lawyers calling for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be prosecuted. The panel has been convened by a Jewish umbrella group in the US, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations.

Mr Bolton was forced to quit his post after his appointment was blocked by Democrats and several Republicans in the Senate foreign relations committee. President George Bush said he accepted the resignation but was unhappy about it.

The call for legal action came as Mr Ahmadinejad repeated his onslaught against Israel at an international gathering of holocaust deniers in Tehran. The president, who has dismissed the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis as a myth told up to 70 visiting speakers that the Israeli state would soon be wiped out.

"Thanks to people's wishes and God's will, the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want," he said.

He was praised by several participants for his "bravery and democratic actions" a source who was present told the Guardian.

The event came under fierce attack abroad. At his monthly Downing Street press conference, Tony Blair condemned the conference as "shocking beyond belief" and singled out the decision to invite David Duke, a former leading Ku Klux Klan member, as proof of Iran's extremism. Meeting Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, in Berlin, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Germany rejected the conference and would "act against it with all the means that we have". [Pardon me while I whistle through my teeth. --ed] Franco Frattini, the EU's justice commissioner, denounced it as "an affront to the whole democratic world".

By contrast, Mr Duke praised the event as "a tremendous step forward" and said Mr Ahmadinejad said "sensible things".

Mr Bolton will be joined in tomorrow's launch of the legal action against Mr Ahmadinejad by a Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, and the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold, together with experts from the US, Canada and Israel. A suit will be lodged with the international court of justice at The Hague, which will decide whether to hear the action. The panel said the Iranian president was guilty of inciting genocide "by making numerous threats against the United States, calling for the destruction of Israel and instigating discrimination against Christians and Jews". His words violate a 1948 UN genocide convention, to which Iran is a signatory, they said. [bold added]
You and whose army is going to bring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to trial, Mr. Bolton? And after Iran's act of war in 1979 followed by state sponsorship of terrorism ever since -- not just "inciting" murder, but committing it -- we're all of a sudden getting worked up over a bunch of words? Really? Our panties are now magically in a wad about a conference of blowhards after doing nothing about Iran's killing our finest young men in its proxy war in Iraq for the past few years?

And they -- surprised gasp -- invited David Duke! Well, holding dozens of American citizens prisoners for 444 days is one thing, but we have to draw the line here! Oh, the humanity!

Somehow, I don't see Ahmadinejad falling for our bluff. And if we haven't bombed his country to hell and back by now -- and the last time I checked, we haven't -- we're a nation still not earnestly facing the prospect of war. Instead, we're acting like we don't really believe what is going on and if Ahmadinejad will just please snap out of it, we could get back to the business of negotiating in good faith with his prevaricating, repressive, homicidal regime.

This is perhaps, and if we are lucky, the lame-assed altruistic excuse our leaders were looking for -- vice a forthright statement that Iran's time is up because it is threatening America. Our leaders may soon consider starting the diplomatic spadework that will eventually enable them to perform a sneaky end-run around France and Germany. Having overcome that self-imposed hurdle, they can then provide Iran a heads-up and five years to prepare (with Russia's help) for a limited military engagement with an American force that will have to consult an Islamic calendar and call lawyers before they can deploy their weapons. But I doubt even that.

Man, that fool's just playing, man. I ain't sweatin' it.

While we're mobilizing an army of lawyers (and international good feelings) for Ahmadinejad's in absentia trial in The Hague -- probably before a sharia court to avoid offending Islamic sensibilities -- Madman Mahmoud will still be inciting genocide from the safety of Tehran and, more importantly, presiding over his nation's nuclear buildup and possibly Israel's demise. But don't worry, we'll have the best lawyers in the world on our side, arguing for a guilty verdict!

Long ago, back when it seemed that Bush had a coherent plan in this war, one based on establishing a beach-head in Iraq, those of us who supported him could feel smug about the antics -- the "fantasy politics" as one blogger put it -- of the far left.

Moore, on the other hand, "doesn't trust the government" in the sense that he believes that the US is owned and operated, right now in 2003, by an antidemocratic cabal with imminent plans to enslave the world. Now, I don't have any guns, don't know anyone who does, and don't know offhand if we're even allowed to have them in California, except perhaps in the off-site childproof vaults required for cigarettes, but if I seriously believed even half of what Michael Moore claims to, I'd be stockpiling sniper rifles in a buried strongbox at the park. [Bold added. And I'd try persuading others to join my side rather than alienating them. --ed]

And the same goes for the Moore fans. The best way to infer people's beliefs is to watch their actions, and the people who call Moore's movies "provocative" and "important" are neither fleeing the country nor forming underground resistance cells. They don't believe Moore either. At best, they're choosing to place him in a mental gray area not subject to "truth" or "falsehood" tests.

I think it's time to consider the possibility that Michael Moore is valued specifically because he's making it up and known to be making it up. It's fantasy politics, and deliberately so. So "fighting" it with reality-based tactics isn't going to work -- but if you find yourself opposed by fantasy politics, it's worth wondering whether there's all that much to be fighting about in the first place.
Unfortunately, it now seems that it is not just Michael Moore and the loony left who were playing games. Our leaders, who are preparing legal briefs rather than battle plans were and are doing the same damned thing.

This all reminds me of a remark by Edwin Locke about the fact that anticapitalists staged protests at the 2000 Democratic Convention:
Why are the protestors choosing the Democratic convention as their venue? Because they know where their ideological home is. The Democrats have always championed the "little guy," which has often meant penalizing those who made it big. But as philosopher Ayn Rand once noted, there are no little people in America. There are only people, equal before the law, yearning to breathe free and wanting to achieve the best within them. Most Americans do not hate the rich and do not feel unearned guilt because some people or nations are less rich than they are. [bold added]
I recall that many conservatives were puzzled at the strength of the anti-war movement so early on in the war. I now suspect that the answer is the same as that for the question of why anticapitalists chose one party's convention as a venue for its protests: The anti-war left recognized this administration for the fantasy role-players they have turned out to be. They saw leaders who did not fully grasp the reality of their situation or the need to pursue war mercilessly until the Islamofascists stopped being Islamofascists one way or the other: By dying or unconditionally surrendering to the might of the West.

Indeed, they probably knew this from the moment Bush changed his mind about the term "Operation Infinite Justice". And so now, when four years ago, the loony left were protesting an imminent invasion of Iraq, we are seeing John Bolton, as his last bold move before bowing out on an imminent Democrat refusal, pushing for a symbolic trial of a man who should already be dead or hiding.

Mahmoud isn't playing, and neither should we.

-- CAV

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