David Brooks: Wanker

I have a love/hate relationship with David Brooks of the NYT. Sometimes, he’s the only conservative voice I can stomach on particular issues. Others, like yesterday’s column, dude goes off the rails into insanity.

Get a load of this statement regarding the current “sociological” state of Iraq (bolds mine):

Shiite militias are gradually consolidating control. They are expelling the Sunnis. They have created a system of street justice, complete with underground Islamic courts. They’ve battled rival militias. They fund their activities through extortion and bribery. But amid the mafia behavior and ethnic cleansing, they’ve created relative calm. Two thousand Shiite families have moved in.

“This is now a success story: an ethnically cleansed safe place. Instead of a sort of managed soft partition that at least has a shot of transferring power to the best local people, we’re now getting machine-gun partition that transfers power to the most violent people. For Iraqis, the thug who rules your local gas station rules your life.”

Back up a second: “thugs” who are “dispensing street justice” via “extortion and bribery” and various methods of “ethnic cleansing” are considered “success stories”?

Ethnic cleansing is success? I had to re-read the column twice to make sure I didn’t miss some pithy Brooks aside, but I didn’t. He’s actually making an argument for mass blood-letting in Iraq (“the hunger for a final crushing victory overshadows any spirit of sectarian compromise”). Let the “bodies be dragged through the streets” and we’ll eventually see peace in our time.

Way to go, Dave. Of all the various strategeries I’ve read for ending the War in Iraq, that’s got to be the dumbest yet.

Cross posted from AoF

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4 Responses to David Brooks: Wanker

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    Depending on if you believe Turkey or believe Turkey, Turkey either did or did not just send troops in to Northern Iraq. Or maybe it just depends on what the meaning of is is. There are conflicting reports, but are probably saying the same thing when it is understood that there were “only” thousands of troops, and it takes “tens of thousands to qualify as an incursion”. A truly crazy place.

    No one seems to have a good handle on who’s killing who, or for what reason. So our troops are now actively trying to sort out something that apparently can’t be sorted out (“surging”), and are exposed to everyone in the process. There are few who can’t gain by killing an American, and few who can gain by not doing it.

    There must be more than a little temptation to shoot yourself, shoot an officer, or just shoot anything that moves. And we’re told that the only way to lend our support to our military is to help promote the status quo.

  2. Ginny Cotts says:

    The thing about loose canons is that you have to pay attention to them. Usually the ammo is harmless, every so often it is potentially useful, and then there is the stuff that could blow everything up – including the canons.

    Brooks is really a pendulum – sometimes I wonder if he makes sane arguments occasionally just to keep people reading his true beliefs.

    Well, the Middle East is more and more a model of stabilization, security and democracy – in our worst nightmares.

  3. John says:

    Not absolutely sure about this as Brooks does not make himself as clear as he should have. Brooks has for some time now been advocating a managed “soft partition” strategy along the lines of ambassador Peter Galbraith’s plan laid out in his book “The End of Iraq.”

    Brooks, I think, is implying that some military managers and politicians looking for progress will point to the strong-arm thug partitioning (ethnic cleansing) as a “success story” because it has suppressed violence and established an “order” based on brute force and fear. Brooks is pointing out the fallacy behind the “peace” in these neighborhoods.

    I think.

  4. John, let’s put it this way: I hope, sincerely, that you’re right and I’m wrong. I hope I just missed his irony and that he really is pointing out that fallacy.

    I hope.