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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Metaphorically speaking

This metaphor by Republican Senator Rick Santorum strikes me as silly at best. Is it really a good idea to compare the brutal and real atrocities taking place in Iraq to a fantasy novel series? I've read and enjoyed Lord of the Rings (and seen the movies), but bringing up "hobbits" to describe war is in really poor taste, if you ask me.

I don't think that Senator Santorum and I agree on a whole lot, though I will confess that I don't know I huge amount about his voting record. What bothers me most about this analogy is its equating the U.S. with the "good guys." I'm not objecting to the notion that the terrorists are evil, but I do think that this is an example of the arrogant world view and foreign policy that Americans have advocated since 9-11 which is continuing to alienate us from the rest of the world. Is America a noble country? On our best days, yes. Are we a nation of fallible people who make mistakes and do rotten things from time to time? Yes. Are both those things true for many other countries in the world, too? Yes.

I also object to the idea that the war in Iraq has reduced the risk of terrorism on U.S. soil. If anything, I think the war has served to isolate us from world nations and to fuel anti-U.S. fervor around the globe. There was a way, I honestly believe, to intervene as a response to 9-11 without destroying the compassion and goodwill that the rest of the world felt toward America, but the path we've followed wasn't it.

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