On “the skeptics’ dilemma”

Tom Knapp quotes Tim Cavanaugh:The real surprise is how even the war skeptics seem to have no counternarrative to put up against the story of a Miracle In Mosul.

We don’t need a counternarrative. We’ve been right all along. We just get caught flat-footed everytime the warbots lie their asses off. For example, who among us ever claimed that the Shiites and Kurds wouldn’t vote en masse? No one. So, when they trumpet “high-turnout” as a Victory for Democracy (I actually thought alot more expats would vote), we’re standing there going, well duh. We say it will be violent, and they pretend 40+ deaths at the hands of a world record NINE SUICIDE BOMBINGS in ONE DAY is, whew! Such a relief that it wasn’t bad at all! And so on.

The fact is that the Sunnis are in a worse position now than ever, just like we said would happen. The insurgency will now intensify, just like we said. The “liberated Iraqis” who now think they voted the occupation out of the country will turn on the new “government” if it doesn’t get rid of them right off, just like we said. The Kurds are talking about Independent Kurdistan while the Turks sabre-rattle ominously, just like we said. We now have an Iranian Grand Ayatollah as the defacto leader of Iraq, just like we said. Moqtada al-Sadr’s army is waiting in the wings for the al-Sistani faction to do something wrong so he can take to the streets again. So, we just keep saying what we’ve been saying and they’ll keep changing the goals and rationalizations more frequently than they change their undies, as usual. The supreme irony is that when all this goes to hell, as it will, it’ll be all our fault for being “negative” and not having sent enough positive faith-vibes Iraqwards. You can see it coming, but what can you do? We can’t prevent it anymore than we could convince the neocons, “conservatives” and Bush cultists that the Iraqis weren’t going to throw flowers at them as they paraded triumphantly into Baghdad.

You can’t beat people who lie like that. It’s like you said in an earlier post, we’re stuck with reality while for them every day is a new day and nothing they said before matters and they can change the language to mean new things and proclaim their fantasies in unison.

The Republican Surrealists and their fellow travelers in the War Party have no problem talking about the Iraq elections. After all, their modus operandi is to make big claims and ebullient predictions. If those predictions fail to come true (“WMD!” “Welcomed as liberators!” “When we catch Saddam, the resistance will collapse!”), then they simply deny that they ever predicted any such things, or claim that the predictions were true and that it’s just that damn leftie media lying to us, or that the predictions didn’t come true because the rest of us slackers didn’t click our heels together hard enough while wishing.

Anti-war libertarians, on the other hand, are pretty much stuck with the facts. Reality-based community and all, you know.

How do you have a real debate with people who have taken the Big Lie technique to the extremes these people have?

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

And they aren’t kidding, either. How do you counter that?

Later…..Here’s an interesting take on this issue:

I don’t know about you, but one of the most frustrating aspects of criticizing Bush’s recent embrace of dreamy idealism is that it almost forces you to attack things that you don’t want to attack – idealistic appeals to freedom, democracy, and an end to tyranny. Quite suavely, Bush and pals are attempting to define the terms of the debate. If the debate is about being for or against freedom, they can’t lose. But I think I’ve figured out how to respond. You simply can’t get mired in the terms that they choose. You have to see the total reality of what they’re doing – and not let them reduce it to a simple dichotomy of either for or against freedom. Essentially, they have adopted a two-step process to distract people from the reality they have created: (1) focus on – and isolate – one tiny piece of the overall picture; and (2) create a fairy tale out of that tiny sliver of reality.

This is a small excerpt – read the whole post.