If anything should be indicative of a my right-wing gen-x background, it should be this simple fact: I did cross-ex debate in high school. One result of that is my Thanksgiving meal: a burger at Jack-In-The-Box.
The University of Pittsburgh tournament is held on Thanksgiving weekend. This is not a big deal normally for a Pittsburgher such as myself, except that for those last three years in high school, my family shared Thanksgiving with my relatives in Chester, New Jersey. I have nothing to show for this except a bad junk food Thanksgiving habit.
What a difference two years makes
Two years ago I was invited to a Thanksgiving with a right-wing friend of mine. I was the only one who was rude enough to not bring anything.1
You would not be surprised now, I think, to find that a political “dust-up” occurred there involving me—not with my friend, but with his Catholic Church group buddy.2 But I had actually forgotten about it because I thought I was pretty “pro war” then, only seven months after the invasion.
I was reminded when my friend once referred to his buddy as, “that’s the guy you argued with during Thanksgiving about whether or not they would find WMDs in Iraq.” I had forgotten that one. 🙂
It was always my contention that the neo-cons were gambling that a war in Iraq would be a reverse-domino effect for democracy. I felt that the “mushroom cloud” imagery was only there for the idiots—the administration knew this so they carefully used the term “WMDs” instead of nuclear weapons so that they could pass the few chemical and biological weapons they found as ex-post-facto justification for the war in Iraq and lose the whole thing in the ambiguity in language.
I was wrong three times.
How I was wrong
The first one is the most obvious: I apparently implicitly called him an idiot which started the argument. I had had blithely assumed that what qualified you in the club of “non-idiots” would be one of the following abilities: basic fact-checking or discernment of deliberate language.
The second one is the worst: I supported this war at one time. There are more than 30,000 dead Iraqis, 2000 dead americans, countless physically and mentally destroyed people, a trillion dollars of the economy wasted, a country in ruins, and a falling empire to show for that one.
The third one is the most subtle: I thought that we would find chemical and/or biological weapons in Iraq when it should have been obvious we wouldn’t. The mistake was in thinking that buying the myth that Saddam was irrational. I’m sure game-theory sections in Introduction to Political Science courses of the future will have students analyze how any rational actor in Saddam’s position when lacking any nuclear weapons would dismantle his biological and chemical infrastructure also.
What he’s having for Thanksgiving
Even in light of all the evidence coming to light about how evidence was fabricated and the administration’s recent tact that “Saddam was a bad guy and, hey look, the Democrats voted for the War also,” if there is anything I’ve learned from the Right, it is that they are never “wrong.”
So I’m munching on my Sourdough Jack® being ever-thankful that I that some fast food places are open today, I know in my brain that it would be too much to expect…
But I hope in my heart that this guy is having some crow this Thanksgiving.