Had To

Had to:

GAFFNEY: May I state my position rather than you stating it? May I do that?My
position is that it’s regrettable that any Americans died. It is
regrettable that they had to die, but I believe they did have to die.

It’s a little too easy and cheap to ask what precisely Gaffney has lost because of this war, not only because I don’t believe you have to have friends in a war to give a fuck about whether that war was a mistake, but also because I don’t think there’s any personal stake that could convince me Gaffney is uttering some kind of profound truth here.

It’s a little too easy and cheap to make qualifications for holding an opinion, like you have to be a woman to take a position on reproductive rights or be black to give a shit about racism or be gay to think marriage shouldn’t be a way to bludgeon your morality into everybody’s world. You don’t have to have someone you love in harm’s way to say what Gaffney said, so I don’t want to go that route; you just have to be a complete and total jackass and that tendency crosses all manner of life circumstances and for the most part political spectra. HAD TO? Really? It’s the blithe nature of the statement that chills and sickens me. Had To.

Had to, why? Because, as Chris Matthews so aptly points out (ack, wash off the cooties I got from writing that), Frank Gaffney needed to feel better. Frank Gaffney and all his warblogger friends and all the people who waved their red white and blue pom-poms around and baked an American flag cake and knitted the troops a scarf, they need to feel better about what they were doing. They need to feel good about it now, especially now, as the darkness is starting to settle in and Bush is on his way out and Marley’s Ghost comes clanking up the stairs after them. No bit of undigested potato this, the karmic bitchslap’s coming and you can hear it in the hopeless desperation in his words: Had To.

Here’s the thing, about being sure you’re saving the world. What you want is to be right, partly because you think that’s the easy way out but mostly because your nightmare is basically what Gaffney’s facing: In over his head, in over the heads of two countries, you can’t let go of the line tethering you to your idea because your idea’s all you’ve got left and if that’s wrong, who are you then? Why did you do what you did, if it wasn’t a question of had to? If you had a choice, if you frame everything you do in your entire life as a choice, and take away all the “had to” in your head, would you do anything differently? And if the answer to that question is yes, then you start wondering what on earth you’re doing, and feeling bad about how much you lied to yourself and everyone around you, and recognizing that you have been a tremendous douchebag making excuses for yourself. Excuses like Had To.

For Frank Gaffney and a lot of other members of the We Love Fucking Freedom So Have Some Shoved Up Your Ass And Like It Corps, that kind of self-awareness isn’t really an option. So they just repeat the excuses louder, until even Chris Matthews, who is the king of going along with whatever the popular storyline is at the moment and making up justifications later, looks at you and says, “I’m going to send you three ghosts, motherfucker, be ready.”


10 thoughts on “Had To

  1. Exactly. I am appalled by the moving goalposts. If Iraq had shown any real action towards sending a nuke at the US, I would feel differently.
    But instead they had to die to protect us from nukes and Al Q – wrong on both counts. So their brave sacrifice saved us from the capability to make WMDs – not, so it was necessary to spread democracy – not.

  2. …Gaffney’s performance last night was simply astonishing. The segment should be captured and carefully preserved so it can be shown to future generations of polysci and philosophy students as the quintessential example of The Last True Believer. “They had to die” was so cold in it’s twisted moral certainty, so glaringly stupid in its refusal to acknowledge facts that are so well understood that my 16 Y.O. “gets it”…

  3. If Chris Matthews is beginning to show some spine in his interviews with these fools, then perhaps he has recently been visited by some ghosts himself. I hope this interview gets lots and lots of publicity. Keep on shining the light into those dark, dark holes, everyone.

  4. Oh, and I forgot: Karmic bitchslap? That is my favorite part, a tiny bit of perfection in a wonderful piece.

  5. Marley’s Ghost won’t need to show the war criminals the past, the present is fearsome enough. The future we can only hope holds justice. And thanks, I will be using that over at cabdrollery at 3 CT, this p.m.

  6. georgee didn’t SELL iWaq as saddam had capability to in the future make a nuke. CONDI said mushroom cloud. not visions of a mushroom cloud.
    but this is the stupidity of mankind. easily led to kill the young for glory.

  7. Pansypoo, Osama’s safe and secure and laughing at us, because Shrubya sure ain’t gonna do anything to offend the Saudi royalty and its wealthy friends, the bin Ladens.

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