Playing with Human Lives
Goldberg’s descent into pathetic lack of humanity has been a pitiful thing to watch. I am so sorry to bother readers here with this one last posting on the whole Goldberg fiasco. And, note, that when pressed he was unable to name any books actually about modern Iraqi history that he has read (Republic of Fear is a dated political polemic, the others are not about Iraq). I was right.
But the ignorance was already apparent. The really sad thing is this paragraph:
‘ Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn’t want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let’s make a bet. I predict that Iraq won’t have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I’ll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there’s another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I’m all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc. One caveat: Because I don’t think it’s right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if I win, I’ll donate the money to the USO. He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is. ‘
I cannot tell you how this paragraph hit me in the gut. I was nearly immobilized by disgust and grief. This man really does see Iraqis as playthings. He is proposing a wager on the backs of Iraqis. Millions of Iraqis are going through winter with insufficient heating oil. They are jobless. The innocent 250,000 Fallujans are homeless. Imagine what $1000 means to them. And here we have an prominent American media star, a man who sets opinion on the Sunday afternoon talking heads shows, betting on them as though they are greyhounds in a race. They are not human beings to him, but political playthings on which to be wagered.
This entire paragraph is an excellent symbol for the entire project of the neo-imperial American Right. They are making their own fortunes with a wager on the fates of others, whom they are treating like ants. Get in their way and they stomp on you. Make an anthill the wrong place and they blow it up.
A UN official offered to bet me in February of 2003 on whether the Bush administration would go to war. I knew that it would. I am still ashamed that I took the bet (though I never sought settlement of the wager). In retrospect it was wrong. But that was an easy one. A bet on what Bush would do. Not a bet on the Iraqi people. I hope they will be all right. I don’t have anything riding on their suffering more than they already have, and am shocked at the implication that I do.
A wager on the backs of human beings. Perhaps Mr. Goldberg would like to bring back slavery, as well.
I think we may let the matter rest there, at this nadir.