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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clintonesque Use of Force--D Plus Eight

Well, the misadventure in Libya proves to be more than just a few Tomahawk missiles-- it seems to be turning into a third war.  This war has been engaged upon by a President elected out of disgust over Iraq, and engaged upon without any Congressional approval.  The war is being waged without any clear objectives, and without a timetable for withdrawal.  Remember back in 2007, when a timetable for withdrawal was Obama's sine quo non for Iraq?  And Libya is being engaged in while the Afghanistan misadventure looks more and more hopeless.  The high irony of Iraq and Afghanistan is that Iraq was always the controversial war, the one that was a quagmire.  Now it is Afghanistan, the "good" war that is becoming Vietnam all over again.   In Serbia (you know, that first Clintonesque use of force, the one that was intended to take everyone's eyes off the Monica Lewinski scandal?) it was not that we left off bombing of our own volition, it was that the Russians informed us that if we didn't quit bombing Sarajevo, they might explode an Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon over America.  I wonder how long it will take before the Russians end our misbegotten wars in Afghanistan, and now Libya.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Clintonesque Use of Force, and Other Onanism

I'm going to talk about masturbation, both in foreign policy and elsewhere.

First, we are using Tomahawk missles against the Libyan dictatorship, about five days after it crushed the uprising trying to unseat it.  I'm no military expert (but then again, neither are Hillary Clinton or President Obama), but I don't think that a few blown-up air defense assets will of themselves get rid of Quaddafi.

Recently Mark Shea reminded us all of the moral peril of masturbation.  While masturbation is a sin (whether mortal or venial, I'll let my priest decide), and has great laugh value, in light of Benedict XVI's recent remarks on condoms, I don't see how it could be a big deal anymore.  After all, in Catholic moral theology, use of contraceptives and masturbation both count as Onanism--sex without potential for procreation.  If B XVI thinks that contraceptives can be morally preferable to spreading AIDS, it is hard to see why masturbation is not morally defensible because it is preferable to causing pregnancy, fornication, adultery, and any number of problems entailed with having sex with other people.  I don't know--the Stoics thought that masturbation allowed the distancing of sexual impulses, allowing the sage to remain calm and detached from the world. 
It is the sexual equivalent of firing a Tomahawk missle--it doesn't really achieve much, but it relieves the pressure to do something meaningful.