Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A winkle in time

Winkles may sleep for a period as long as three years. From Proceedings of the Ever So Strange.

Digby spotted a great retroactionary quote from Michael O'Hanlon, in a 2008 discussion of remarks made by Sarah Palin, and in defense of her deep understanding of foreign policy:
Also her speech yesterday about going over to defend us against those who committed the attacks of 9/11, to troops headed for Iraq, is also correct because in fact al Qaeda is in Iraq now, even if it wasn’t then.
Not that Digby actually uses the word "retroactionary", but she knows intuitively that the passage needs some mocking attention, and that's why she bolded it.

O'Hanlon provides a more sophisticated example of the retroactionary than the kind we've looked at up to now. He doesn't believe in a literally reverse time, in which the troops could be able to drive Al Qa'eda out of Iraq, return the country to the terrorist-free condition it was in in 2003, and raise the Twin Towers. He realizes it was the Al Qa'eda in Afghanistan that brought the towers down.

What he does, rather, is a reversal of causality in respect to time. By arriving in Iraq behind the Yankees, Ali Musab al-Zarqawi and his Qa'eda in Mesopotamia organization made themselves the cause of the fall of the towers, the tragedy the US forces were trying retroactively to prevent. It's no different, really, than the way Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson made themselves responsible for slavery in the U.S. by being Democrats...


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