Monday, February 25, 2013

Retroactionary Watch

Weasley clock project, from Oh Gizmo.
Times, writing about how Republicans don't seem to mind cutting the Pentagon budget any more:
“Fiscal questions trump defense in a way they never would have after 9/11,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “But the war in Iraq is over. Troops are coming home from Afghanistan, and we want to secure the cuts.”
So it's no longer after 9/11? Shifted temporal direction again?

This time I think it's a little less insane: not retroactionary time travel but the more familiar cyclical view of time. Think of it in terms of a clock. As the big hand travels down from 12 to 6 it's two, five, ten, a quarter, and so on after wherever the little hand is; and then from the 6 back up to 12 it's before whatever's up next, say the next crisis landmark. (In Germany, where 9:30 is halb zehn or "half ten", they start anticipating a tiny bit earlier—I think some do that in England too.)

So we got somewhat blindsided when on 9/11 "everything changed". It did, but only for a metaphorical half an hour. It stopped being after 9/11 when Obama first got elected—at figuratively 9/11:30—and started being before Obama commits some military blunder, twenty-five to Iranian invasion, or a quarter to Syrian quagmire, or what have you. Of course that didn't happen, though some Republicans continue to hope against hope that he did something wrong in Benghazi.

They could always try old Senator Dole's crack about "Democrat wars" but it didn't work very well last time, after the little escapades in Grenada and Panama and so on, and it seems unlikely to play any better as we extricate ourselves from Iraq and Afghanistan. They can't get back to their preferred "Democrats are weak on defense" stance, though, until that minute hand finishes its current tour. Might as well encourage cuts, in the meantime, especially in Democrats' districts. Then when it's campaign o'clock they can start howling about how Obama gutted our forces, leaving us once again prey to that North Korean invasion that the high school kids will have to repel. OMG, wake up, sheeple, it's already five to Red Dawn!

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