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Academics often can't handle simplicity

Reader comment on item: Profs Who Hate America

Submitted by Jonathan Pfeffer (Canada), Nov 15, 2002 at 09:48

It is very interesting the dynamic that takes place in academia during times of impending war.

Academics by their nature, have an urge to express one of two things: either they want to develop original ideas themselves or they want to be able to identified with, and quote other academics whom they admire.

The rationale for war is often very simple, much simpler than the rationale used to justify other policy issues. War decisions usually are based on simple notions like, who is stronger, who is threatening whom, and who is hurting whom. These concepts are rarely more than one layer of logic thick. In the case of the impending Gulf war it is as simple as; "Saddam is evil, he is threatening our friends, his armed forces are no match for ours", the logic goes little beyond that. All additional commentary is just a variation on these themes.

Well, academics, especially the insecure ones, the ones who study things like communications and literature may have a problem with the simplicity of these ideas. They may feel somewhat less important in times of great historical events and so they must go the extra mile to put their years of "brainwork" to good use.

So their minds start working overtime. Ah, Bush doesn't understand, he is appealing to the dumb American masses. He is appealing to the base instincts. Ahh, but not I. though, I see the complexity of things, I am so smart. Look at me. I, the idolized academic, see the implications of the "Arab street". I see the "instability" that will be triggered. Ah, the US forces will take Baghdad but then what? Did you think about the rebellious countryside. American troops will be bogged down for years? Did Bush think of that? The US only wants to control the oil.

Academics, just for the record, here is what is going to happen...

The US generals have thought of every scenario and many that will not happen. The war will be quick, democracy will return to Iraq with international supervision. The only troops that will be needed after that will be to protect former Saddam supporters from being lynched by the mob. Saddam will try to sabotage the oil fields, Red Adair's boys will quickly put out the fires, the oil will be online in weeks and the new provisional government will be planning the rehabilitation of Iraq with their own oil revenues. In time, the Iraqis will be left alone and they will adapt a guarded moderate policy towards the US.

God bless the Americans.

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