I remember the phone call clearly.
Spring of 2002. Word was *just* starting to circulate among insiders that the Bush administration was thinking about an Iraq invasion — I only knew about it because I was a reporter and an avid reader of the new political blogosphere. I called to tell my Mom what I’d heard. Her reaction?
She literally thought it was a conspiracy theory.
Everything seems inevitable in hindsight. Easy to forget now that originally the Iraq invasion was not just a bad idea, but a preposterous one. Invading a country without provocation? Come on.
By proposing it, the White House took something that was unthinkable and placed it squarely within the realm of thinkable.
They normalized it.
Then the campaign to sell it. Ari Fleischer, Colin Powell. Just debating the invasion further normalized it.
Normalization. Because of media obsession with both-sides-have-a-point even-handedness, because of our post-modern impulse to be unsurprised, because other things: norm-breaking behavior immediately establishes a new norm.
This blog will focus a lot on normalization, along with miscellaneous other observations. Always with maximum pith.