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War’s Over, Neo-Cons are Dead

February 27, 2006

Too much good stuff out there this weekend. I wish I could summarize it or put it in some compelling narrative to share. But it’s 2AM and I have a job tomorrow, so I’ll leave it at a couple of links to posts by Glenn Greenwald. He does a great job of capitalizing on the recent remarks by Bill Buckley.

Here he makes a case that Howard Dean was right all along:  Whose judgment on the Iraq War is entitled to respect? If that’s not enough, you can also read Prepare a Noose for Bill Buckley, Cowardly Traitor.

If you’re a supporter of the War, you should read them both. Feel free to comment. I’d be interested in what you think.

I’d say there’s a difference between saying the War is categorically unwinnable (right before Iraqi elections at a time of relative stability) and saying it looks like we’ve lost. The first would tend to hand territory over to terrorists – whether one means to or not –  (dare I say pre-emptively?); the other attempts to describe the situation as it appears now. If that distinction makes no difference to you, I don’t want you in charge of national security.

Ok, here’s some more…

Callimachus has exhortations against gloating (not that I think Greenwald is – to his great credit):

    •     Did you predict Saddam using chemical or biological weapons against coalition troops in the invasion?

    •     Did you predict hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war?

    •     Did you predict Saddam attacking Israel?

    •     Did you call quagmire when the first advance paused to catch its breath at Nasiriyah?

    •     Did you predict bloody house-by-house fighting to take Baghdad?

    •     Did you predict the Iraqi national elections never would take place?

Jeff Goldstein also notes (commenting on the Fukuyama’s "After Neo-Conservativsm"):

history has taught us that the real danger is in underestimating the potential threat from avowed enemies—and the specter of those two towers in NY collapsing, along with the subsequent Anthrax scare, should have been plenty to disabuse people like Fukuyama of the notion that the threat from Islamism is overstated (even as some who make this same argument are now OUTRAGED at a deal that would give UAE some measure of bureaucratic management over a few ports that has nothing whatever to do with security).  The fact that we have not been attacked at home subsequently is, ironically, at least partially responsible for this new “realistic” chin-scratching threat assessment—even as the number of attacks from Islamists grows globally, and even as (the first Gulf War taught us) we are often too willing to underestimate, from an intelligence perspective, just how far along our enemy’s capabilities are, or how willing they are to use those capabilities offensively.

Then later:

Say what you will about Greenwald, but this is rather astute stuff—although what it shows, unfortunately, is that Democrats can only be counted on to do what they believe at any given moment to be either politically expedient or popular.

Allowing that they were “bullied” into voting against their will is as clear an admission as you are likely to get that these are politicians who are far more concerned with power than with the idealism they claim to stand for.  Their reaction to the Port story, too, shows this as well:  after years of alleging that Bushco was playing the “fear card,” many Democrats (prominent among them, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer) were among the first to scream that the sale of a British Company to the UAE that involved ports was likely to lead to nuclear winter in New Jersey.

All of which leads me to conclude that either a) many prominent national Dems are unsure who the enemy is, or b) they know who the enemy is—Republicans—and they will do and say anything, no matter how inconsistent, in order to regain power.

Great Churchill quotes too:

Terry Hastings sends along some words from Winston Churchill that should still resonate.  Because they remind us that the only “arrogance” coming from the US is the assumption that our enemies, determined though we admit them to be, are somehow impotent, and so can be treated as a minor nuisance:

Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, and still yet if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you, and only a precarious chance for survival.  There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

And this:

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

It is so easy to fantasize that other courses of action – including inaction – would have had better results. But not only wars have unseen consequences.

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