Thursday, April 08, 2004

Another conservative sickened by this Administration, Perle turns

Once, Max posted a comment on my blog asking me if I ever felt like the last of the Mohicans. His comment on his own blog upon discovering my own was "Republican but sane," of course I have always argued that this Administration and the top Republican leadership has been exploiting rather than representating true conservative values. Indeed, I have spoken or corresponded with several conservatives in the last few days who are seething over what is happening in Iraq.

However in the media or blogosphere it can sure sound otherwise, with most conservative bloggers apparently hewing to an "Administration can do no wrong," kind of rhetoric that includes projecting our failures onto actual but periphial Iranian intervention. If we were on the ball, the Iraqis wouldn't give a dang about Iran's manipulation. Afterall, we liberated them from the tyrant Hussein. Our failure to capitalize upon this incredible first impression is our own fault. As pickup lines go, "Hey baby, how would you like for me to liberate you from an insane murdering tyrant?", and then following through with it is hard to beat.

Yet, we have managed to burn through that goodwill at a historically incredible pace. It took years for Vietnam to get this bad, and they'd already been worked over by the incompetencies of the French.

Yet to the posters at Dan Drezner none of this seems to have sunk in. No degree of personal responsibility and accountability - Conservative tenets of storied lore - has seem to afflicted these souls who seem hellbent on rationalizing into good news even rather bad news.

This is not a widespread revolt, but the indirect support / tolerance for it as a protest against American administrative shortcomings is quite large. (courtesy of Sterling Newberry, BOP blog) I'm not sure in what world most of the other conservative posters on Dan's blog are in, but the idea of invading Iran while no doubt tempting to politcons and neocons is not exactly sounding like a great idea to this realcon. Digesting Iran after we're still having indigestion in Iraq doesn't sound so great.

The delusional "nothing to see here, hurry along" attitude of Dan's posters is strange since publications like the Financial Times and the Economist are considered conservative outlets and yet they are questioning Administration conduct here.

Most of the Iraq blogs I've read indicate that while the educated Iraqi bloggers dislike Sadr, they also grant that he has a fairly large following. In addition, the way the US administration there is playing this wrong way so as to lessen our legitimacy among them.

This is the real reason why Sistani has been playing both sides on this issue, he's using Sadr to burn us and obtain more concessions.

Of course many of the same posters here who advocate expanding regime change policy, also haven't come to grips with the failure to find substantial WMD in Iraq. I wonder if a complete collapse happened in Iraq, would they then finally admit that they were mistaken?

Or would they just keep on going refusing to acknowledge they might have been in error?

As for the deranged poster Holsinger (who has also advocated genocide as a solution to the WoT. Seriously.), the sky does "fall" once in a long while. That's why we're here and not the dinosaurs. Actually, America suffers a military or foreign policy debacle about once a decade ever since Vietnam.

(i) Vietnam
(ii) Iran-collapse
(iii) Retreat from Lebanon
(iv) Retreat from Somalia

So actually, we're about due. The idea of America as invincible is quite false. We are very powerful, but time and time again incompetence or overreaching at the top has undone us. Anyone with a clear eyed view of modern history would acknowledge this.

Incompetence at the top seems poised to do so again, barring a last minute change of heart. It is not Vietnam out there, or at least it doesn't have to be. But Vietnam didn't have to be Vietnam either. It got there one day at a time while leadership was in denial patting themselves on the back about body-bag counts and the "light at the end of the tunnel". There are those still in denial that can't seem to comprehend why the American people would have withdrawn their support from a war that they hadn't managed to win in twice the amount of time it took to fight WWII. They still argue that Vietnam could have been won. And it could have, just not by those who make these claims because they are the same ones who refused to admit or fix the problems that dragged that war out for over a decade.

They say the definition of madness is to attempt the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome from what has come before.

If that is the definition of madness, then the right-wing in this country of whom I used to be a proud member of has gone completely insane.

Only they're not the right wing. They're a portion of the movement that has unfortunately obtained control and leadership of the grassroots base as well as leadership mechanisms. This sucks.

Fighting doomed foreign wars and losing them because of delusions of grandeur was supposed to be a liberal idea. I still argue that the neo-liberals who became the neo-cons and subverted the politicons must be some kind of fifth column infiltrators that the Democrats have sent to bring the Republican party down. All because they don't have any ideas of their own that are good.

Okay, I don't really believe that. It does sound like a pretty crazy conspiracy theory doesn't it? Still some mornings when I wake up and shudder as I witness the "body-snatcher" esque weirdness in the party I've associated myself with my entire life. I voted proudly for Bush Senior and would do so again in a heartbeat. Yet some conservatives have become infected with a madness.

I'm being unfair in blaming this entirely on the neocons, afterall Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, and now Richard Perle (following in the footsteps of Newt Gringrich who said that "US policy in Iraq went off a cliff.") have spoken out about the mismanagement of Iraq and says according to the Financial Times that the Administration lacked a "clear, cohesive policy on Iraq".

***
Sandwiched in between, however, and given far less notice, was another book highly critical of those around President George W. Bush, but from a much more surprising source: Richard Perle, the former Pentagon adviser often regarded as the intellectual godfather of the administration's aggressive foreign policy.

Unlike the other books, An End to Evil - co-written by yet another administration émigré, David Frum, a former speechwriter - is careful to steer clear of Mr Bush himself as well as Mr Perle's patron, Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary.

But Mr Perle's book takes aim at almost everyone else in the senior reaches of the Bush foreign policy team and accuses many of them of significant failures in the run-up to, and the aftermath of, the war in Iraq...

Mr Perle acknowledges that part of the reason he quit the Defence Advisory Board, the Pentagon panel he used to chair, in February was to give full voice to such criticisms.

***

Remember, even in this modern age turning out even a hot-to-the-presses book takes weeks if not months of work. So this must have been in the works for a while. If Richard Perle himself has changed his mind, then I'm not sure who in their right minds can cling to the delusion that "all is well".

Bush Senior himself at the dinner table at family meetings with his son asked if there was an exit strategy to Iraq. Apparently there wasn't. However, in public Bush Senior has been defending his son GW quite understandably from criticism. He has to, this is his son. I understand that, and honor him still.

I don't want GW to go down, especially not if the cost is the destruction of American lives and interests. I myself would gladly serve if it made the difference in turning this Titanic around. However I am mystified by the failure to change course given the ever increasing and ever more alarming danger signs we're getting. Is it hubris? Is it fifth column Democrats? Is it Osama bin Ladin chanting mind control songs from a cave in Afghanistan?

Is it madness?

For I have no other explanation for what I see.

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