Everything they accuse others of doing — exploiting national security for domestic political gain, being ‘unserious’ about war matters, playing games with the mission of the troops — is what they do as transparently as possible. And note how they used a senior military official to make the disgusting claim that the violence in Iraq was related to a desire to help Democrats win the midterm election: “A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq last week attributed the increase in violence at least partly to terrorists who want to influence the American vote.”
This post from Unclaimed Territory reminded me of this story from 2004 where the events described by Robert Perry took place before the elections. Decisions were made that costs American and Iraqi lives one one reason and one reason alone, to get George W. Bush elected, Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop
While a military-political catastrophe on one level, the aborted assault on Fallujah also represents another case of politicians in the White House second-guessing military commanders on the ground, a violation of a repeated Bush campaign pledge from Election 2000 that he would not micromanage military operations.
Overruling military judgments occurred, too, in the days before the Iraq invasion when Bush’s civilian advisers denigrated warnings from uniformed officers that a larger U.S. force would be needed for both the invasion and the occupation. Army Gen. Eric Shinseki foresaw the need for several hundred thousand soldiers.
Instead, Bush’s civilian officials predicted flower-strewn welcomes for U.S. troops and trimming their numbers back to 30,000 within months. Since the invasion, U.S. troop levels of about 135,000 have proven inadequate to maintain security around the California-sized country where more than 1,000 American soldiers have died.
Fallujah was another example of Bush and his civilian advisers thinking they knew better than the military commanders on the ground. By overruling the Marine commander in Fallujah twice in April, Bush managed to make the United States look first reckless and then feckless, as U.S. Marines and Iraqi civilians died in a hasty assault that was then abruptly abandoned.
Still, Bush continues to succeed in presenting his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, as a flip-flopper who lacks the requisite decisiveness to be commander-in-chief.
The drivel Glenn refers to which is disseminated by the fringe Right blogs, pundits and the Whitehouse, and echoed by the broadcast media in particular is just another day at Camp Avoid Responsibility. The left and many moderate voices like General Anthony Zinni among others warned anyone that didn’t have neocon cotton stuffed in their ears that the occupation of Iraq would not be a “cakewalk” , the war was premised on lies laced with paranoia and the Right and a few DINOs ignored us. Conservatives managed the war in Iraq, Rumsfeld and Bush let the terrorists in, not Hillary Clinton or Michael Moore. Bush and his enablers on the Right allowed Iraq to sink into a never ending state of civil strife. Not Democrats who couldn’t even manage a filibuster of Joseph Alito, one of the worse legal minds to ever sit on the Supreme Court. Yet Democrats without even the benefit of the Chair of any Congressional committee, is according to the Right responsible for all the failures that only Republicans and their corporate cronies had the power to do anything about. Soon Democrats will have the Committee chairs and if we were to do an historical graph, my bet is that a year from now at the very least we’ll have slowed the most egregious corporate screw-ups of Iraq. Contractors will be held accountable. Goals will be set and not just more hot air emitted by the President of Spin and his jester Sir Dick ( though hot air and this administration go together like grabage and flies). The Right’s story line has the ultimate in narrative flexibility. Nothing is ever the failure of post Eisenhower conservatism. They’re like children who caught face stained with jelly and hand in the jar just keep shouting hysterically that they didn’t do nuttin’ wrong yet claim that they can be trusted with responsibility. It cannot be both, one cannot shirk responsibility while at the same time claiming that their political movement and its strategies are the only ones to be trusted. The counselors at Camp Avoid want to have it both ways, they wanted all the power, they got it and don’t want the liability for letting little Timmy drown. If that isn’t strange enough or sick enough they also want to claim that Iraqi insurgents and the terrorists that Republican leadership let into Iraq now have some mystical power over the American electorate. Yes fellow American voters, a couple weeks ago you thought you stepped into that booth and voted your conscience, but nooooo, al-Queda was beaming thought control waves into your brain forcing you to vote for Democrats. Perhaps we should place the blame on Fox, the Washington Times, Instapundit, or the multitude of Bush echos for spinning the news from Iraq – they actually believe that we’ve been winning. Even though Bush still calls the shots in Iraq , Bush will still be the Commander-in-chief, and Bush’s SOD will still move the little plastic pieces around the big map at the Pentagon they can still try very very hard to shift blame to Democrats just like they try to give Ronnie Raygun credit for ending the Cold War. The facts will not support them, but when have facts ever gotten in the way of right-wing spin. Then like a never ending episode of the Twilight Zone Republicans will look at themselves in the mirror every morning and wonder why most Americans now self identify as Democrats.
There really is little sense in trying to understand the way the Right thinks, thinking has little to do with the garbage they try and pass off as a political philosophy. They are followers and believers thus rationalism and truth are simply obstacles in their path, Neo-Cons or Just Plain “Cons”
There are parallels between neo-conservatism and other similar apocalyptical movements (like Christian fundamentalism). They see the world in Manichaeistic terms – good versus evil. They see a clash between good and evil as both desirable and inevitable. In their world, diplomacy is unacceptable, since it implies compromise with evil. And in the final battle, they see the outcome as assured – with good triumphant. All that is required, they believe, for good to be victorious is a determined act of the will. This was the ahistorical lesson they “learned” from Reagan. And this was the lesson they sought to impart to George W. Bush.
And so it was that President Bush bought their “snake oil”. He declared a divine mission to promote freedom against its enemies – whom he termed the “Axis of Evil”. Shunning traditional diplomacy, the Administration instead built a ‘coalition of the willing’. Using “shock and awe” they brought down the Baghdad regime and declared “mission accomplished”, convinced that out of the resultant chaos a new democratic order would spontaneously emerge, not only in Iraq, but across the Middle East.
It did not.
Now four years later, unrepentant, the same neo-conservatives who believed that will and force alone were sufficient to unleash freedom, now blame those who bought their elixir. They are accusing the Administrative of poor execution and incompetence. Some blame Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, once their “darling”, some blame President Bush, some blame both.
To be sure, a few neo-conservatives appear to be remorseful, but most refuse to accept responsibility and don’t want the Administration’s failure in Iraq and beyond to discredit their world view. Others have actually been emboldened, advocating a stepped up offensive by fellow neo-cons to reassert their mission. But none are able to acknowledge that their dependence on ideology and refusal to understand reality, is what is principally at fault.
“No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself.” William Penn
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” Johann von Goethe