Wednesday, September 13

Ask a Chickenhawk

William Kristol and Rich Lowry, "Reinforce Baghdad", Washington Post September 12

As you may have heard, Kristol and Lowry (who should consider writing anagrammically as "Two Rosy Krill") have solved the little problem we're having with that war they've been (mostly) telling us we've been winning all along: more troops. More troops! How do they come up with 'em?
We are at a crucial moment in Iraq. Supporters of the war, like us, have in the past differed over tactics. But at this urgent pass, there can be no doubt that we need to stop the downward slide in Iraq by securing Baghdad.

Guys, look. There isn't any reason either of you should be taken seriously, but if we're going to pretend you are then you at least need to pretend to be acknowledging a truth neither of you was willing to acknowledge before it smacked you in the face, repeatedly. Your batting averages on Iraq are not just below the Mendoza Line; they're a challenge to the very concept of Zero. That much should be taken as apparent to anyone who might find himself reading the Post op-ed page. Instead we get this dance about "differing over tactics" in the past. Pure flummery. You been wrong about the war in the past, albeit in slightly different ways simply because Mr. Kristol chose to "differ" with the administration by insisting it should be doing more of what it already was doing. That's permitted him to pose as a "critic" of the administration's handling of the war, but the fact is that as spectacularly wrong as Lowry's "We're Winning" cover story was, and is, Kristol was wrongerer. Not to mention his cheerleadership for the On To Damascus contingent.

But then the game here isn't accuracy, and it's certainly not The Comeuppance of the Neocons, it's the "Conservative editors call for more troops" meta-story, which requires that Kristol and Lowry be accorded the standing to make such a critique. Only problem is, they don't have it.

It's a common theme around here, but however effective bald-faced lying has become in winning elections it still exacts a price. It's the Right, the "conservatives" in this country who are the self-styled guardians of the ancient virtues, but they're also the ones who've twisted the truth beyond all recognition. You listen to Bush's stump speech stirring tribute to 9/11 the other day, if you can, and it strikes you that he's still tap dancing around the very notion of who or what we're supposedly at war with. But there's no difficulty about it. There's no real confusion over whether you can conduct a real war against an idea. The only difficulty is that the war mongers cannot justify in principle what they want to do in fact, which is to take revenge on whomever is easiest and at hand, and use that as a permanent justification for the installation of a government that does their domestic dirty work in an atmosphere where debate is treason. And it doesn't work, and it's not going to work just because they get even more desperate to manage it.

So how, exactly, does this sort of thing wind up on the pages of WaPo? The Iraq war, the idea behind the Iraq war, every justification behind the Iraq war, the execution of the Iraq war, and the positive geopolitical results which were supposed to accrue to us because of the Iraq war are all piles of ash. Is the person who now wonders "Hmmm, what do you supposed Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol make of this" even sane? I know the WaPo is the ultimate Beltway insider, but aren't the editors human, too, at some point?

And that doesn't even touch the substance of their argument, which may be for the best since it's not a good idea to plunge your hands into a pile of crap unless you make a surgeon's salary, or at least a plumber's. "More troops to Baghdad," they say, without being called upon to tell us "From where?" It's been three years since the fall of 2003, when it should have become clear even to those too willfully blind to see it before that we did not have enough troops in Iraq. Three years. In three years we went from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima, and were preparing to make the costly excursion into the Philippines on principle, not military necessity. We were about to absorb the last shock offensive of the German army in the West. In three years the Soviets went from shovel brigades blockading the streets of Moscow, to pushing what was left of the German Army into the Baltic and Black Seas. Three years and untold lives sacrificed for half-assed ideas these two supported, and now they're ready to begin looking at the results?

Three years, and I'm sick of pointing out that the warfloggers have been moving the same Vapor Divisions around the same little Risk™ mapboards without ever once being asked where the feet to fill the boots are supposed to come from. If we put 400,000 more troops into Iraq, however you find them--whether conscripts we have no way of training at the rate necessary to get them into the field in 18 months, by stripping our military presence everywhere else in the world, or arming mechanics, computer operators, and the gang at the Corner--what are we supposed to do then if Kim Jong Il decides to cross over into South Korea, just to use one obvious example? Or is your answer "send 400,000 more troops?"

The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment.

Decisive battle, the man says. Decisive battle. The Japanese used to talk like that in WWII. Lure the US Navy into the decisive battle. Some of 'em were still talking that way as we took Okinawa. And the Victory Disease of the modern American right doesn't even have the benefit of military competence. It's a gummable mash of victory in WWII, out-tchotkie-ing the Soviet Union, an abiding belief in the ability of technology to subdue whatever chaos they've gotten us into, and an unshakable convinction that the election of Ronald Reagan solved everything.

Well, that and the conviction that when all else fails you can blame the Liberal Media, traitors in Congress, and the public schools. One nice thing about Japanese Victory Disease was that most of its proponents ended up at the bottom of the Pacific.


Cynthia said...

Doghouse, I must reiterate a common comment here at BLTR: Why are these morons published and you aren't? In our local paper today we had Kathleen Parker and Walter E Williams.

Kathleen bashed Bush most of the article, but finished with, and I paraphrase, Bush went from "playing" president before to "being" president 3 days after 9/11. I'm too lazy to look up her exact words, but I believe she was talking about Bush "basking" in the rubble of the towers as he went about presidentin'.

I loved the irony of Williams talking about the "original intent" (it was even in the article headline next to his picture) of the Constitutional framers was to be fiscally responsible. Now I don't disagree with fiscal responsibility, but it's his grand old party that hasn't found a perk or government contract for their friends that the taxpayers couldn't pay for. In fact, he was one of the pigs lined up at the trough until someone squealed on him.

Yet, even so, these clowns are syndicated. Unfortunately, stupidity (or is it greed?) seems to pay well.

DXM said...

Your batting averages on Iraq are not just below the Mendoza Line; they're a challenge to the very concept of Zero.

Just had to see that a second time....

For a moment I thought Charles Pierce was in the house.

Via said...

Who needs troops when you have the Bomb? Maybe that is the plan. They are certainly crazy enough.

Vicki said...

I would like to think that via is wrong, but I'm afraid that the Bomb must be the answer these guys have in mind. What else is there? Forcing illegal immigrants to enlist? Nah, they don't like illegal immigrants....