Tuesday, February 13, 2007
War: Only Wrong In Iraq?
The House of Representatives, packed with new arrivals whom rode a wave of anti-war sentiment into power, has taken up debate on a resolution condemning the (p)resident’s plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq.
The Senate couldn’t get that done. There’s been a lot of criticism against that body’s having fobbed off a debate on the war, but the bottom line is that its hoary traditions are meant to better reflect the true deadlock that exists between the two Americas.
The war is increasingly unpopular. It is a fashion to spit on it. The (p)resident’s core support has eroded just a little bit, but that’s because we’re all on “teams” now and the fact the other guys were right on an issue is not enough for their opposites to give up the goose.
Or, to put it another way, admitting Bush was wrong is just too costly politically for his followers.
Except for those of us who were in opposition from the start (that flyer's the scribe's proof of where he was), those following the anti-war fashion must explain their change of heart. The usual excuse is that they believed the administration’s drub about weapons of mass destruction, a “mushroom cloud over an American city” and all the rest.
This is maddening to the highway scribe for it begs the question of why?
What in this administration’s hackneyed and corrupt rise to power would make them so trustful of its motives? Was it the lawsuit in Bush v. Gore to stop a simple recounting of the votes in Florida (if you've won you've won, no?) and the ensuing Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Constitution, in fact, provides no guaranteed right to a vote?
Not long after Bush took office, the chief of his faith-based initiatives program resigned and publicly accused the administration of being driven by politics over policy.
And there were other signs this was not a group that shot straight.
The war debate itself did not occur in a vacuum. There was vigorous and sincere analysis on the opposition side. Those of us who marched in the streets, of course, were only crazy Bush-haters detached from the real way the world works, which is at the end of gun barrel.
But Hans Blix, the guy in charge of the United Nations weapons inspection program in Iraq expressed real doubts about the administration’s claims, only to be pushed out of his job. So did the U.N. entity that looks into nuclear programs around the world.
In fact, to jog your memories, the U.N. as a whole chose not to endorse the administration’s bid for a war resolution. And so on. Voices official and otherwise were warning us that the war was a bad idea, as it usually is.
In response, the (p)resident flattered our national conceit that, “the United States doesn’t need to ask anybody’s permission.”
Red meat to the red states.
“Washington Post” columnist Richard Cohen tells us as much in his column skewering Hillary Clinton and some other Democratic senators who originally voted for the war.
Cohen notes that he supported the war, and adds that, “If I were running for the presidency, I might call my position a ‘mistake’ and bray about being misled. But it was really a lapse in judgement.”
An atheist’s “amen” to that.
He recalls, (as the scribe does above) that, “They all had sufficient knowledge to question the administration’s arguments, and they did not do so. Not a single one of them, for instance, could possibly have believed the entirety of the administration’s case or not have suspected that the reasons for war were being hyped. If they felt otherwise, they have no business running for president.”
Cohen points out that the zeitgeist has changed and that, not coincidentally, so have most Democratic senators’ positions on the war.
And that is true, but the scribe would like to do him one better in saying that the current recanting of former war supporters is a bit too particular for his liking, particular only to Iraq.
That is to say that no larger lesson has been learned to date about the virtue of war, let alone preemptive war, as a tool for proper foreign policy. There has been no second guessing the general wisdom of flying into a country, shattering it with shock and awe, and then expecting to be treated as liberators.
No larger lesson has been learned about the costs of rebuilding countries in a complex global economy being more than what they used to be. Not to mention more than the American people should have been expected to pay for.
No recognition that the murdered aid workers, beheaded journalists, calcified contract workers and countless innocent tragics are part and parcel of any policy that leans upon death and destruction and that nowhere, ever, do we hear an airing of concern about them when the chests are puffed out and the flags flying full and proud.