Something Smells, Ctd

It appears from all the emails that re-hashing some of the flim-flam deployed in taking us to war is not as big a bore as some would believe. But it’s still a difficult task, because although many facts are available, the key question of good faith is definitionally elusive. In the case of Cheney, where the records will have been destroyed or sequestered, and where the suspicion of deception is greatest, we may never know for sure. My own sense is that it was an obvious mixture of genuine concern and less genuine corner-cutting. In their own way, they thought they were doing the right thing. But their refusal to involve the larger body politic, to bring in Democrats, to bring in even sensible Republicans and Bush cabinet members, led to the mess they’re now in. They weren’t fully honest with us, or prehaps with themselves, and their arrogance and defensiveness and secrecy prevented them from becoming more honest. And so the conduct of the war has been accompanied by behavior more redolent of a cover-up. Hence Libby’s perjury. And the interminable lies about torture and detention. And the wiretapping and secret gulag of torture sites. And the weird war-plan that did not focus on WMDs. The arrogant dismissal of the insurgency, the refusal to accommodate it, the inability to look ahead, and the reflexive tendence to deploy fear as a political weapon. And on and on. It’s no way to run a war you might hope to win. Another reader, frustrated by the lefty bias of my last reader’s interpretation, offers another view. More sympathetic to Bush and Cheney in some ways, but therefore more devastating in others. I reprint it here partly in the interests of airing various scenarios, but partly too because it comes closest to my own rough-edged and evolving sense of what happened. History will judge in the end:

Your "something smells" post illustrates, I think, why many of us who are disgusted with the Republicans are in such a quandary. The left constantly gets it half-right, the rest is a bit of naivete mixed with off-base cynicism. The effect is one of looking at a fun-house mirror: there’s always a lot of truth and accuracy, but its upside down, and a little bit wobbly. So, I’d like to address some of his points: 1. Many of us knew the WMD intelligence and evidence were flimsy. We also knew that the Bush administration knew it. This was not controversial, especially after Powell’s UN appearance. (From 2002 onward, the people who were brilliant and devastating about this were Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak, all paleocons.) However, based on Saddam’s evasive behavior—that is, his failure to verifiably disarm, as outlined in 18 U.N. Security Council resolutions spanning ten years—tended to suggest that he was hiding something. Bush et. al. made what seemed at the time a low-risk bet that there would be WMD. Confident he was right, and having every reason to believe so, he fed the nation a pretty big bullshit sandwich. Perhaps he should be impeached for this. Nevertheless, not knowing for sure what was there, and Saddam’s reluctance to clarify, presented a certain risk in itself, did it not? (For the sake of argument)

Oh Joy

The line of the night from McCain to Romney: Governor, muchas gracias. It’s rare to see a fraud exposed quite as clearly in real time as the Republichameleon. So he’s for making English the national language, but runs campaign ads in Spanish: an almost perfect representation of the plastic one’s bullshit. And I have to … Continue reading Oh Joy

Liberals for Serfdom!

A reader vents:

To paraphrase a line from Apocalypse Now the bullshit piles up so fast on the illegal immigration issue you need to have wings to stay above it. The proposed immigration "reform" bill does very little for the immigrant and nothing for the communities which are unable to absorb their masses, but is a boon for corporations and liberal grandstanders needing to show their tolerance for diversity.   

Face of the Day

Rocky Elsom of the Waratahs lies on the pitch after being knocked out during the round six Super 14 match between the Waratahs and the Bulls at Aussie Stadium March 10, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)