The events in Iraq have unveiled the core reality of that country’s sectarian vortex, but they’ve also revealed something just as disturbing at home. Far from feeling any remorse, or expressing the slightest regret, or analyzing their own catastrophic misjudgments, the architects of the Iraq disaster are actually proud of the devastation they caused for no reason. To read Tony Blair is to witness a mind unsullied by fact or history or responsibility. There is not a scintilla of the self-awareness – let alone the shame – that one might expect from any responsible adult. I have to say Boris Johnson gets it exactly right:
I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. He wrote an essay published last week that struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.
If Blair needs help, what can we say of Paul Bremer – yes, Paul Bremer, the man who disbanded the Iraqi military – actually having the gall to go on CNN and blame Obama for his own responsibility for hundreds of thousands of deaths? We have Bill Kristol – with a straight face – actually going on cable news and arguing that not only does the US have to intervene, but that we have to fight both Iran and ISIS and Maliki simultaneously. He actually then has the gall to ask that we do not re-litigate his own record in fomenting this bloodbath! Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby are teaching a course on wartime leadership! James Fallows is far too kind.
And now the country’s resident and proud war criminal, with his failed politician daughter, are in on the act. As you might expect, theirs is a poisonous little tract, asserting ludicrously that Iraq was a victory, denying any responsibility for introducing extreme Islamism into Iraq, parlaying their own cronies in the Middle East as representative of anything but their own bubble, and blaming everything, as usual, on the man who has steadfastly managed to de-leverage the US from the Bush-Cheney catastrophe.
Despite clear evidence of the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation of our allies and the glee of our enemies, President Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch.
This from the man who left office with a cratering economy, two lost wars, a bankrupted Treasury, and a record of torture and military incompetence unknown in modern American history.
What we’re seeing now is the inability of the neocon mind to adjust even a smidgen in the face of empirical reality, to absorb just a soupçon of history, to accept even a minimum of responsibility. Mercifully, the American public is not drinking the same poisonous Kool-Aid twice:
According to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday, 54 percent of voters say they agree more with the president on Iraq, compared with 28 percent who said they agree more with McCain.
We covered the fascinating set of questions posed by the latest outbreak of sectarian mass-murder in Iraq: Could the US and Iran cooperate in Iraq? How organized is ISIS? How different from al Qaeda? Are the Kurds part of the answer? Are air-strikes? How does the Iraq bloodbath affect the Syrian civil war? And why is Paul Wolfowitz on television?
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(Photo: A visitor walks next to the artwork “Continuel Mobile – Sphere rouge” by Michelangelo Pistoletto in the Unlimited section of Art Basel on June 17, 2014 in Basel, Switzerland. By Harold Cunningham/Getty Images.)