Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's Everybody's Fault But Mine

I don't suppose there's anything I can add in particular to the glorious sight of neoconservatives like Richard Perle, Ken Adelman, and David Frum saying that Bush is stupid and Rumsfeld is incompetent. At first I was consumed by rage at these cowards who refuse to acknowledge any consequence to anything, ever. And the rage is still there, no doubt.

But when I saw Perle's comment that he only told the truth because he believed it wouldn't be published until after the election, I had to laugh. I mean, there's cowardice, and then there's cowardice about your own cowardice. Meta-cowardice, if you will.

There's one thing we must object to though, all of us: The neoconservatives have no right - none whatsoever - to claim Rumsfeld was incompetent.

Richard Perle, for one, is quoted as saying:

"Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."

I believe Perle on this 100%, if only because I don't believe Richard Perle is capable of planning a glass of ice water if you spot him the ice. However, the idea that neoconservatives had no input is ridiculous on its face, unless Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz are no longer neocons. Neoconservative ideas - particularly the fetishization of "transformation" and the Revolution in Military Affairs - were deeply intertwined with the execution of the war plan. Any of the recent histories of the Iraq War show how Rumsfeld was obsessed with minimizing the amount of troops and equipment that made it to Iraq.

Now, "transformation" and the RMA may be good ideas - that's a whole other issue - but the fact is the neoconservatives adopted those ideas for extremely specific reasons. For men like Perle, Ledeen, and the others, the RMA was a means to a particular end, one they weren't shy about advocating: America's wars needed to be smaller, faster, and lighter so that America could fight more wars. America's role, as seen by the neocons, was to fight evil regimes wherever they are, as quickly as possible, and America needed a military that could do that.

Rumsfeld, for his part, took that to heart - Iraq needed to be won with an economy of force so that America could move on to Syria, Iran, North Korea, or whoever. In that he was following the neoconservative playbook to the letter, and men like those interviewed by Vanity Fair have no standing to say he was incompetent. Those of us who were actually, you know, correct about this war being a disaster get to do that.


Olaf said...

I must say John,

It's very refreshing to read a post mentioning neo-conservatives written by someone with even the faintest grasp of what a neo-conservative is. To most, everything Bush thinks is a neo-conservative idea, as if he invented the term.

Harper wants a Defence of Religions Act? "Its because he's a neocon". Harper wants to reopen the gay marriage debate? "It's cause he's a Bush-like neocon". Harper cuts funding SWC? "Classic neoconservative thinking"...

Very very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what a neocon is Olaf. You're just insisting Harper isn't one.

Harper is most certainly a neocon, in fact, a very pure one. He's just at the tail end of the fad and has to work in a radically different political environment. Remember...Harper supported the "transformative invasion."

Adrian MacNair said...

John, it is ironic, but I wrote a post of the exact same title last June.

No doubt your spam filter will catch this double linking, but I also wrote a similar impassioned appeal to STOP PASSING THE BUCK

As for your particular post, I couldn't agree more. The buck passing, blame-shifting, lying, cheating, squealing death throes of the neo-cons turning on each other as man after man tries to save their dead careers from a regime that has comes dangerously close to totalitarianism... is PATHETIC.

john said...

Olaf & Anonymous:

The problem in Canada is that neoconservative was a word used to describe Manning, Klein, and Harris well before Bush came on the scene.

I don't think for a second that Harper would object to being compared to any of those men, but now that "neocon" means something else, Harper probably would object.

Having an interesting argument at Ezra Klein's blog where people are trying to convince me that Rumsfeld and Cheney are not, in fact, neoconservatives...