All the little weasels

November 28, 2006

Gosh, remember only three years ago, when the little armchair warriors and hammock hawks were urging us into battle in Iraq with bold words and shouts of defiance? Remember all the Winston Churchill quotes? Remember all the cable news conquerors who talked like they were ready to strut into Baghdad and grease Saddam all by themselves?

All that big talk has withered into word-games, double-dealing arguments and lawyering over the meaning of terms like “civil war.” The war-whore pundits who ignored left-wing critics and shouted for everyone to march are still ignoring left-wing critics (who have been proved right in every important way) as they cook up nonsensical solutions and offer endless rationalizations for their part in encouraging the disaster now unfolding. And the newspaper that once tracked down a criminal operation in the White House and laid it at the feet of President Nixon is now scared of calling the hellish violence in Iraq a civil war because . . . well, because the president doesn’t want to call it that. Goodness gracious, you wouldn’t want them to do anything that might upset the president now, would you? Even if NBC and MSNBC have finally gotten up the nerve to call a spade a spade.

I’m not faulting them for being wrong. Anyone and everyone can make mistakes. I’m faulting them for being stupidly, obviously wrong — and for continuing to lie to themselves and us about it. If I had participated in greasing the path for a war based on lies and justified by playground bully rhetoric — a war that has inflamed the region and put us all at risk — I might want to express a certain public humility, and start reappraising the views of all the people I had dismissed. No such contrition with this crew. As far as they’re concerned, they may have been wrong, but it was for the right reasons.

The New Republic writers and the rest of the sucker crew want us to think they’ve wised up, but I see nothing in their worss that would lead me to expect a different result the next time some strutting bully decides to lead the country down another primnrose path. What really irks me, however, is the knowledge that these pundits will suffer no personal or career penalties for their folly. At least the Republicans have suffered a political setback. But Peter Beinart, Jonathan Chait, Andrew Sullivan and all the other hammock hawks will simply burble on, ready to break out the pompoms again when the opportunity arises once again to cheer another pageant of martial stupidity.      

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