I recently compared the war in Iraq to a bad Hollywood movie: green-lit for all the wrong reasons, way over budget and with no end in site. Except this is a b-movie where the horrors come off the screen and unleash hell in reality. Even Saddam mocks us from the grave. This week The New York Times has reported that images of his hanging are making him a martyr.
Out of the eerie haze rises another plan for Iraq, to be unveiled this week by the President. I'm really, really hoping the President's new plan builds on some reflection, but I'm not holding my breath. Why? Because most neo-conservatives suffer from an acute case of "Selective Amnesia" as mentioned in the American Conservative:
The invasion would not have occurred had Americans not been persuaded of its wisdom and necessity, and leading that charge was a stable of pundits and media analysts who glorified President Bush's policies and disseminated all sorts of false information and baseless assurances.
Yet there seems to be no accountability for these pro-war pundits. On the contrary, they continue to pose as wise, responsible experts and have suffered no lost credibility, prominence, or influence. They have accomplished this feat largely by evading responsibility for their prior opinions, pretending that they were right all along or, in the most extreme cases, denying that they ever supported the war.
The article goes on to crush Michael Leadon, a "Freedom Scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. I was also very happy to see Charles Krauthammer did not escape the its wrath. Krauthammer, one of the most vocal pro-war critics, has recently written a piece in the Washington Post calling Saddam's execution a travesty. Indeed, most reasonable people are compelled to view it that way. The real travesty, of course, has been the entire endeavor. The incredible implausibility of their ideas aside, how come more of these people didn't foresee the high possibility of failure by asking this administration to conduct an operation so complex, which required so much sensitivity?
I think it is one thing to have favored the war, and to have lent reason and rhetoric to the cause. I can excuse that, in a way, because perhaps their heart really was in it. You can see how their eyes glow when they talk of battalions and brigades, like little boys preparing plastic, green army men for a back yard invasion. But notice how they are now distancing themselves from the war they once wanted so badly. Now they see it's collapse as a chance to show how smart they are by trying to solve it. I love how they say, "Well, since you're asking me, here's what I would do..." as if they are just arriving on the scene.
The neoconservatives announced, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, that they are done "carrying water" but the most disturbing thing to me is that these people are still taken seriously. Maybe the greatest injustice is that these water boys are still given a chance to influence the team to such a powerful degree. They should be viewed in the same way we view Pat Robertson: insane. Why is it considered crazy to call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez for rhetorical saber rattling about the United States, and not crazy to call for the invasion of Iraq for possession of WMDs? At least Robertson's belief is, incredibly, reaction to a fact.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that it is not the evil person we should worry about, but the person doing evil who thinks he is doing good. That person cannot be reasoned with. That person will never stop. Last week the Mr. Leedon's American Enterprise Institute has produced a publication entitled "Choosing Victory: a plan for success in Iraq". You might as well call it Plan 9 from Outer Space. These are the words from the water boys; the people who helped bring you an ill conceived war, which has led to the deaths of thousands and the creation of a Sunni martyr, are now offering you their plan to correct it all. They are, after all, from a "think tank." At least their plan has the obligatory colon in the title. If there's a colon in the title it can't be ridiculous.