On War – Why They Still Fought

At least 32 American troops were killed in Iraq this month, circa 2006. Approximately 300 were wounded. The “battle for Baghdad” was going nowhere. A Marine friend just back from Ramadi said, “It didn’t get any better while I was there, and it’s not going to get better.” Virtually everyone in Washington, except the people in the White House, knew that was true for all of Iraq.

Actually, the White House knew it too. Why then did it insist on “staying the course” at a casualty rate of more than one thousand Americans per month? The answer is breathtaking in its cynicism: so the retreat from Iraq happened on the next President’s watch. That is why we still fought.

Yep, it was all about George. Never mind the deliberate fiction alleging weapons of mass destruction to panic Congress and the public into approving a war of aggression. Anyone who thinks that is too low, too mean, too despicable even for this bunch does not understand the meaning of the adjective “Rovian.” Would they have let thousands more young Americans get killed or wounded just so George W. did not have to face the consequences of his own folly? In a heartbeat.

Not that it was going to help. When history finally lifts it leg on the Bush administration, it will wash all such tricks away, leaving only the hubris and the incompetence, as it has. Jeffrey Hart, who with Russell Kirk gone is probably the top intellectual in the conservative movement, had already written that George W. Bush was the worst President America ever had. Possibly the honor still belongs to the sainted Woodrow, but if Obama attacks Iran, he may earn the prize. That third and final act in the American tragicomedy is waiting in the wings.

A post-election Democratic House, Senate or both should, in theory, say no to another war. But if the Bush administration’s cynicism was boundless, the Democrats’ intellectual vacuity and moral cowardice are equally so. You can’t beat something with nothing, but Democrats have put forward nothing in the way of an alternative to Bush’s defense and foreign policies. On Iran, the question is whether they will be more frightened of the Republicans or of the Israeli lobby. Either way, they will hide under the bed, just as they have hidden under the bed on the war in Iraq.

There is a great deal of material available to the Democrats to offer an alternative, much of it the product of the Military Reform Movement of the 1970s and 80s. Gary Hart can tell them all about it. There was even a somewhat graceful way out of Iraq, if the Dems had asked themselves a favorite foreign policy question, WWBD  What Would Bismarck Do? He would have transferred sufficient Swiss francs to interested parties to have the current government of Iraq ask us to leave. They, not we, now hold the world’s ugliest baby, even though it was America’s indiscretion that gave the bastard birth.

But donkeys will think when pigs fly. A Democratic Congress will be as stupid, cowardly and corrupt as its Republican predecessor; in reality, both parties are one party, the party of successful career politicians. The White House will continue its strategy that lead to a lost war in Iraq, solely to dump the mess on the next President’s lap. America or Israel will attack Iran, pulling what’s left of the temple down on our heads. Congress will do nothing to stop either war.

Was an early Virginian wit correct in his jaundiced vision of a representative democracy as an alternative to monarchy in America during a heated debate among that colony’s political leaders questioning the wisdom of political separation from England. Many wanted to cast aside any legal or economic bonds to the hated tyrant king. “Why,” he asked, “should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away?” The specter of a tyranny of the ‘majority’ haunts us still. The US Constitution’s Bill of Rights intended to protect minority inalienable rights has been eroded/perverted over time by tyrannical authoritarian forces that have turned jurisprudence, both nationally and locally, into a cesspool and stain on America’s social fabric.

Or, as one Founder sagely responded when asked by a news reporter what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had brought us, “A republic…if you can keep it!

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