Saturday, May 27, 2006

Victor Davis Tinkerbell

Memorial Day weeekend is a time to remember the sacrifices of those who died for us. And so we should. But for Victor Davis Hanson, it is a time to resuscitate a platoon of specious arguments and absurdities in service of his unshakeable faith that the bed in Iraq has not yet reach the point of non-unshitability. Thus we have VDH's:Looking Back at Iraq.
There may be a lot to regret about the past policy of the United States in the Middle East, but the removal of Saddam Hussein and the effort to birth democracy in his place is surely not one of them. And we should remember that this Memorial Day.

Whatever our righteous anger at Khomeinist Iran, it was wrong, well aside from the arms-for-hostages scandal, to provide even a modicum of aid to Saddam Hussein, the great butcher of his own, during the Iran-Iraq war.

Inviting the fascist Baathist government of Syria into the allied coalition of the first Gulf War meant that we more or less legitimized the Assad regime’s take-over of Lebanon, with disastrous results for its people.

It may have been strategically in error not to have taken out Saddam in 1991, but it was morally wrong to have then encouraged Shiites and Kurds to rise up — while watching idly as Saddam’s reprieved planes and helicopters slaughtered them in the thousands.
Now this is an interesting tactic, and one that I suspect will foreshadow a VDH screed ten years hence supporting the next war disaster. The errors Vic condemns here were, it must be pointed out, those of George the Elder, aided and abetted by Rummy and The Dick. It is possible that, as full-bird colonel in the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, Vic will always criticize military decisions that would not be blessed by General Buck Turgidson. But I have a funny feeling that when the time comes to urge the next generation of unfortunate grunts to glorious battle, Vic will be telling us that this time the warlords have it right, unlike the disaster in Iraq way back in 2004-200*.

But what did 2,400 brave and now deceased Americans really sacrifice for in Iraq, along with thousands more who were wounded? And what were billions in treasure spent on? And what about the hundreds of collective years of service offered by our soldiers? What exactly did intrepid officers in the news like a Gen. Petreus, or Col. McMaster, or Lt. Col Kurilla fight for?

First, there is no longer a mass murderer atop one of the oil-richest states in the world. Imagine what Iraq would now look like with $70 a barrel oil, a $50 billion unchecked and ongoing Oil-for-Food U.N. scandal, the 15th year of no-fly zones, a punitative U.N. embargo on the Iraqi people — all perverted by Russian arms sales, European oil concessions, and frenzied Chinese efforts to get energy contracts from Saddam.
Mohammar Khaddafi would be starting up his centrifuges and adding to his chemical weapons depots. Syria would still be in Lebanon. Washington would probably have ceased pressuring Egypt and the Gulf States to enact reform. Dr. Khan’s nuclear mail-order house would be in high gear. We would still be hearing of a “militant wing” of Hamas, rather than watching a democratically elected terrorist clique reveal its true creed to the world.

Oooh, he's a tricksy one, he is. There is a real contradiction here, butI'm sure Vic is so wrapped up in his own warblogging fantasies that he never saw it. First, he assumes that oil prices exist in a hermetic space unaffected by our invasion of Iraq. Economists make this kind of argument all the time. They even have a shorthand high-falutin' Latin name for it, to scare off debate: ceteris paribus. Literally, it means all else being equal; in practice, it means, "I'm going to pull a blatantly absurd argument out of my ass, but I know Latin, so back off." But does any sane person really believe that oil would be at the same price level it is today even if we had not monumentally screwed up production in the country with the second largest reserves in the world?

So when an argument requires that Vic assert that key facts are exogenous, Vic does so. But when referring to Libya, all of a sudden Vic asserts cause and effect. I predicted this line of "reasoning"weeks ago. But Vic's twofer is impressive nonetheless: Bad facts would have been there regardless of our snafu. But good facts? Well sir, those are a direct result of our derring-do.

Now how much would you pay for Victor Davis Tinkerbell's Neverland Logic Handbook? Don't answer yet -- there's more!
But just as importantly, what did these rare Americans not fight for? Oil, for one thing. The price skyrocketed after they went in.
It is more than a little sad that one of the leading lights of neocon pundit class is willing to sign his name to stuff like this. "Hey, we couldn't have intended to drive 100 mph in a school zone -- we crashed!" It takes some serious intellectual stones to argue that honorable intentions are established by bad results. And never mind, of course, that his neocon brethren were confidently predicting cheap oil in the leadup to the war.

Our soldiers also removed a great threat to the United States.
Will Peter Pan ever grow up? Or will he continue to repeat the Big Lie forever? Even Bush and Cheney have essentially abandoned this claim, but Vic not only continues to whip a dead horse, he now whips the dark stain where the dead horse used to be.
The Iraqis are torn by sectarianism, and are not yet willing to show gratitude to America for saving them from Saddam and pledging its youth and billions to give them something better. We are nearing the third national election of the war, and Iraq has become so politicized that our efforts are now beyond caricature. An archivist is needed to remind the American people of the record of all the loud politicians and the national pundits who once were on record in support of the war.

Do you get the sense that Vic has noticed that his perch on the ledge in Wendy's room is getting a bit lonely? He is very unhappy with his former pals who have moved on and grown up. He is pissed at the beneficiaries of his machine-gun largesse, who insult him with their ingratitude.

Poor dear. If more of us would only believe, Victor Davis Tinkerbell might fly again.


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