Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Corner too far

John Derbyshire on Iraq on National Review Online
I’ve never been able to work up any guilt, either on my own behalf or the administration’s, about the WMD issue. So far as I am concerned, what did I know? Saddam’s behavior sure made it look as though he was hiding something nasty. As an ordinary citizen, getting my information from newspapers and the TV, I had every reason to suppose that the WMD claims were true. Just why Saddam was behaving like that is now a bit of a mystery. Possibly he was a secret fan of classic Chinese literature (or opera) attempting a sort of Empty Fort Strategy. As for the administration: Well, either they knew the intelligence was worthless, or they didn’t. If they knew, then their duty was to assume the worst, and present it to us as the worst. If they didn’t know, then they honestly believed the lousy intelligence. None of this excuses the CIA’s incompetence, of course; but even that incompetence serves the good conservative purpose of driving home to the populace the fact that the federal government sucks at pretty much everything.

So why am I eating crow? Because I think it was foolish of me to suppose that the administration would act with the punitive ruthlessness I hoped to see. The rubble-and-out approach was not one that this administration, or perhaps any administration in the present state of our culture, would be willing to pursue. The universalist dogmas that rule unchallenged in our media and educational institutions have fixed their grip on our foreign policy, too. When the Founders of our nation said “all men” they had in mind Christian Anglo-Saxon men. Our leaders, though, want to bring the whole world under the scope of those grand Lockeian principles.

Perhaps this will work, or perhaps it won’t. My belief is, and always has been, that it won’t. My fault was in not grasping the scale of the administration’s multiculturalist ambitions. (Of which, to be fair to them, they had given plenty of hints, and even one or two frank declarations of intent.) George W. Bush believes that, to borrow and adjust a line from the colonel in Full Metal Jacket: “Inside every Middle East Muslim there is an American trying to get out.” The effort to stabilize Iraq, and the reluctance to just leave the Iraqis to fight each other among the rubble, followed inevitably from that belief, which is, according to me, a false belief. I see all that now. I didn’t see it then. I am sorry.

Amazing in its own way. The Derb manages to do the right thing (admit he was wrong to back the Iraq war) while preserving his barbarity (we failed because we were insufficiently ruthless) , prejudice (the wogs just can't handle our freedoms) and stupidity intact.

And that bit in the first graf: sure, the Administration knew the intel was cooked, but booga booga booga! When you don't know squat, best go bomb the hell outa somebody!


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