Cakewalk Crowd Abandons Bush
Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an
orphan, said a rueful John F. Kennedy after the Bay of
Pigs. George W. Bush knows today whereof his predecessor
For as he prepares to "surge" 20,000 more U.S.
troops into a war even he concedes we
"are not winning," his erstwhile acolytes have
begun to abandon him to salvage their own tattered
Case in point, the neoconservatives. As the Iraq war
heads into its fifth year, more than half a dozen have
confessed to Vanity Fair`s David Rose their
abject despair over how the Bushites mismanaged the war
that they, the "Vulcans,"
so brilliantly conceived.
Surveying what appears an impending disaster for Iraq
and U.S. foreign policy, the neocons have advanced a new
theme. The idea of launching an unprovoked war of
liberation, for which they had beaten the drums for half
a decade before 9-11, remains a lovely concept. It was
Bushite incompetence that fouled it up.
"The policy can be absolutely right, and noble,
beneficial, but if you can`t execute it, it`s useless,
just useless," wails Ken Adelman, who had famously
predicted in The Washington Post that
"liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."[Neo
Culpa, Vanity Fair, November 3, 2006]
Bush`s team of Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice,
says Adelman, "turned out to be among the most
incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each
of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together
they were deadly, dysfunctional." Their
incompetence, he adds, "means that most everything we
ever stood for … lies in ruins."
Professor Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins, whose book on
war leaders Bush used to carry about, says his mistake
was in not knowing "how incredibly incompetent" the
Bush team would be.
Richard Perle is sickened by the consequences of the
war he and his comrades so ardently championed. "The
levels of brutality … are truly horrifying, and, I
have to say, I underestimated the depravity."
Calling the Bush policy process a "disaster,"
Perle blames Bush himself: "At the end of the day,
you have to hold the president responsible. … I don`t
think he realizes the extent of the opposition within
his own administration, and the disloyalty."
This is the second fallback position of the War
Party. Not only incompetence, but treachery made a
nightmare of their vision.
Uber-hawk Frank Gaffney also hits hard the theme of
sabotage and disloyalty: "This president has
tolerated, and the people around him have tolerated,
active, ongoing, palpable insubordination and
skullduggery that translates into subversion of his
policies. … He doesn`t in fact seem to be a man of
principle who`s steadfastly pursuing what he thinks is
the right course."
David Frum, the cashiered White House speechwriter
who co-authored the "axis-of-evil" phrase, faults
the president. While he provided the words, says Frum,
Bush "just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the
root of maybe everything."
Where Frum, four years ago, accused antiwar
conservatives of being
"unpatriotic" haters of America and President
Bush, he is now saying that that same president either
lacked the I.Q. to realize what he was saying or lacked
a belief and commitment to follow through.
As Rose writes, this is "the most damning
assessment of all." Moreover, it is an indictment of
Bush`s judgment that he could clasp so many such vipers
to his bosom.
Rose describes James Woolsey, the ex-CIA director who
was ubiquitous on the op-ed pages and national TV making
the case for war, as "aghast at what he sees as
profound American errors that have ignored the lessons
learned so painfully, 40 years ago" in Vietnam.
Conspicuous by its absence from disparagements of the
president by these deserters from his camp and cause is
any sense that they were themselves wrong. That they,
who accuse everyone else of cutting and running, are
themselves cutting and running. That they are themselves
but a typical cluster of think-tank incompetents.
No neocon concedes that the very idea itself of
launching an unprovoked war against a country in the
heart of the Arab world—one that had not attacked us,
did not threaten us and did not want war with us—might
not be wildly welcomed by the "liberated." No
neocon has yet conceded that Bismarck may have been
right when he warned, "Preventive war is like
committing suicide out of fear of death."
"Huge mistakes were made," says Perle, "and
I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by
neoconservatives. … I`m getting damn tired of being
described as an architect of the war."
Almost all the neoconservatives have now departed the
seats of power in the Bush administration and retreated
to their sinecures at Washington think tanks, to plot
the next war—on Iran.
Meanwhile, brave young Americans, the true idealists
and the casualties of the neocons` war, come home in
caskets, 20 a week, to Dover and, at Walter Reed, learn
to walk again on steel legs.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
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