It seems the Baker report’s dire portrait of the state of the war effort in Iraq — and lukewarm compromise proposals for how to wind down the U.S.’s disastrous commitment there — upset the diehards (dare we call them “dead-enders”?) on the right who led the charge to invade.
A New York Times Sunday piece collected their comments. Lame-duck Sen. Rick Santorum: “A prescription for surrender.” Richard Perle: “Absurd.” And, of course, mad Rush Limbaugh: “There’s nothing in this about winning, there’s nothing in this about victory. There isn’t anything in this about moving forward in a positive way. This is cut and run, surrender without the words.”
The few neocons still standing are supporting Sen. John McCain’s call for escalation. McCain wants to send 20,000 more American troops to Iraq — as though we had them to spare, and as though such a relatively small force boost could turn the tide. But here’s what William Kristol thinks: “In the real world, the Baker report is now the vehicle for those Republicans who want to extricate themselves from Iraq, while McCain is articulating the strategy for victory in Iraq.”
All this talk of “victory”! I keep hearing the voice of Robert Duvall’s surfing-mad U.S. Colonel Kilgore from “Apocalypse Now,” loving the smell of napalm in the morning, rhapsodizing that it “smells like…victory.”
Our conservative friends, desperate as their entire movement circles a drain of corruption and defeat, are as detached from reality as Duvall’s commander. There is no victory in Iraq. The war has been lost. Past tense. Invading was the greatest strategic mistake the U.S. has made in our lifetime. We will be paying the price, and cleaning up the mess, for a generation.
“Moving forward in a positive way” today means accepting this reality and figuring out what to do next. Pretending that “victory” is still possible is insane. There is no sense in throwing more money and lives down the hole that President Bush dug for the country. The only question is how many more U.S. soldiers must die so that Bush and his dwindling cadre of diehard supporters don’t have to admit defeat.
[tags]iraq war, neoconservatives[/tags]
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