a sadly telling fact of American political life that Rep. Dick Armey didn't dare
tell us what
he really thinks of Bush II's war plans until he decided it was time to retire:
Republican politicians (and Democrats, for that matter) don't usually defy the
War Party and live to tell the tale. But, hey, not
everyone can be a Ron Paul, and this is a lot better than nothing:
we try to act against Saddam Hussein, as obnoxious as he is, without proper provocation,
we will not have the support of other nation states who might do so. I don't believe
that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation. It
would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be
as a nation.
own view would be to let him bluster, let him rant and rave all he wants and let
that be a matter between he and his own country. As long as he behaves himself
within his own borders, we should not be addressing any attack or resources against
months of Republican blustering, leaked war plans, and imprecations hurled against
the "axis of evil," that's more like it! Before 9/11, this was the authentic voice
of the GOP on foreign policy: in the post-cold war world, it's time we started
minding our own business and respecting the idea of national sovereignty. Armey
was behind the effort to get our troops
out of Kosovo, and congressional Republicans opposed Clinton's Balkan adventure,
infuriating left-Clintonian "humanitarian" warmongers like William Saletan, who
ranted at war's end:
decades, the Republican Party preached military strength in the face of foreign
expansionism. But now that a Democratic president whom they despise has led the
nation into war, GOP leaders have adopted the arguments of the counterculture.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott, and Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles claim that Milosevic was
open to peace all along, that the war and its casualties were our fault, that
we needlessly offended Russia, and that our 'victory' is false. By forsaking their
intellectual heritage just to spite Clinton, they have paid him the ultimate homage.
They have allowed him, through their agency, to redefine the GOP."
only! Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way
Armey and the House Republicans were right about Kosovo. Thanks to Clinton's warmongering
piety and the sanctimonious sob-sisters of the "humanitarian" Left, Serb-less
Kosovo groans under the heel of an Albanian thug-ocracy. Clinton attacked a country
that had never attacked us, and forced a war where peace was possible: just
as Bush II is preparing to do the same in Iraq, while Republicans cheer but
not, apparently, all of them
who can now afford to be honest, underscored the absurdity of the Bush-UN demand
that Saddam submit to weapons inspection by asking:
if the French decided they wanted to inspect American military facilities?
has a right to hold dominion within his own national boundaries, as obnoxious
as he is and as comical as he can be. He is what we in Texas know as a blowhard,
he can't help himself."
the race for the title of World's Biggest Blowhard, however, it looks like Saddam
has some competition: the President's speechwriters and his generals, not to mention
several prominent Republicans, seem to have radically different ideas on how,
when, and even whether to proceed.
the banner of a radical Wilsonianism, America preened and posed during the Clinton
years as "the
indispensable nation," a phrase uttered by Madeleine Albright in a paroxysm
of imperial hauteur. Republicans had eight long years to learn how to despise
this kind of arrogance and many still do, no matter where it comes
retiring House leader is not an Armey of one: among the doubters are Senators
Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel. Both are wary of Bush's various invasion plans,
and are opting for measures short of war. Perhaps they are impressed, as the civilian leadership
of the Pentagon is not, with the
determined opposition of our top generals. A war of retribution against Al
Qaeda and the Taliban yes, the military can get behind that. But a war of conquest
in the Middle East, the occupation of Iraq and the seizure of the Saudi oil fields?
No, they are saying, loud and clear and many on Capitol Hill are beginning
post-cold war Jeffersonian tendencies of many Republicans may not have been entirely
repressed by 9/11. This is reflected not only in Armey's trenchant analysis of
the Iraq question, but in his
sidelining of the totalitarian TIPS program. Imagine if Clinton had proposed
a national network of neighborhood snitches reporting directly to the government!
That a Republican President has done so frightens a lot of people who didn't vote
for Gore, or for Nader, either. Let's hope they regain their voice before it's
too late. If they do, it may well be in reaction to the unbridled extremism of
the War Party, which has lately become so drunk with the prospect of bloodshed
that they have been upping the ante to far beyond what any reasonable person can
the "war on terrorism" morphs into a war of conquest, and the top civilians in
the Pentagon bring in a LaRouchie-turned-neocon who exhorts
his high-level audience to take Riyadh, the Jeffersonian
and Jacksonian tendencies in the President's own party are balking: the former
because they see a war of conquest as unworthy of a republic, and the latter because
they see it as a diversion away from the real object of their rage Osama bin
Laden & Co. A revolt is brewing, and it may buy us precious time
War Party is at some disadvantage here, because during the months it takes to
assemble an invading army on the scale envisioned by most military planners, the
home-front opposition has the opportunity to organize and make its case. The more
audacious hawks have tried to get around that by proposing a much smaller expeditionary
force than permitted under the Powell
Doctrine: 50,000 or less. The
plan is to take Baghdad and move outward from the center. But the military
risks are great, and the clock is ticking: the longer Bush waits, the less likely
a "quick victory" scenario becomes.
number of commentators have
argued that this
is all a feint, and that Bush has no intention of invading Iraq: the President
hasn't yet made up his mind, and has no timetable for doing so. In an oddly
childish show of churlishness, the President, in answer to a reporter's question,
added: "And I wouldn't tell you if I had!"
all, what right have we the common ordinary folk to this kind of information?
According to King George, his Royal Majesty has the "right" to take us into war
without Congressional approval or even any discussion. He has made it quite clear
that he will "consult" with our elected representatives as a matter of courtesy,
not constitutional necessity and, even then, perhaps only after the bombs
begin to fall.
even the most powerful man in the world, the de facto Emperor of the World, must
operate within certain constraints. Like his Roman predecessors, he must have
the support of his Praetorians: but the Joint Chiefs are distinctly unenthusiastic,
and have registered their opposition clearly, albeit anonymously so that
when it comes time to assign blame for the debacle, they will not be scapegoated.
The Pentagon Peaceniks along with pressure from our allies, the astronomical
cost of an invasion, and the delicate condition of the economy may combine
to defeat the War Party in the end.
the big-time pundits are sitting on the beach at Martha's
or wherever having fun in the sun, and here I sit, in my smoke-filled cave,
toiling away. Oh, boo hoo hoo!
it sure would be nice to have the time not to mention the money! to
loll around like that, but I suppose it'll have to wait until I become rich and
infamous. And that time may not be far off, as least as far as the "infamous"
part goes. Because, you see, I am taking a "vacation" from this column,
this will be a working vacation now there's an anomaly for ya! in order
to finish the first draft of a book. Tentative title: The Terror Enigma: Unsolved
Mysteries of 9/11.
we approach the first anniversary of 9/11, the meaning of what happened that fateful
day becomes less clear. Unanswered questions accumulate, along with a whole
lot of loose ends, such as: the Israeli
"art student" mystery, the anthrax conundrum, the pre-9/11 market fluctuations
that point to "terrorist insider trading," and the charges from within law enforcement
circles that the pre-9/11 anti-terrorism investigation was obstructed. I just
can't wait to get started, because this is going to be
today, I'll be on a weekly schedule, with a new (and relatively short) column
only on Mondays, until the first week of September, when I'll resume my usual
Monday-Wednesday-Friday routine. (Sign up here for email notification!)
much as I hate to cut down on the frequency of this column, even under the pretext
of a summer vacation especially in light of some of the truly ominous developments
taking place this book can't wait. So I'll be back, in full form, on September
2 until then, have a good one, and I'll
see you in September.
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