lovely and personable Peggy Noonan wants us to have an
"epochal" debate over going to war with Iraq,
and disdains the personal attacks that have characterized
the discussion so far:
the past 48 hours we have witnessed Bush vs. Daschle, Hitchens
vs. Cockburn, Democrats vs. Republicans, The American
Conservative vs. The Weekly Standard and National
Review, paleocons vs. neocons, compassionate conservatives
vs. the left. In New York we debate whether strong criticism
of Israeli policy is prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism.
In Washington it's two questions: Who owns conservatism, and
is the modern left more than a collection of depressives,
America-lasters and anti-Semites?"
is "missing" from all this, she writes but never
identifies what it is, beyond telling us that the good people
of New York debate all foreign policy questions in terms of
whether or not this or that argument is "anti-Semitic."
But the real question is this: Will we remain a republic,
or will we take the long, bone-strewn road to Empire?
is the issue dividing advocates of this war from their opponents,
yet it won't be discussed in congressional committees, or
by the pro-war pundits, and certainly it won't come up on
the evening news. We aren't going to have the "epochal"
debate she yearns for, since war propaganda and the timetable
of the War Party won't permit it. For the answer of the
American people to such a question, if history is any indication,
would be an emphatic rejection of neo-imperialism.
all the wars of modernity been framed in terms of universal
principles and self-defense? That's true for a good reason.
We don't like to think of ourselves as conquerors, and the
War Party ever since the debate over the Spanish American
war has draped its rationale for slaughter in the pristine
garments of "democracy," "freedom," and
just retaliation against an unprovoked attack. We don't intend
to conquer our enemies, but yearn to "liberate"
them. Now, however, we are claiming the "right"
of "preemption," and this is clearly a war of conquest,
not self-defense, no matter how loudly our war birds squawk
about phony "weapons of mass destruction."
only "epochal" aspect of this debate is the number
and sheer scale of the monstrous lies being told by the
War Party. A stream of falsehoods is being emitted on a daily
an hourly basis to justify the invasion and military occupation
of a country that has never attacked the U.S. And they
aren't being too careful about the quality of the lies they
tell. Just yesterday [September 27], Drudge was trumpeting
a Reuters story proclaiming that the Turks caught a convoy
containing 33 pounds (15 kg) of "weapons-grade"
uranium, less than 200 miles from the Iraqi border: Aha!
The Smoking Gun! But not quite
than twenty-four hours later, Ha'aretz informs us that,
uh, no, "Refined
uranium found in Turkey weighs grams, not kilograms"
Drudge trumpeted this, too, but if you think this neutralizes
the advantage gained by the War Party, then you don't understand
the nature of war propaganda. A lie, no matter how many times
it is debunked, is hard to kill. The all-important first impression
the nightmare vision of the "madman" Saddam waving
a nuclear sword is easy to create but almost impossible
to erase. Besides that, the number of people who hear about
this "clarification" will not come anywhere close
to the millions who heard the "news" of this fortuitous
lies, and more lies that is the methodology of the War Party,
and they just keeping flinging them at us, hoping that at
least some of it will stick. They're in a very great hurry,
you see, and can't afford to be too noble and "epochal"
in their approach. The clock is ticking, people are beginning
to wake up to their game, and the antiwar opposition is mounting
surprisingly strong counteroffensive. Thousands of phone
calls are flooding the offices of our congressional representatives,
and it's overwhelmingly
those expressing their opposition to this frightening and
fateful rush to war.
prominent Democrats voice major doubts, and many Republicans
do the same less publicly, you can bet it isn't their inherent
thoughtfulness that's woken them out of their previous passivity.
Your phone calls are having an effect so keep it up!
If the sorry collection of a**-kissing hacks who make up this
Congress are going to help stop this war, then it's gong to
be out of fear not fear that our sons and daughters will
die for an unworthy cause, but mortal fear of going down to
defeat at the polls. Let them hear from you today.
to any impression I might have created, I like Ms. Noonan,
or, at least, I like her public persona: she's the kind of
gal you just want to sit down with somewhere and have a nice
long chat. She thinks Alex Cockburn calling Christopher Hitchens
middle-aged porker of the right" is a bit over the
top, and regrets that the debate has gotten vicious: after
all, where does Bill Kristol (whom she doesn't name) get off
Theodoracopulos, (whom she also doesn't name), a charming
bon vivant who has invested a considerable amount of
his large fortune in TAC, "a repulsive character"?
Listen, Peggy, I know this is going to shock you, but guys
fight dirty when the stakes are this high
hissed to the Washington Times that the co-editor and
financial angel of The American Conservative (TAC)
pretty loathsome character," switching to "repulsive"
in talking to the Washington Post. Kristol's personal
ire is indicative of the new phase of the War Party's propaganda
campaign, which is designed to smear and effectively put out
of commission anyone and everyone who rises to oppose this
war: every pundit, every politician, every grassroots activist
who allows their name to be made public as
antiwar activists traveling through San Francisco airport
recently discovered to their dismay.
I have to fly in a week or so, to speak at Washington University,
in St. Louis, and I have to admit that the prospect of getting
into an airplane fills me with dread.)
Taki "walk[ed] through British customs with 23 grams
of cocaine in a bag that was dangling out of his back pocket,"
as the Post puts it. Big effin deal. Taki paid for
his "crime," and wrote quite an amusing book about
to Declare: A Memoir. Habitues of this space have long known what a
puffed-up prig that Kristol kid is, besides being a
pencil-necked chicken-hawk, and everyone else knows
first issue of TAC, by the way, is finally out, and it is obvious, from the content and the cover, why this magazine was
attacked by the neocons and their amen corner amongst
the liberals, before it came off the presses. Never,
I believe, in all the long history of magazine publishing
has there been such a controversy
as the one
of The American Conservative. Now that I'm holding
a copy in my hands I can see why the War Party has
been so stirred up about the Buchanan-Taki publishing coup.
the cover, Uncle Sam wields an outsized fly-swatter as our
allies cringe behind him, pointing in horror at Saddam a
fly sunning himself on the other side of the globe. IRAQ FOLLY
in big bold caps, with the promise of Eric
S. Margolis explaining "How Victory Could Spell American
Defeat." It is not just a powerful essay: it is the
best on the subject to date. Margolis marshals mountains
of evidence against the idea that a war of conquest in the
Middle East is in American interests and also makes the
moral case against the war. His is a morally-informed realism,
buttressed by solid information and good old-fashioned common
sense. The Bush Doctrine of preemption, Margolis writes, "recalls
the old Brezhnev
Doctrine of Soviet days" and we know what
happened to Brezhnev
and his successors not long after. Margolis is such a good
writer that, in the context of the array of facts he has gathered,
it is not even necessary for him to point this out. No honest
reader can come away from this piece without at least wondering
if, in the wake of "victory," we'll be wearing our
Mideast empire like an albatross hung 'round our necks.
Buchanan has a typically powerful piece, "After the War,"
that warns of what comes "after the celebratory gunfire
when wicked Saddam is dead." Mene
Mene Tekel Upharsin: "We have started up the road
to empire and over the next hill we will meet those who went
smart and snappy Stuart Reid, of the [UK] Spectator,
explains the stance of those Englishmen who tire of seeing
their Prime Minister in the role of Bush's poodle. Kevin
Phillips on "Why I Am No Longer A Conservative"
is a challenge to the Right to reject corporatism, which he
calls "Wall Street Socialism." In a tour de force,
he ties this directly into the war hysteria:
socialism' in its pure form, plus the new homeland security
entrepreneurialism is one of the fastest-growing jewels
in the crown of unfree-market economics."
Kevin, go! And there's more:
even the joys of Pentagon contracts negotiated by marketing
vice-presidents who used to be Air Force generals pale next
to the achievements of the newest form of unfree enterprise:
bailouts, the collectivization of private risk, and the emergence
of a financial sector better protected by government rescues,
preferences and guarantees than manufacturing ever was by
is back! For, whether the author knows it or not, here is
an echo of John
T. Flynn's trenchant
and prophetic analysis of the rise of the Welfare-Warfare
State, in his seminal work, As
We Go Marching, written as the U.S. entered World
War II. Speaking of the Old Right, my own article in this
inaugural issue, "Now Entering Imperium," gives
me the chance to quote Garet
Garrett, my favorite author and that's all I'm going to
tell you about it in the hope that you'll rush out and buy
a copy! (Borders has it.) Or maybe even subscribe
Noonan wants an "epochal" debate, one that resembles
a high-school debating society in which the opposing teams
articulate their best arguments, and the discussion is conducted
in a civil and even a scholarly manner. Fat chance!
The War Party is hungry for blood, and they aren't employing
of Queensbury rules to get their meal. Lies, innuendo,
smears, legal measures, hate campaigns, cyber-warfare (do
you want to know how many times we and other antiwar site
have been attacked by would-be hackers?). Before this is over,
I wouldn't be at all surprised if our war-birds tried to pull
off a provocation a staged act of "terrorism"
that can be attributed to the Iraqis. That's how badly they
want this war.
all-important aspect of the War Party's tactics is the launching
of a smear campaign, designed
to attribute "anti-Semitism" to any and all manifestations
of antiwar sentiment. It then becomes the intellectual equivalent
to say aloud what geography and common sense tell us: that
this war, if not in America's best interests, is certainly
of great benefit to Israel. Alex Cockburn has recently been
in this manner; Buchanan and Taki have been smeared
with the same brush and even I have been attacked
as "anti-Semitic" by some pretty nasty characters
in the "blogosphere."
If you have the stomach for it, check
out this nasty little thread which, I might add, was
and orchestrated by Glenn Reynolds, the War Party's water-boy.
These pathetic geeks, who call themselves "warbloggers,"
thought the J.C.
Penney war atrocity action figures featured on our front
page the other day were waaaay cool. Yet more anecdotal
evidence underscoring my contention that the advocates of
this war are just the sort of overweight pasty-faced pimple-pocked
losers who would never go anywhere near the
field of battle themselves.
the War Party plays nasty we already knew that, didn't we?
But what they don't seem to realize that two can play at that
game. Not that our side will resort to lies, character assassination,
and brass knuckles to make our point we won't have to. Because
when it comes to our chicken-hawks,
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