Conservative Crack-Up, Cont.

Johann Hari reports that the latest National Review cruise wasn’t all caviar, pasty skin, and Pacific sun. There were also tempests:

“It’s customary to say we lost the Vietnam war, but who’s ‘we’?” Dinesh D’Souza asks angrily. “The left won by demanding America’s humiliation.” On this ship, there are no Viet Cong, no three million dead. There is only liberal treachery. Yes, D’Souza says, in a swift shift to domestic politics, “of course” Republican politics is “about class. Republicans are the party of winners, Democrats are the party of losers.”

The panel nods, but it doesn’t want to stray from Iraq. Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan’s one-time nominee to the Supreme Court, mumbles from beneath low-hanging jowls: “The coverage of this war is unbelievable. Even Fox News is unbelievable. You’d think we’re the only ones dying. Enemy casualties aren’t covered. We’re doing an excellent job killing them.”

Then, with a judder, the panel runs momentarily aground. Rich Lowry, the preppy, handsome 38-year-old editor of National Review, announces, “The American public isn’t concluding we’re losing in Iraq for any irrational reason. They’re looking at the cold, hard facts.” The Vista Lounge is, as one, perplexed. Lowry continues, “I wish it was true that, because we’re a superpower, we can’t lose. But it’s not.”

The crowd ignores babyface. Other highlights:

  • Bernard Lewis: “The [2006] election in the U.S. is being seen by [the bin Ladenists] as a victory on a par with the collapse of the Soviet Union. We should be prepared for whatever comes next.”
  • When Norman Podhoretz screeches that there were so WMDs, Bill Buckley responds, “Aren’t you embarrassed by the absence of these weapons?” One cruiser accuses Buckley of cowardice; more compassionate souls blame dementia.
  • Midge Decter, Podhoretz’s wife and a Muslim-hater extraordinaire, bellows that Muslims are right to condemn “American decadence.” (So if “they” are right to “hate our freedom,” then what, exactly, are “they” wrong about? Oh, of course. The only topic that really matters.)

[Hari link via James Wolcott, who has more to say.]

Eric Margolis

America and Russia post-Cold War – Now We’re Them


Veteran war reporter Eric Margolis discusses America’s relationship with Russia since the end of the Cold War and where we’re headed.

MP3 here. (44:46)

Award winning author, columnist, and broadcaster Eric S. Margolis has covered 14 wars and is a leading authority on military affairs, the Middle East, South Asia, and Islamic movements.

Seymour Hersh

Abu Ghraib Torture Worse Than They Told You


Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh discusses the torture of innocents at Abu Ghraib, the persecution of general Taguba, who led the initial investigation and the cover-up of the fact that it was all ordered from the very top.

MP3 here. (16:12)

Seymour Hersh is an award winning investigative reporter currently writing for the New Yorker magazine.

Michael Kirk

The Current Iraqi Endgame and Some of the Earlier Ones


Micheal Kirk, producer for PBS Frontline, discusses his new documentary, Endgame, explains that Rumsfeld wanted for the U.S. to leave Iraq almost immediately after the invasion, and some of the various ad hoc “endgames” to get our troops out since 2003.

MP3 here. (8:39)

Kirk, a former Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard, was Frontline’s senior producer from 1983 to 1987, and has produced more than 100 national television programs.